Choosing the lonely path of a leader
„To be able to lead others, a man must be willing to go forward alone.“
– Harry Truman
Claiming the position as a leader
Svea introduces today's episode with this quote by former US president Harry Truman. She got reminded of Mattias when she read this since he said similar things on multiple occasions as well. One of those things was "being a leader is a lonely sport". When being asked what he means by that, Mattias shares that most people like to be part of a herd and feel secure following the crowd. The position of a leader on the other hand is something most people wouldn't naturally choose. That person has to take the first step forward and make decisions. Being an entrepreneur is actually quite similar. "It's like throwing yourself off a cliff and trying to build an airplane at the same time", he jokes.
Loneliness as an entrepreneur
Mattias also remembers the times when he actually felt the loneliness quite strongly. He mentions the early days of his entrepreneurial journey: being 500.000 SEK in debt, having just crushed another business, and having no agency background that could help him build iGoMoon. In a time in his life where most people buy a bigger house or a car and settle down, he sold his apartment and everything he owned and decided to spend the nights in iGoMoon's first office which was located between a garbage room and a wine cellar. He was 33 years old, slept on an uncomfortable couch in a basement office, and gathered all of his belongings in four moving boxes. When you're 18 this scenario is kind of romantic, however, it is not so much when you're in your early 30s. That moment he remembers so vividly was definitely one of his loneliest entrepreneurial moments.
Finding the positives
Being the positive person he is, Mattias can also find something good in moments like these. He explains that when you're in that process, you get tougher like steel does when it's being forged under high temperatures. "What doesn't kill you makes you stronger", he adds. In addition, he clarifies that he does not feel like he has an option to choose between something feeling negative or positive - it's all a necessary part of the journey. He won't give up or beg down - no matter what.
Finally, he also wants to explain that there's a difference between being lonely as an entrepreneur and being lonely as a CEO. As a CEO you're the last line of defense and have to make some tough decisions. You also need to make sure that the company and within it is in alignment with what it stands for.
When Svea wants to know how he copes with all the responsibilities that are, in the end, sorely on his shoulders, he gives a similar answer as before: "Is there an option?". He explains that he consciously chose this path of being an entrepreneur and building this company and he was prepared for what would lie ahead of him.
💡 EPISODE TAKE AWAY
Are you only talking or are you actually doing it?
Have you found the positive things in the lonely times as an entrepreneur?