Why did things go awry in my startup journey? The answer lies in my lack of assertiveness.

As a business, we faced many decisions that I felt strongly were misguided. Though I raised my concerns, I held back from pushing them forcefully to avoid hurting the feelings of my co-founders. We were on the same hierarchical level, but as the product lead, I had spent more time understanding our product and market than anyone else on the team. I documented and shared my findings, but when decision time came, early biases held me back from advocating for my ideas. Over time, these unchallenged decisions compounded into significant problems.

We managed some temporary fixes, pulling Hail Marys to escape immediate consequences. But when it came to making big bets, I shied away from responsibility, fearing failure and blame.

In hindsight, I recognize that I could have stood my ground and ensured that my decisions were seen through. In a startup, alignment among team members is crucial, which means taking the time to help others understand why certain actions are necessary. But in the fast-paced world of startups, where six months feels like three years, this can be a daunting task.

The strength of a startup lies in its speed, nimbleness, and execution bias. When buy-in takes time, and resources and budget are limited, it might make sense to prove the sunken cost fallacy wrong and quit.

At the time I left, I was stressed and burned out. Everything I was working on seemed to make no sense. I quit not only my impact analytic startup but every contract and partnership I had at the time, resolving to start 2022 afresh, from the ground up.

This experience taught me valuable lessons about the importance of assertiveness, clear communication, and the courage to make tough decisions. It’s a chapter of my life that has shaped my understanding of business, leadership, and personal growth.