520: Encore episode – How to Worry in Business
The Startup Chat with Steli and Hiten

Full episode transcript -


Hello. This is heating and this is Stelly. On the start of chat today, we're gonna talk about how toe worry in business the right way. Like talking about more than your sales


and market. We just want a bullshit and chat about business and life. And hopefully, while we're doing them for my long value, Teoh for people trying to get Yeah, we don't want to give you feedback. That's


bullshit. You want you to do


your best? Yes. So why don't we want to talk about


Wordy? Yes. So we've been doing some Q and A sessions and some deeper things at a conference called Micro Calm. And we got a lot of questions about We got a lot of questions where I think Stella and I would be like, Why are you worried about that? Right way would have that statement. And then we even started talking to people and trying to help help help them work through what they're worrying about and how to worry about the


right things. Yeah, so it's interesting. There's this quote and since we decided to do ah, an episode on worry at, I try to look it up, but I couldn't do it fast enough, but it's so I'm gonna butcher it. But it's something along the lines off the worries of today I basically not help you with your problems of tomorrow. They're just robbing you, of your resource is and resourcefulness, right? Eso and I have said many times to people that, if, like worrying and stressing out about things was productive, that be like the most successful human on this planet and be all for it. But I've tried it in all kinds of forms and facets is just not that product.

It's the least productive thing you did right. It really is, because in itself, worry combines a one. Part of worrying in my mind is positive, which is it is typically a manifestation of some type of critical thinking. You're spotting a problem, right? That's a good thing. You're


almost suggesting if you're worrying, the solution isn't to ignore


it. No, right. So the I think the positive part of the worry puzzle is that there is something that bothers you. There's a problem with something you seeing them arising, so you shouldn't


ignore that. So double down on it, almost,


yes, but there's this other component on worry worry in itself is a word is very non proactive. Like when I say I worry about something, you know I'm not doing anything


about it. It's like saying I'm thinking, Yes,


really it me. It definitely means that there's no action that falls directly right, And that's why. And usual also means some type of internal conflict, like where he is not like when you take action on something, you're not worried about it, right? Right.


You were doing your in the middle of it.


You're doing it. You know what? You might think? This is a problem. So I'm thinking about it. I'm attacking it. But worrying means that there's some internal conflict, some back and forth and some lack of clarity on what the next actions should be or if you should take action. I think that's why it's such a unproductive activity. If you do it at a long stretch of times, especially for business owners, entrepreneurs, startups where you really are, you know, at the mercy of making decisions and acting on these decisions really fast. So So let's talk about maybe first, the talk about one off the types of worry that I think people need to just stop doing,

which is worrying about future problems, especially problems that are very much like not in the immediate future is in, like, tomorrow or next week. But in the in a year, once we've scaled to thousands of employees, I worry that are legal structure and the way that our or charges set up today. Is that sufficient? Like worrying about bullshit problems about problems that you don't have today? You won't have tomorrow. And so it's not the right time to worry about them. Why do so many people We had at least three people Where? Where the answer was Why the hell do you worry about this right now? Yeah. Why do people do this? And how can we help people stop from doing so hot White Do Do you do this at all? Do you find yourself having that that issues like worrying about things that are way in advance


and up the right problems? Yeah. You know, one thing I was gonna say is like, you only want to worry about the things you can actually control. Yeah, right. At least I'm not saying worry about all those things. It's just like those air. That's the realm worthiness of your time, of worrying about something. So for me, what happens is if I start worrying about something, I'm mut like, Wait, hold on. Is there anything and that you're gonna like this?

Because I know you love action, but it's like, what can I do about this? And if the answer is nothing, I literally am done worrying about. Just done. I forced myself. It comes up like we already decided There's nothing I could do about this I'm not gonna worry about. And usually it's like in anticipation. I am worried, right? Like I'm talking, You know, this is an interesting one, but everyone will understand the pressure. I'm talking to a bunch of investors.

I've had one or two meetings with all of them. Who's going to give me money? Am I going to get more money? What's gonna happen? How much is it gonna be? What's evaluation gonna be? Are they gonna have these weird rules in there? You know, in the term sheet are these weird things in the term sheet that make be, you know, whatever I'm like Wait, hold on Like if someone came to me like that. But wait, hold on. Do you have a term sheet yet? No.

All right. You know, your only goal is getting to a term sheet. Yes, right. And so I think people tend to worry about these things that they clearly cannot control. But they will clearly be on issue. That will come up at some point, but not yet. So it's almost like I want to tell people like, Hey, that's not a worry yet. Yeah, let's worry about something


else. Yeah, I think potentially. Because, you know, a Z, you're running a business. You have to Yeah. You have to allocate your resource, your time and your energy really wisely have to prioritize. We talked about focus. So you can't worry about what's gonna happen, you know, two weeks from now and at the same time, take action. What needs to happen today or the issue that is at hand today. You need to be able to compartmentalize that way.

Where you go. I had all these investor meetings. I'm wondering what will the terms be? Who's gonna come back? What's gonna happen? But then you have to stop yourself and go. Well, can I do something about it right now? No. Since I can't do anything about it, I'm gonna compartment this in this box until next week when I hear back from them. And what do I need to do now? Right now, I need to talk to his new employees and make sure they're productive. And, like, completely forget about this investor thing, right? And you really need to cultivate that skill.


Now the consideration there is you can't completely get something out of your head if you're literally convinced you're worrying about it. So with that, I think it's a super hard for people to stop worrying about something without knowing the knowing that next action to take about that thing, right? So what I'm really wearing and I can't get out of my head. It's just simply because I don't know what I don't know what's gonna happen next. I don't know what the next milestone is. And so, in the fundraising, I keep coming back to well, although most of the things people worry about on that are based on a term sheet, because the terms you determines everything, right, terms, valuation and so you know, in almost any scenario, it's like,

Oh, I'm worried. I'm worried we're not gonna make sales next quarter. Yeah, well, what you gonna do about it is probably what you would say. Yeah, right. So I think there's there's always a next action to anything like that. Before you condone. Get rid of it from your head.


Yes. So you can ask me. You have to do it right away. Yeah, but you can ask yourself what is the next action item? And it might just be Well, the next thing that needs to happen is probably for me to fall up with the investors. If I don't hear by X, and then you put the new calendar and it's done, that's the next action item, right? This is funny. This this funny little line, you know, from some kind of Buddhist whatever monk or something, where somebody asked him about worrying and he asked, he asked the person to see these two things you can do.

Hey, ask the person about the problem. And then he said, Well, let me ask you this. Can you do something about this? And the person said, Yes. Okay, there's no need to worry. And you know, next time it comes around, the person is again a problem. And he tells him about all these worries. And the Buddhist monk goes again. Can you do something about it on?

The person goes, No. And the monk says, Well, then there's no reason to worry about it. So, like in Buddhist philosophy, you can do something about it. You could do it if you can, that you can. This is always over. Worry right, because it's not. It's not how it's not helping. It's not making any difference, but especially interesting to me.

I think that this is more so. What we're talking about is more like the person that's worrying about something that's maybe a few weeks, you know, a few months in advance of their future. They know they're gonna have to deal with this, and it's about like, how do you compartmentalize? So how do you prioritize how you take action? How do you deal with that? But then there's these other people, a good amount of the people that we said, Why are you worrying about this? They were not. They didn't have 10 investor meetings and they were worrying about the terms. They had no investor meetings and they were like, Before I start fundraising,

how can I make sure that I get the best terms from the top of investors that are really like, you know, if he didn't give me a big smile, that's the you worry about problems you most likely will never have yet, Probably because you have the habit of worrying about things that are not happening. Right? Overthinking things. Uh oh, we're so successful, how we're gonna deal with X, Y


and Z doesn't matter. They might never get there. That's the worst kind.


Yeah, The most likely scenario is you will not get there. So worrying about it today is probably part of the problem. Why you never gonna get there? Is the type of thinking right that keeps you in, like in your head versus in the real world. Taking action


so that almost feels like there's a few patterns of worry like one is like worrying about something that's so far out it might not happen, which is the one I think you alluded, Teoh pointed to, which is great. Then there's a one of like, I'm just nervous I feel like a lot of the ones like you're almost there. You're just nervous. You're just nervous about these things. And a lot of times they aren't in your control and someone else is gonna come back. Like I love your investor. One like, it's funny. Like when you were talking about the investor. One, you're almost, you know, like they were almost there.

And they've got these meetings. You said, Oh, if they don't follow up with you, you should follow up with them. I would have just said, Well, he was not under your control. Like you have to wait till they tell you. Right? So But you still had a next action, right? Right, Which I think is way better. So I think those air just like you're just nervous about something. You're anxious about something. It's not the same kind of worry as like, the previous one. So I'm wondering if there's other types of wearing in business that Yeah.


So the 3rd 1 that came immediate to mind is when there is a problem in the here and now and it's not outside your control, you just don't know what to do or you know what to do it. You don't want to do


it. Yeah, I I have one tactic there, and it's simply just get information. Yeah, because if I don't know something, it means I don't have information. And then it's like, Who do I talk to? What do I do? Right? And and sometimes those worries are actually longer term, right, cause they might be just something you're working on and you're just nervous about it again. I go back to that. It's a worry, Frank.

And so I think the best thing to do in that case is just like, Oh, what? What? What's my way of getting information so I can get clarity about this? Worry. You are this situation, and once you have the clarity, then you might even find that next action. Then you're done, you know, worried about it.


So let me ask you on this, because part of me wants to challenge that, because I think in some cases it's information. But in most cases, it's not that I'm missing data. It's that I'm lacking the emotional to act on it. So let's say you, there's somebody on your team's not working out, but It's like your best friend or somebody. What if for whatever reason, it doesn't seem straight forward to, you know, part ways in the relationship? Ah, lot of people. A lot of founders will worry for a certain period time. Sometimes it's weeks day.

Sometimes it's months or years about how do, like, separate from that person, but they because there's all these pro and cons and they know they should do it. But it really feels like a difficult thing to do.


I don't know how to get over the emotion, but I


would you still act on like, get more information is can that still


be away Know something similar, but not the same? So I think the get more information is more like I just don't know what to do. Yeah, right here it's not. I don't know what to do. I actually know what to do. I just don't want to do it and and army that don't want to do it is more like, Okay, you have to start. I believe you have to. If in that specific situations about somebody else that you're really worried about right in the sense of like, how are they gonna feel? What am I gonna do? It's very emotional. Try to just separate that motion from the logic. The logic is like,

if that person continues here, all these other things are not going to get done. They're gonna get done wrong. They're going to get done too slow. Other people might leave other people on the team might even be impacted, right? All those things are not what most people are worried about. Instead, they're worried about the conversation with the person and how they're going to break it to the person. So that, to me, is a very simple business case. Because of your contribution to your lack of contributions. Here are business Will, Will, Will will not be able to do what we need to do.

We don't believe I don't believe you are the person that can do this right. So that is, to me, information in your own head about like, Why am I feeling the way I am about even just letting go of the person right? And if you can quantify that, that at least that's out of the way and say, OK, there's a bunch of business reasons, right? That that this person cannot continue. Then you gonna hopefully work on the emotion. And then it's more about breaking it to the person. Because once you've done this sort of business issues, I think it becomes clear to you that in a different way, that,

like this person, will just not work. You have to have confidence that, like you're making the right decision before you go, actually deal with your emotion about having to deal with the person. But that's what I found most effective, I'm wondering. It's almost like sterilizing from the emotion first and then add the motion.


Yeah, I mean, it's also interesting. Like, what is the difference between worry about something you have encountered before versus worry about something you've never encountered by it? And I do think that confidence is plays a part in this in terms off, even when you don't know if you made the right decision in the past, if you've gone through something, you just tend to have a bit more off internal compass or the confidence to act on something because you've gone through this experience before for these people, and this is probably the type of people that we interact with that express worry to us. People that are that haven't gone through some experience before. They just tend to wear about it in different ways because there's also a big lack of confidence. Like even if I've gathered information and I think I now know what to do, I still not sure if I may if I'm on the right track because I've never done this before, right? This is the way around. This is their hack. How did you get experience other than, like overcoming whatever?


Yeah, there is a hack. It's


a mental hack. Go


for it and I use it. A lot of people that tell me things like that only. So the hack is help them Remember a time when they've done something. Justus Heart. That's it. I like it takes work. Yeah, you have to talk to them. But like when someone tells me this is my first time, I haven't done it like I try to go there or, you know, not even that It's just like I haven't done it before. I don't know what I'm doing. Global blood like Wait, are you saying like if you want to be really flipping. And are you saying you don't know how to breathe? You figure that weight.

You don't even figure that. You know, maybe there's something in you that just well, you'll figure it out. It's a confidence boost is reminding them of something hard. They did, Yeah, that's the simple, simple act. It's not even hack. It's just like it's human. Yeah, like, how can you get them to a place where they're like, Yeah, I've done something hard like that before. Well, then this is silly, like every time I have a business failure now, likely


I lost a $1,000,000 before on I cried about good. Wouldn't cry again so that I need you. Like of course, this is You know, we've talked about our Children and like what builds character and the challenges and, you know, you go through. The only way to build kind of that level of strength is to make a lot of hard choices and make some mistakes along the way and overcome and survive those and that builds that. That that memory in the muscle memory of I've done really hard things that I didn't know how to do so weren't out. Some didn't over a long enough period of time. It all kind of working out. Yeah. So you get that confidence Just making


a call on movie for love. It wasn't your first day of college. Scary. Like I'm just saying, like for anybody, Anybody that went to college and be like, Oh, yeah, I was scary a shit. I had to make friends this as well.


What you doing down, like, How is it more scary than that? About even nicer is when you push it back to, like, think about first day of kindergarten. Yeah, it's something that seems terrifying, but with enough distance and perspective, you go. This was nothing, right? Is a place you played with toys all there. Well, in that moment, it seemed like everything. And today,

certain things that will seem like they're everything. Probably with enough time and distance, they will seem insignificant. You know, it's very rarely that something is truly, like life altering. Important. Yeah, right. So all right. So anymore. Tips about worrying the right way, worrying about the right things. How about worrying about the right things? We talked a little bit about, like,

long term things that never happened. You know, things that you have a little bit control of, or no control of entities that are happening today. You have control over what internally conflicted and don't want to take action or whatever else is stopping from them. But are there better problems? What are the best problems to worry about when you're in business versus that problems? I think back problems already touched on which our problems you don't have. You won't have any time near. But what are really good things to worry about? Or should you not


worry about anything? I think short, short term things that are like short term goals, objectives, short term meaning days, weeks, hours is it might be worth worrying about. Yeah, because a lot of times, if you don't worry about the thing immediately, you might. You might just drag it out, too. So good, good, good one there is. And this is the impulse I have now.

It's very hard to do it. It's back to the original thing. I have one of the results, he said. But it's like if there's someone on your team and you know you're gonna have to let him go. There's already a lot of motion, regardless of whether they're your best friend or not for most people. So in that scenario, for me, it's like the immediate time I have that worry. I'm going to double down on that where he, like we talked about. And I think it's a good worry because I should be worrying about human beings and, you know, breaking it to them that they're no longer here are figuring out how to make them happy and make you know the company successful. And so I think that's a healthy worry worrying about that.

But like if you go worry about that for more than days, maybe hours, and don't do anything about it, I think it turns into a worry. That's probably unproductive. Yeah, something one way to define it when I think about this is there's productive way story. There's unproductive ways, and it might not be situational. I would say it's more time. At least that's my personal preference is that if I'm gonna worry, I am going to make sure I worry for the shortest amount of time, and if that means it's a shortest amount of focus time. If That means that I'm driving like people crazy for about an hour. I'm okay with that. Right,

cause I've had to do that before. We like to call a meeting in the company. And for an hour, I was driving people crazy, right? But I had no choice. We had a


crisis. I like the time perfect view, because I do think that I think that, you know, worrying needs to have a very kind of short shelf life like you want to do it. But the moment it the moment you can articulate I'd be worrying about this for months. There's a problem. Wakes


like that's


like a talent so that you have been running for to log. Whoa. OK, stop. So worrying. I think I think should be something that's restricted to days at best, right, if you create hours offering. But if you can do days and you can you can look back at, like, the last year and know where you had you carried around for more than a few days, you're probably already know, like you could identify somebody's place and how successful they are. Probably just on that. Yeah. You look at how long they worry about things, and you probably could say something about them all.

All the signal you need. It's got a lot of. But the other thing that I would say is the the one thing that I like to do it, I do it inconsistently. And it's something that I that I'm going to do more consistently will report is worrying about Mehta thinks right. So there's worry about the day in, day out, Somebody has a problem. Something broke. We messed something up. Those like the realities. But then there is a question like There's things toe. Where about one of my favorite worry is, What am I not worrying about? Right? What is a blind spot we have that I'm not aware off?

Or I remember, you know, we made when we were running elastic sales for the biggest amount of time. We were running it with a horrible business model, and then we switched and made a massive is different. But it was kind of late, and to me that that switch and the impact it has was so shoot that I was like, what else are we not thinking about clearly enough that it would change. It would like five fax the business in a month. Like what? Like everybody was so happy about the positive impact of the change. And I was like, What the fuck way missing out on Where did I go wrong? Right? What else will get all the time after a breakthrough like Whoa should find another way. Yes,

let me find you. Find another just yes or no. But But that's kind of an interesting, interesting mind game to play of like huh? And it's more. It comes more from a place of curiosity. It comes from a place off making a video concert, right? It's more like, huh? I wonder, What are we totally like oblivious about? That's a big opportunity right in front of us. Or that is a huge issue that's gonna get us into trouble, and we're just all blinded. What could that be if I wanted to entertain that thought?

I think that's that is kind of intellectual, long term thinking, curious curiosity based worry that's actually kind of productive can be productive. Not if you do it all day long, but if you do it kind of semi regularly. I think it's a healthy thing. Also, organizationally, if you cultivate that type of thinking, I think it's a healthy thing.


What should I be wearing about right


now? What should we be worried about right now? Yeah, right. Um, so that you can get ahead off these things materializing, manifesting and then being short term problems you worry about versus things. You caught super early because you were just anticipating. It's another way of anticipating. I watch what I work. What do we worry about? What could become a problem that we're not aware of right now? What is an opportunity that were not taken advantage off and all right, so I think that's it from from outside. Yeah, we give a ton of tips on the whole episode was full of tips. So that's it.

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a quick bonus. Oh, yeah. Bonus. Bonus time.


Don't worry. Be happy.


Listen to that song right after this podcast, the world a better place. All right?

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