What’s Stopping You?

I heard that working at a startup is an experience like no other. It stretches you in ways that you’re not ready to and you end up finding out you’re more flexible than you knew. You see that your reach extends further than you initially thought possible.

Before I moved to Vietnam to work at a startup, I was told by one of my best friends that it would force me to grow far more than the other option I had. “You would be comfortable there,” she said. “And you’ll be taken care of.”

Then she paused to think about it as if reweighing the options for me.

“But you’ll grow much more at the startup. And to be honest,” she continued, “I always thought you could do a lot more.

An whole summer and a fraction of a fall later, I had gone through five seven-day workweeks that started off with 5:30 am wake up calls, 6:30 am workouts, and series of weeks upon weeks of 12-hour workdays. There were as challenges as there were opportunities, and sometimes they were one in the same. Through it all, there was one question that I noticed I kept running into again and again.

What’s Stopping You?

Working at a startup, the possibilities feel endless in the beginning.

When you have the opportunity to take ownership of each idea you have, you feel excited by their infiniteness. You have more ideas than you can focus on at any one time, and you want to share and pitch every single one with such urgency, as if the chance to capitalize on them might suddenly disappear forever if you didn’t.

But before you jump at them, before you throw your whole self at it, there’s a gap that stands in front of you.

The Gap in Front of You

That gap? It feels like hesitation. It appears as a pause and inserts itself as a moment of indecision

What that gap is is a lapse of uncertainty. Because before you take action, before you execute, before you go all in, you have to unlearn not to ask for permission.

That new redesign of the database that you just read a new book on? The community-focused marketing initiative that you’ve been thinking about for the past three days? The hiring campaign that somehow connects ten different dots of your social network, background, interests, and experiences? You want to do it all, and you can go for it, but you have to first realize that you are the only person who would be stopping yourself.

The Only Thing Stopping You is Yourself

It takes time to let go of the fear that something might break or go wrong and you might be in trouble because nobody gave you permission. It takes time to gulp down the fear of not knowing if it will work and finding the strength and the courage to shoulder the responsibility of figuring it out.

Yes, you might break something. And yes, multiple things might go wrong. And still yes, you might realize you actually can’t do it (or maybe not yet anyways).

But you’re not here to not take chances, to not push yourself, to not bet on your own ideas so you that you can’t see what you’re really made of.

You’re here because you believe that you’re more powerful than you’ve seen yourself to be thus far, and you want a first-row seat to witness yourself perform.



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Jason Lam

Jason Lam

Head of Admissions Consulting | Point Avenue