Read me only if you’re NOT afraid to fail.

Today is a special day. And not just because it’s Monday! We are down to the final hours of the application period for Ready Set Raise 2019. In just under two days, once all your data is in, we get to learn about hundreds of companies led by women and non-binary founders. Because of them, selecting the cohort is both impossibly difficult and spectacularly inspiring.

And yet, one of the most painful lessons I’ve learned from Ready Set Raise is how much underrepresented founders hold themselves back, especially women of color. It kills me inside a little bit every time I hear some version of “I’m not good enough”, and there are many: I’m not ready. It’s too risky. Others are crushing it but I’m failing all the time. I’ll just embarrass myself. I can’t apply to this accelerator. I’ll never get the pitch right. Nobody will invest the money I need. I am going to fail so why bother trying.

At this point in the story, others would tell you that you’re amazing and you can accomplish anything you set your mind to. But that’s not always true – there is a big world of externalities that sometimes block us from achieving our dreams. You deserve better than hollow words of inspiration with a hashtag on the side. Instead, I will give you honesty:

#1. You’re right: you ARE going to fail. The longer you keep at it, the more failure you’ll face. But failure is not final, it’s just a detour. It’s a pause that helps you spot a weakness and turn it into a strength.

#2. NOBODY that runs a startup is crushing it. We are all living a roller coaster, just like you. And anybody that makes you think otherwise is straight up lying.

#3. Rejection sucks – but it’s a muscle. You can’t get to a yes without facing a bunch of no’s.

#4. The only guaranteed way to not succeed is to never try anything.

In the next 48 hours, while this application period is open, the only thing that can stand in your way is YOU. I hope you’ll try. I hope you’ll take 10 minutes to fill out this application that may end up in rejection, but may also end up in success.

Because, why NOT you?

Bring it on, founders. I can’t wait to read all about how you’ll change the world.

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