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Tina Huynh
Tina Huynh

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What if you lost everything tomorrow?

Would you still be spending 8+ hours a day on that work project instead of the dream business you always said you would build? Would you still be putting up with any half-efforts in any area of your life when you know you're putting in 1000%?

What would you do differently today if you knew nothing else mattered but you and yourself tomorrow? It changes a lot, doesn't it? So, why doesn't it today? What's holding you back?

Discussion (10)

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Toby Parent

Actually, been there done that. Lost everything, and spent fifteen years rebuilding something different.

When life is stripped down to nothing, you sort of learn to focus only on two things: "Why?" and "What next?"

  • Why? Not why has this happened, but why do we rebuild? Thinking about the "what next" is a meaningless direction, unless and until you've established why you're doing it. Building a million-dollar company is meaningless as a why, though it's a solid what. Why the money? Why the reputation? Why the connections? When you lose everything else, what keeps you moving forward is your "why".

  • What next? Once you have an idea of what it is that is motivating, finding the steps to get there is key. Look at the options (and having nothing actually opens more options than one might think), and consider: does this option move me toward my "why", or away from it? Is this an ethical choice out of line with the person I want to be after I get there? Is this something that will help me keep that focus, and will drive me toward my reason? If not, don't do it. If so, hold it tight.

But it took a while to reach that point. Honestly, when first losing everything, it takes a while to realize: your heart still beats, your lungs still pump, you still are moving. You're still here, so you haven't reached that "why". But it takes a while to realize - losing everything isn't the end of the story. It's the beginning of a new chapter.

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Tina Huynh Author

Really? That's amazing!!

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Carl Summers

I never really had the hopes of million dollar company primarily because it simply wasn't an option I had until recently when I got into programming (and to be truthfully honest, isn't something I can foresee unless I get extremely lucky).

I was a musician -> lost it all and any chance of being signed to a label and lack of career success for other reasons
I was an English teacher -> lost the chance of finding work simply because of how I looked.

You go through stages of learning and rebuilding and finding the right thing that's right for you. You also realize what gives you energy and what brings you down.

I encourage trying everything at least once, and if it crashes and burns, you at least know. But if it crashes and burns and you keep going, that's when you know you found something you enjoy doing. That's how I feel with programming.

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Tina Huynh Author

I agree with Leonid! You never know what tomorrow may bring unless you take a chance and take the risk. If you don't take a bet on yourself, how can you expect another person to?

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Paweł Ciosek

I regret lost time doing random things, not thinking what's really important for me.

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Andrew Baisden

I would be fired up to get everything back and to prove the doubters wrong. Because if you just sit there and do nothing you will become depressed and fade away.

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Tina Huynh Author

Agreed! You would have to continue and how you continue makes all the difference

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José Aponte

I had a similar question 2 years ago. I was working for a tech company and wondered what would I do if I was fired tomorrow or the company went bankrupt. Then, I realized all the time I spent working for this company. I cannot say I wasted the time because I learned a lot of things and got experience.

That and the disagreements I had with the manager on many development projects were the push I needed for quitting my job. Since then, I've been working as a freelancer.

I want to find my ideal Business solution that will free me from the developer job in the future. I agree with Toby: It's a matter on focusing on the "why?" and "what next?".

If I'm still breathing, then I haven't lost!

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James Vanderpump

It took me a long time to quit my job as a teacher and start my own business. I don't believe in regrets, it was a great learning opportunity and I believe things happen when you are ready. That being said, I would have asked a lot more for my membership subscription based website. I've bootstrapped it as a free service to gain enough traction (users). Then after 2.5 years introduced a paid plan for new members, leaving the early adopters on the free plan. In the beginning of this year I moved everyone on the paid plan and asked twice the yearly subscription fee. Apparently, this price increase added a more premium feel to the service and customer retention and sign up sky rocketed. Never expected this to happen. Sometimes you have to make bold moves for things to change.