Never Give Up.

My wife and my daughters just before a pitch.

As I’ve recently shared I’ve been spending a lot of time traveling, speaking with the intent of building interest around the startups that I lead – it’s tough and there’s nothing easy about it. As a result I look to shortcut as many things as possible, streamline the work so that it can be done optimally, and find the support that I need to continue pressing on.

But nothing supports as well as my family – those that know me the best and know how to provide just the right touch at the right time. For example, just before a critical angel investment pitch my wife texted me out of the blue stating that she was going to bring the girls up through Atlanta traffic and grab me some dinner to give me that extra boost.

I nearly melted – it’s exactly what I needed (and she intuitively knew it). It had been an incredibly rough week with more than a few ups and downs, with a bunch of side-to-sides in the mix as well. I had been in the middle of rehearsing my pitch and been nervously re-calibrating the points when the text came in and from then on all I could think about was seeing the smiling faces of my family.

And that made all the difference. I gave them the biggest hugs and kisses I could muster without tears and held my smallest for as long as I possibly could. They only stayed but 15 minutes although they had made an hour drive just for me. It’s these types of things that keep me inspired, keep me going, and help me to remember that I can’t give up on my dreams.

My family is counting on it.

That was 2 weeks ago and that feeling has long-since evaporated. That’s just part of being human – you easily forget the deep rooted sources of passion and energy as life takes it’s inevitable toll on you, your schedule, and ultimately your emotions. Every week you need to get that support, again, and again, and again.

Like this past week which totally kicked my butt. Sheesh, I feel like someone threw me under a lawnmower or something.

Thankfully the support that I needed came but this time it came via my father who has given me some of the best advice in the world (he modeled it, never explicitly sat me down and taught me it):

Don’t ever give up.

It was just what I needed this week because this week I had gotten seriously beat up – lots of work and the challenge of making very difficult choices. The circumstances were set to create a perfect storm.

And instead of the storm completely swallowing me whole I was able to make it out in the clear, in really good shape. What’s great about this little token is that I use it for my weekly runs – I try to do about a 4.5 mile circuit near my house and it takes me about 50 minutes or so. Half-way through, without fail, I want to quit, turn around, and walk back home.

I hate running. But, I love it too. It’s not just good for my health – it also provides me context and the freedom to think clearly and some of the best ideas for the businesses that I run and the applications I get to build have come to me on that 4.5 strip. It’s now an essential part of my week.

But isn’t it crazy that although I’m so dependent on that run and need it so badly that I still want to quit, every single time, around the half-way mark (and especially the last 10%). Sure, it’s just simple physical fatigue but our desire to quit isn’t just limited to that experience; we are challenged to quit spiritually, emotionally, and relationally all the time (and sometimes for good reasons) – especially when it’s getting tough and when you’re near the end.

You can’t give up. You must never give up. Your dreams, your passions, and those that you love are counting on it. This isn’t about being stupid and blindly running down a path with no clue as to what you’re doing – just like a scripted and planned jog around my neighborhood I know where I’m headed and I see the end in sight. I have a clear picture of where I want to be and I want it badly.

I just can’t quit before I get there and neither can you.

Your blog, your startup, your business – they all exist to challenge you to stick with it. Will you?