What I say is important in my life = how I actually live my life
"We would have bought your company."
"You just got lucky because it was the right time for that kind of thing."
"All the elements in the industry were just lining up when you started your company".
If a project is successful, in hindsight, it was very obviously the right thing to do.
If McKinsey buys your company, JP Morgan, in hindsight says, "we would have bought your company. We would have paid more for it."
A successful acquisition makes the transaction seem like a good idea, in hindsight.
If a company is successful, people analyse it for the timing, industry, other external factors. But that's just one side of the equation. The other side is a small team of people, building knowledge in an industry, establishing a solid reputation, accumulating expertise at their jobs; they are biding their time, and slowly working towards creating a market that is receptive to their product. When the market reaches a tipping point, they are ready for that as well. And they ride that wave to success.
And other people will look back and say, "weren't they lucky to be in that industry at the time?"
When I was growing up, my mum earned about $20,000 a year to support herself, my brother and I. By living very frugally and only spending money on things that were investments into our future (such as extra-curricula activities) she was able to bring my brother and I up to get our educations and go to university.
When I was considering being an entrepreneur, this really consoled me because I knew firsthand that if I completely failed at all my entrepreneurial endeavours, my relationship failed and I was left to look after two young kids, I would be able to do it.
Knowing what the worst that can happen looks like makes it less stressful to take a leap of faith and reach for the stars.
When I was younger, we couldn't afford a piano at home, so my mum would take me to my piano teacher's house each day to practise for an hour.
I didn't really know how to appreciate music. I could only distinguish different sounds at a very rudimentary level. So I was shocked when I went to my first Eisteddfod and came 3rd.
Over the years I would leave with many 1sts, 2nds, 3rds; and come first in the state in my piano grades 3, 6 and 7 examinations.
Put in the work. Even if you don't know how to appreciate it, your work will speak for itself.
Clear away some space and time for yourself.
Without the pressure of someone bursting in and occupying your space.
By giving yourself the time and space to think about things, without the pressure of looking good in front of other people, you can give yourself the chance to have clarity in thought and the freedom to create something authentic and deeply meaningful.
I'm the founder of Robogals, and the Young Australian of the Year for 2012. Currently working on 2Mar Robotics. I sometimes give speeches around the country.
I tweet @maritacheng and I'm on Facebook.
Enter your email address: