BBQ Ribs and Personal Anxiety

Over BBQ at Redbones, I had lunch with an entrepreneur whom I’ve long admired from afar. The conversation took a quick turn when we both talked about our personal insecurities.

This entrepreneur talked about how he came east from the Midwest, turned down MIT when he was offered a killer financial aid package elsewhere, and still battles personal insecurities.

I’m the same way.

On some days, I’m still that poor immigrant kid from Indonesia. I guess this is one of those nagging personal demons, involving thoughts that go through my head: Am I smart enough? What did I miss today? Why does my head feel like it’s going to explode at times?

That lunch with the entrepreneur means a great deal to me. He was honest. So many people go around projecting that “it’s all good.” They’re cool under pressure, while I am at times swimming in worry.

I decided long ago that I want to embrace authenticity. Be who I am. Only work on initiatives that are meaningful. No spin, no half-measures. A life where passion is prime and conviction paramount.

So, I’m trying to accept my personal anxieties as opposed to mask them. They’re a part of who I am. So, control the worries, but make do with them.

As The Good Wife says: “Jo, you are who you are. It’s what makes you entrepreneurial.”

6 thoughts on “BBQ Ribs and Personal Anxiety

  1. Jo – great posts. I like reading your posts and what you bring to each one – in the end value.

    I’ve been on a similar journey the past year. I can’t recall if you’ve ever posted directly on what your spiritual life is or at all. Whatever the case, I’d encourage you to take a look at 33 The Series developed by

    Here is a trailer for the series:

    If it is a fit for where you are at in life great, if not, no worries. Just thought I’d share what has been very impactful on my life and 20 others guys that I’m working through this with.

  2. Hi Jo,

    I really enjoyed this post, but I’m wondering how you’d react to an entrepreneur sharing his or her personal insecurities with you while seeking funding. Like you said and I couldn’t agree more, everybody is battling them, but is it a turn off if they share them with you during the fundraising process? Is there a time and a place where it’s OK/not OK?

    Thanks, Jo.

    1. John, great question. Obviously, an entrepreneur is in “sell mode.” We VCs know that, and so, we will tend to discount people’s enthusiasm. In general, though, I think it is situation-specific.

  3. Hey Joe, everyone is swimming in doubt. We’re all that kid from somewhere, we’ve all made mistakes, all had poor decisions. Those that don’t acknowledge are either sociopaths or ignorant 🙂

    It’s our ability to learn, to acknowledge the pain and grow out of it, that makes us better.

    Thanks for the blog. Still reading it, still learning. Maybe you’ll be a part of my next venture.


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