Baaqir Yusuf

The importance of reflection

March 5, 2024

This is my seventh year as an “entrepreneur.” Or maybe it’s more fair to say my seventh year trying to be one? Still trying to figure out that characterization. Reflecting on this topic always brings a sense of reality to my experiences that feels more profound when I put pen to paper. Although seven years might not seem extensive in the grand scheme of things, it represents a significant portion of my life—over a quarter of it, and essentially all of my adult years. This period of time, from my perspective, underscores a substantial period of personal and professional growth. Pretty much all of it to be honest. My ventures, starting with Triad and evolving into Suora, have profoundly shaped my identity, and I don’t think it’s an exaggeration to say that. The challenges and setbacks encountered along the way have not only been instructive but have also prompted me to think deeply about improvement and growth. Each failure, whether in client projects or team dynamics, has become a catalyst for reflection on how to enhance my sense of empathy, effectiveness, and efficiency in my work and life.

The rhythm of seasons and new chapters unfolding have always resonated with me, symbolizing moments for reflection and preparation for what lies ahead. This cyclical nature of time encourages me to thoughtfully examine past actions and outcomes, helping me to foster a mindset geared towards continuous improvement. Annually, this reflective practice has become a foundational element of both my personal life and business strategy, enabling a deeper understanding of my actions and their impacts. I always say I like living in North Carolina because I get to experience all four seasons. When the leaves fall, when the air gets a little too humid, when the pool opens up, and when I throw my christmas tree up hoping for it to snow ONE TIME, I always stop to think and appreciate the moment that I’m in, and the moments that are to come. Reflection has served as a vital tool for acknowledging my shortcomings, cultivating gratitude for my achievements, and realigning my goals with what truly matters.

Transitioning from my first business to Suora involved significant introspection and guidance from my close friends and family and two sets of management coaches, marking a pivotal period of growth and learning. I typically enjoy change, but this level of drastic change is new to me. It forces you to leave that old you behind and be comfortable falling into who you can become.

The year 2023 stood out as a year of key milestones, shaping the direction of our current endeavors and our outlook for the future. With Tristan as my business partner, and now Sullivan a core part of our small team, our journey with Suora is not just about continuing our entrepreneurial path but also about embracing the values and lessons that have brought us this far. The choice to pursue this lifestyle, despite its uncertainties, reflects a deeper commitment to our vision and to each other—a gamble on our collective potential and the unfading belief in our direction.

The essence of entrepreneurship, as I've learned, is not just about the relentless pursuit of success but also about the values and approaches that guide this journey. Emotional reactivity has proven to be a hindrance, while a stance of peaceful objectivity has been invaluable. Taking the high road, so to speak.

The importance of data, kindness, respect, trust in your team, and hard work are principles that have not only shaped my entrepreneurial journey but are also lessons I hope to impart to others. Entrepreneurship is a constant balancing act of priorities, a continuous cycle of testing, refining, and adapting. The key is to work both smartly and diligently, always moving forward with purpose and integrity.

In sharing these reflections and insights, my aim is not only to document my own journey but also to offer valuable lessons to others embarking on their entrepreneurial paths. I hope these small notes can provide a sense of relief that if you’re working hard to make what’s yours real, you’re not alone.  Maybe all of us entrepreneurs feel like we’re always just “trying to be one” (maybe not the one with multi-million dollar+ exits, s/o to those). But I’ve started to believe that the reality is that if you’re trying, you are one. This journey is filled with challenges and uncertainties, but the rewards of growth, learning, and fulfillment are unparalleled. As I look to the future with Suora and beyond, I am reminded of the importance of staying true to your values, the power of reflection, and the enduring belief in the potential of what you can achieve with a sense of confidence in yourself.

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