5. Know why you're doing it. It's amazing how easily we lie to ourselves -- in fact, it's basically programmed into us at birth. We rationalize why we are happy with what we have in our lives, whether it is our job, our house, our spouse, or our friends. But we need to know and feel in the deepest place of our hearts why we have something and be honest with ourselves. Not everyone is Mother Teresa, so if helping the world 24/7 isn't something that resonates for you, that's OK. Be passionate doing something that does resonate for you, whether it be painting, throwing parties, or eating cake.
6. Do what you love, but don't let the rest of your life fall by the wayside. If you love eating cake, then by all means, eat cake. But keep the rest of yourself in check or you won't be eating cake for very long! Life was not meant to be a one-track record -- make use of what you've got. If you're reading this blog you already have more than about half of the world, so take up the opportunities you have!
7. Be thankful for what you have. Every day of start-up life has a never-ending list of things that go wrong -- conversion rates aren't as high as they could be, customers aren't staying around as long as expected, someone wants to delete their account and won't tell you why -- but for each of those things that's going wrong, you have things that are going right (otherwise you wouldn't still be doing it). People are spending money, people write to tell you how much they love your app. You see people losing over 10 lbs within a couple weeks. Things like this make it worth it. This is why I keep a note by my bed that just says "3 things I’m grateful for."
8. It's OK to fail. This is one of the hardest lessons to learn, even in Silicon Valley where failure is embraced arguably more than anywhere else on the planet. All failures fade with time and are eventually forgotten, but usually their lessons are not. The world does not end. Brains don't explode. Angels don't lose their wings. Life goes on. Nothing ventured, nothing gained.
9. Expect haters, doubters, and the like. In some people's eyes, every entrepreneur is a "wantrapreneur" until they have a big, successful exit and everyone in the valley knows their name. This is stupid and exactly the opposite of what Silicon Valley is about. If you want to be an entrepreneur, don't let the haters stop you. Live the life you want to live and ignore the hate. The good news is that if you don't let these things get to you, they will ultimately eat their own hearts out, not yours.
10. Do something that adds meaning to your life. There are many ways to make money, and not all of them give a person meaning in life. If you're doing something that doesn't give you meaning, it will feel empty, no matter how many billions of dollars it makes. You won't be happy. I had a business like this once, and I'm glad I gave it away. But that's a story for another day.