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T-3 Hours: A Story About Fear

Three hours until my YC interview and all I can think to do is write a blog post. As you well know, I don't really blog. This morning, however, I'm compelled to put thoughts to ether. Thoughts surrounding the sequence of decisions which have led me to this spot: sitting in a hotel room in the Silicon Valley, wearing a waffled hotel robe, drinking pretty decent hotel coffee, preparing to go in front of people upon whom I've had an internet crush for the last 6 years and compel them to give me - over all the other people they will interview today - a boost in starting my company.

It all comes down to fear.

Not so much the experience of fear - though I do plenty of that. It's letting go of that fear, not allowing it to make your decisions. Even here, I may be turned down today. Based on the few rumored details I have, that is the most statistically probable outcome. But that's okay - not because I have some magical backup plan; I do not have other VCs pounding at my to-be company's door; I do not have a sugar-daddy or other personal backer ready to support me financially. I do not fear because I'm not asking for permission to start my company, I'm hoping to share in this opportunity with them as we both can benefit. My company will exist and my product will be excellent whether YC wants a piece of it or not. This is empowering.

Back to the money issue for a second, because that's where so many people get hung up. No, I don't have anyone else signed up to fund me. I have some curious potential clients and curious potential angels, but that's all they are: potential. No contracts signed, no cheques cashed or in the mail. What I have is potential, an idea which is mine, plenty more observations, and the freedom to pursue them.

I am liberated.

Quitting my safe, reliable, full-time, mediocrity-saturated job to pursue the startup was the hardest decision I've made. It was validated 100 times over within the first 90 seconds. None of my ideas will see fruition so long as I'm invested in someone else's product and someone else's vision. The only way to move beyond that hamstring - find my own ideas, my own vision - is to abandon that shackle. Sure, everyone needs to eat and I enjoy living in a climate-controlled bubble, so I may have to seek a wage once more. But never again will I buy into a vision which is not mine - I'll be working for the money with no illusions to the contrary. Be it flipping burgers or bits, coding ideas or books, is inconsequential. I am a professional but I am not my job.

So wait, Fear?

Yes, it comes down to fear, or not being controlled by it. I have absolute confidence in my ability to feed, clothe, and shelter myself. I am not dependent upon others for these most basic articles. No matter what happens, I will provide. I do not fear being cold, so that fear cannot control me. I do not fear loosing my job - I will find another one - so that fear cannot control me.

I do not fear the death of this idea - I will have another.

I do not fear the coming interview. It is an opportunity which has come available to me only by casting aside my fear. In doing so I have empowered myself.