When there is no enemy within, the enemy outside can do us no harm.
I heard this one long time ago from a guy named Les Brown. I never fully understood what it means.
It's only when conflicts, stress, and issues come charging straight at you, you realize that there are indeed all sorts of enemies inside.
They usually come in a form of doubt, depression, sadness, and restlessness.
Once you add highly stressful environments in the mix, things can get pretty ugly pretty fast. Especially environments like startups.
So many things can go wrong in a day that your head can pretty much explode. Revenue is not where it should be, the development team is not motivated, people are burning out, competitors are breathing behind the neck, all of those things add up.
Now the question that naturally comes up here is, how can we defeat enemies inside?
What currently works for me is to let go of control, worry about things I can worry about and have faith it will all work out.
When I read the previous paragraph out loud, it does not sound like me. In fact letting go of control is completely out of my comfort zone.
I like to know exactly the steps I need to take from start to finish. Control every little inch of the process. Make sure I think of every potential issue that can happen and then figure out how to resolve those issues in advance.
That is exactly how software engineers think :)
Now, that strategy is good to deploy sometimes, but once you are hit with a couple of left hooks from life and been knocked out, it does not really help. It's trying to control the uncontrollable. So many variables to control and keep track off, with the addition of the human factor, can drive even the smartest ones pretty crazy.
Letting go of control is scary. But why is it scary? Humans have a need for certainty. And letting go means we are not going to be certain, so it's directly in conflict with our primal instincts. That's where faith comes in.
We have to believe it's going to end up developing as we planned it out. We have to visualize it, we have to say it to ourselves, that at the end of the day it will all work out for the best.
Because if you spend your days obsessing over everything and trying to control it, you are not going to be able to live. You will miss the thing I talk so much about, which is living life. Experiencing new things. Walking the dog. Loving other people. All of that good stuff. Trust me you will miss out on all of that, while you are trying to catch all of the balls that are floating around.
So take a deep breath, let all of it go, focus on what you can control and have faith.
Now, this is a fundamental change for people that are very goal oriented. Most of "Type A" people are like that. It's a life-long transformation. So don't get frustrated because you're not there yet.
Keep on growing!