Three years ago today, I wrote the scariest email of my life. It began, “To my Bain family, it’s been real. It’s been great. It’s been really great.” I was saying farewell.
When I pressed “Send”, the four paragraph email was delivered to more than 400 employees across the Bain & Company system- The entire NYC office, international partners, managers, mentors and friends. I was notifying them that I had decided to pursue Pencils of Promise fulltime, and that it was my last day as a Bain employee.
Nearly everyone I knew, including my parents, thought I was an idiot.
I had this big vision for an organization that could one day increase access to quality education for children around the world, impact the way nonprofits operate and alter the landscape of global education. We’re still humbly working towards that vision. But back then there was a major problem. Pencils of Promise had only built 2 schools. We didn’t have an office or one single fulltime employee. That was just three years ago. But we had the most important element to creating a successful company… Resilience.
I remember saying in the early days that we’d pour “blood, sweat and tears” into the organization. Back then it just was a phrase. Now it’s our history. All three have been shed on this journey, through both highs and lows. When most people take on startups they only envision the success. What’s even more important is to envision the struggles, the times when everyone will tell you it can’t be done, and recognize that forging on is what will dictate whether you will succeed or fail.
Each of us has had that feeling… you write a big, important email and read it over and over again. You know that once it’s in the world, you can never go back. And others have probably told you not to take the risk. That feeling may be scary, but here’s my advice when facing those moments of truth and destiny.
Saw this and attached it to my farewell email. Still rings true.