Dec 25 2023 • 10 min read

I've mentioned quite often that one of the most important ingredients of doing hard things (like startups) is “delusion”. I've come to realize it could be better described as faith.

"We're gardeners, not gods. We cannot make things happen. Every good thing has its own season for ripening, and half the time, something unexpected happens.” — Elaine Wang.

One part of undertaking hard things is a significant amount of willpower & influence — you're gardening, aka wielding what's in your control to pave the way for the emergence of your desired outcomes. For this part of the journey, your influence — whether through out-of-the-box thinking, a sense of urgency, connections, or sheer hard work — propels you toward your desired state.

Conversely, there's a phase of seemingly endless waiting. Seeing as we cannot make things happen, this part of the journey is a delicate dance of patiently awaiting the alignment of your set pieces. Your influence does nothing. Delusion or, more aptly, faith assumes an outsized role in staying the course.

Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” — Hebrews 11

One of the most important choices you'll make in life is who your partner is. Whether it's your life partner, friend, co-founder, employee, or investor, it's a make-or-break decision that will have an outsized influence on the trajectory of your shared venture.

I've worked with Adesuwa for ~4 years. We met at Helicarrier and left to work on Accrue after 1.5 years. I often say that we're a match made in heaven, and it's not just a whimsical phrase. We share complementary skills, measured personalities, aligned work ethics, copious grit, and, most importantly, the same moral compass.

For a while now, I've been musing about how much I'm benefiting from one of Adesuwa's core modules — her unwavering faith. When we encounter one of the never-ending startup throes, we go into problem-solving mode together. I'm irreligious, which kind of sucks because I'm a worrier too. I worry about the myriad ways a situation might go wrong, and because I don't believe in a deity, I resort to self-reliance to figure out a solution. That responsibility is remarkably distressing. Fortunately for me, Adesuwa is different. In addition to problem-solving, she has an immovable belief that everything will be okay, no matter what.

This time last year, I was speaking to a VC about Accrue's growth plans. I boldly/blindly projected 4X revenue growth in 2023 based on the traction we hoped to set off in Ghana. To me and probably the VC (who unsurprisingly passed), that must have seemed like delusion, but looking back, I realize that was faith — the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.

Adesuwa and I excel at doing the work, so for the first half of 2023, we worked tirelessly to use what was in our control to create the conditions for our current trajectory. I didn't realize this then, but in the second half of the year, the dance had begun. The slow segments featured challenges like salary cuts, consulting to extend our runway, elusive B2B customers and investors after prolonged discussions, and accelerators rejecting us back-to-back. The fast-paced segments featured achievements like growing revenue by 8X, achieving profitability, securing a contract with Opera and several other businesses with organic referrals, and raising money from some of the brightest minds in crypto & fintech, among other wins.

As we go into 2024, wiser about what it takes to do hard things — the delicate art of gardening, the ebb and flow of the dance, its unpredictable tempo and unscripted movements — I am profoundly grateful for faith, particularly Adesuwa's. It is a wellspring that we'll keep drawing from to navigate the course ahead despite evidence of the things not seen but hoped for. Onwards!