Every so often, I sit down with an entrepreneur who’s going through some very difficult times. The funding they thought they had secured fell through. Their co-founder left after a nasty fight. Their product, which they have been working on seemingly forever, completely bombed in the market.

One of the most important factors in persevering through hard times is your personal support network. Tweet This Quote

In the late nineties, I had to shatter my first startup. I had to tell my investors that we couldn’t make it work. I had to fire a dozen people who worked their backsides off for the company. I had to tell my friends and family, who supported me throughout the whole ride, that I failed.

None of that is easy. Far from it. It pushed me into a depression and it took a three month backpacking trip to Central America to get me out of it. But life goes on. It always does. In some miraculous, wonderful way, the ship always seems to righten itself in the end.

As entrepreneurs, the work we’re doing is too important to give up.

You need people around you who create a safe space and allow you to be vulnerable. Tweet This Quote

What I found, over the years, to be one of the most important factors in persevering through hard times and building up resilience is your personal support network. You need people you can talk to about this stuff. People who understand you, who have walked or are walking in your shoes. Who don’t judge you and are there for you when you need them. Who create a safe space and allow you to be vulnerable. Why not give them a call this weekend?

“The world breaks everyone and afterward many are strong in the broken places. But those that will not break it kills. It kills the very good and the very gentle and the very brave impartially. If you are none of these you can be sure it will kill you too but there will be no special hurry.”—Ernest Hemingway, A Farewell to Arms

As entrepreneurs, the work we’re doing is too important to give up. Tweet This Quote

This post originally appeared on Pascal’s blog.

About the author

Pascal Finette

Pascal Finette

Pascal is the Managing Director of Singularity University's Startup Lab. He is also an entrepreneur, coach, and speaker who has worked in Internet powerhouses, such as eBay, Mozilla, and Google, and Venture Capital—starting both a VC firm and accelerator program.

  • Jessica

    This is really encouraging, and I appreciate such honesty about failure and regaining success! I think sometimes, amidst the frustration, or the failure, it’s easy to forget what our purpose is… Thank you for sharing! 🙂

  • Logan Coffman

    What a great piece Pascal. Even as an undergraduate student I can relate to this topic. Often in times we can all feel incredibly overwhelmed, even like failures. I think that this is a natural emotion for many, many people. It’s important to remember to make time in our lives to build those deep relationships with friends and family so that when we are broken we can rely on others to help us pick up the pieces. What a great Hemingway quote!

  • Elisa

    Last semester I took an entrepreneurship stories class where we talked about multiple different people who had rag to riches stories who have turned out to be billionaires. Some had a great support system and some did not. A lot of them either failed with their first trial or they piggy backed other peoples ideas in order to make their idea big. But the idea from this article of having an idea that is “too important” to give up. Passion to keep going when you fail is such a big concept for entrepreneurs because when they fail they do whatever they have to, to regain their foot in the door to the industry. Look at Steve Jobs for example. He got kicked out of Apple and started a whole new company that ended up going under before he was taken back at Apple. The fire and mentality to keep going is a trait that is needed to be a successful entrepreneur.

    I like how in this article he mentions how his “first start up failed” implying that he had others that may or may not succeeded. But how he used personal support to help him when he was down and even when he was depressed he used travel which can be argued as being the best way of sparking great ideas. I mean look at Blake Mycoskie the founder of Toms shoes. He was traveling saw need, filled that need and created a for- profit.

  • Michael Kaelin

    This was a very enjoyable and energizing read. Thank you, Pascal. I really enjoyed the Hemingway quote because I believe that in life you have to push and overcome obstacles that you encounter on your journey throughout life. These obstacles and challenges are fatal, in terms of causing a person to give up on their dreams or lose their confidence or drive on a goal. The people who learn from the obstacles and are able to overcome become greater and stronger then they were before. Thank you again.

  • Taylor Lonsdale

    It’s always so refreshing to hear stories about people who are able to fail and continue striving. I think at some point every one feels like things will never turn around. I know that I’ve felt this way multiple times in my life but over time, I’ve realized that that’s life. I’m inspired by people that are able to pick themselves up and keep moving forward. I think about this a lot as graduation gets closer and I’ve realized that failing is not something that terrifies me as much as it used to.

  • Chris White

    After reading this article I felt compelled to reach out to some old friends so I gave a couple buddies from middle school a call and talked about where our lives had been taking us over the past several years. It was refreshing to find that in certain moments where I perceived a certain outcome as a personal failure, my friends saw them more as points of growth or new openings occurring. I invite all of you to do exactly what Pascal says and give your friends a call.

  • Emily Butler

    I seriously love this article. I think a lot of times people feel compelled to just give up after a failure because it’s embarrassing or shameful but the idea that the work entrepreneurs do is too important to give up on is so important to keep in mind because it’s true. Failure leads to success and that’s something people should keep in mind.

  • Noah Green

    What a great article. No matter how hard someone works they are always going to hit a rough patch or fail. I like how the article said, “As entrepreneurs, the work we’re doing is too important to give up” This quote is interesting because someone might have a brilliant idea and be extremely passionate but sometimes ideas simply fail. They can put their heart into it, work as hard as they can but the market might not be interested. That is no reason to give up. I agree that it is crucial to have a reliable supporting cast because when times get tough you need to have someone guide you and pick you up.

  • Daniel Hartman

    When you say the work you do is too important to give up, I could not agree more. Entrepreneurs provide the innovation that ultimately runs the market. It the goes without saying that we need a way to ensure that these people have proper support when the do not succeed to incentivize them to try again.

  • Tommy Moore

    I 100% agree, to get through hard times, both in the business world and outside of it, you need to have people you can talk to and open up to. Close friends and family are typically more supportive than we think they’re going to be. We assume that if we go to someone with news of our failures, that they are going to look at us as a failure, and think less of us as a person. In reality, however, people understand, they know what it’s like to fail and can sympathize with you. I also like the comment about how life goes on. You should never linger on one failure too long, or else it will continually eat away at you and make you feel worse and worse as time goes on. The only solution to this is let go, accept the fact that sometimes you’ll fail, but other times, you’ll succeed.

  • Danielle Flynn

    I agree that in order to make it in the business world as an entrepreneur you need to be able to get through any hard times or obstacles thrown at you. Support systems are what get you through the good and the bad times, and it wasn’t until college where I finally realized that. Without people to back you up mentally and physically you could not be able to get through the obstacles. With that being said, you must also have a good enough business, positive mentality in order to work your way through obstacles when theres not one else there. The only thing I wish is that the author would have elaborated more and made more of an argument than a stating of facts.

  • Sierra Stein

    As an entrepreneur you have to endure so many trials and hard times ultimately before becoming successful (in most cases at least). And then once you have “made it” companies and individuals must continue to preserver through difficult situations. I love the quote at the bottom, “As entrepreneurs, the work we’re doing is too important to give up.” It’s so easy to become discouraged, as individuals and entrepreneurs alike everyone must keep a positive mindset to push through their difficulties.

  • Hjordis Robinson

    When you have a dream to start your own business, you must be prepared both for great success or failure. However, failures do not constitute poor ideas or character. As long as you are passionate about what you love and about the impact you are attempting to make on the world, complete failure is impossible. A large majority of entrepreneurs have experienced some form of failure in their careers, therefore the community of people willing to encourage and support new ideas is endless. Although I wish the author had used a personal or specific story, I believe that the idea is groundbreaking and enlightening to upcoming entrepreneurs in the business world.

  • Eoghan

    Especially in the entrepreneurial world, failure rarely means failure. Agreed with the close personal support network on overcoming perils, which applies to everyday woes not just business. Liked how the author mentioned the 3 month trip to overcome depression. Only reason I’ve overcame it was making the decision to study abroad in the U.S. (what I’m doing right now), so subtle but strong advice on travelling to push past hard times certainly applies.

  • Lauren Paton

    This is a great article that anybody can relate to, whether they’re struggling with their entrepreneurial career or professional/academic career in general. As an entrepreneur, you live and breathe your venture so when it all comes crashing down it could feel like the end of the world. It doesn’t matter if you’ve successfully worked in a Fortune 500 company and have had a lot of experience in your field, the day you have to face your employees, investors, and supporters and admit failure is the day you’re the lowest. I realized a lot going through college that without a support system, I would’ve gone insane and probably fell into, and remained in a depression and probably failed out of college. Seeing as Pascal has started a VC firm and accelerator program, it’s clear that he didn’t let this bring him down and knock him out of the game for good. Your support system is what helps you persevere, and oftentimes they are the ones who help entrepreneurs think of their next, even better idea.

    When I was a freshman in college, I really struggled with finding what I truly wanted to do. I placed myself in a major that didn’t fit me in the least bit. I wasn’t doing well in school and it was taking a toll on my confidence and sent me into a year full of anxiety about my future. What it took to snap me out of it was talking to someone who was older than me and had gone through the same thing I was going through to bring me to my senses that I was sabotaging my well-being by suffering through something I had no intention of having a future in. I still find myself reflecting on my conversations with him 5 years later and they have helped me when I found myself struggling again. I feel like as an entrepreneur it’s really important to surround yourself, and network with others who went through a failed venture. It takes very mentally strong and mindful people to come out of a rut like that, and a lot of people find light at the end of the tunnel from their support network. The people around you are very important and it’s important not to take any of them for granted.

  • farhaan

    I think this article has a meaning that can be appreciated by anyone, whether they are a student struggling through school or a professional entrepreneur encountering tough times. No matter where you are in life, I firmly believe that you will encounter hardship and you will at some point in your life fail at something. However something I have learned throughout the course of my time is that success in life is not determined by whether or not you fail in life, but how you respond to that failure. I think that Pascal has given a lot of great advice for when you fail because he has experienced both failure and success and knows how to handle both. His assertion that one of the best ways to build resilience is to build a strong support group is something I completely agree with. I believe that surrounding yourself with people that you can be vulnerable with is incredibly important for success. Without a strong support group that you can allow yourself to speak your worries to, I do not think one can have the tools necessary to pull themselves out of failure. I myself have experienced in some way failure more often than I would like to admit, as anyone can attest it is not easy. There have been times that I considered giving up, withdrawing into myself because I felt that it would be better to never try because then I would never fail. Thankfully, my friends and my family have always been there for me to help me keep going. They told me that without failure there can never be success and that in order to achieve anything worth anything I must keep pushing through. I am not sure where I would be if it were not for my support group.