This chapter is a free excerpt from Confessions from an Entrepreneur (Volume 1).

Anthony Krumeich: Founder & CEO of Bloodhound

Pretend you died a failure. And don't define "failure" using the expectations set by your overbearing parents, a boss, or anyone else. I mean a failure in your own eyes. What would make you disappointed in the way your life turned out? Are there key milestones you wish you had accomplished? Things you regret not doing?

Okay, now think about what you could have done differently to prevent those things from happening. The goal is to identify what's important. I call this doing a "pre-mortem”; choose something you really want to see succeed, then imagine a world in which it failed. Come up with all the ways you could have prevented that from happening. This should help provide clarity on what you need to do.

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Anthony Krumeich: Founder & CEO of Bloodhound

Pretend you died a failure. And don't define "failure" using the expectations set by your overbearing parents, a boss, or anyone else. I mean a failure in your own eyes. What would make you disappointed in the way your life turned out? Are there key milestones you wish you had accomplished? Things you regret not doing?

Okay, now think about what you could have done differently to prevent those things from happening. The goal is to identify what's important. I call this doing a "pre-mortem”; choose something you really want to see succeed, then imagine a world in which it failed. Come up with all the ways you could have prevented that from happening. This should help provide clarity on what you need to do.

At any moment, there are an innumerable amount of things we're not doing. So, whatever we decide to do ought to be worth our time. To succeed, we have to figure out what we want to accomplish in the mid-to-long term in order to ruthlessly prioritize the most important steps to help us get there. A "pre-mortem" can be used to analyze many situations not limited to lifelong goals. If you're a founder, think about your company failing. What could cause it to go under? Perhaps zoom in a little closer the present day. How might a big, upcoming partnership go wrong? What about a product launch, the next feature release, or even an important meeting?

There’s a catch. To do this right you need to learn to be brutally honest with yourself. It’s a personal challenge. You have to figure out what scares you and where there are weaknesses in what you're doing. One thing I’ve always found to be true—if something is hard for me to admit about myself, my team, or my product, it’s probably because I secretly know there’s a weakness there. Strength never hides. If you don't force yourself to root out your weaknesses, you might never confront them. Knowing your own weaknesses is unnerving; it causes you to realize your own fallibility. It’s quite a bit easier to keep your head down, work tirelessly, and never stop to ask whether you're even working on the right things.

The truth is, for every single thing you're good at, there's someone out there who’s better. You're not the best at anything. You're not the best at anything, and you probably never will be. Once you accept this and you become comfortable with being uncomfortable, you'll be ready to take risks. Anything less and you’re doing yourself a disservice. You might not realize you’re avoiding certain challenges that scare you, because that’s where you have the greatest risk of failing.

Entrepreneurs can’t afford to be afraid to fail, or they will miss out on the biggest opportunities of their lives. Failure is not something to fear, but regret certainly is. Regret lasts forever.

Sure, you might realize you've been going down the wrong path; that you just spent a lot of time and energy working on something you no longer think is the right thing to do. Well, you have to let it go. It’s a sunk cost. Always challenge yourself to make decisions with a clear conscience. You might feel attached to the work you already did, that you "owe" something to it or the people involved with the project, but you don't. Every day, you choose what baggage to carry with you. Holding on when you ought to let go is far more costly than switching to a new idea. As an entrepreneur, you're tasked with trying to anticipate the future. And I’ve heard the best way to do that is to create it. But you won't create a better future if you're stuck in the past.

So, go! Fake your own death, and be prepared for the fight of your life.

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Anthony Krumeich’s Bloodhound is building the first place to do business online, starting with a mobile platform for events. Organizers of trade shows and conferences sign up for free, provide an awesome mobile app for their attendees (no more tote bags!), and lead retrieval for exhibitors; no more badge scanners! In the process, they're helping make B2B commerce more efficient.
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