Self-confessed technology tragic and serial entrepreneur, Dave Kuhn, has ridden the waves of success and the whitewash of trial throughout his journey as an entrepreneur. We were lucky enough to have Dave join us at our October Coaching Night where he opened up about the moment when his faith and his doubt were at war with each other, searching for a God Dave wasn't sure was listening.

Kara shares her reflections from Dave's story:

Dave sounds quite vulnerable as he tells a particular low point of his story.

He walked outside of his home in the United States’ famous Silicon Valley, conscious that his whole world was falling down around him.

His promising tech start-up had just floundered. He had already had to sell his house in Australia to pay the debts. He was going to have to tell his wife that their visas had been revoked and they would be leaving immediately. All their possessions would have to be left behind. He had a two-month-old daughter.

As he looked up at the stars his question was “God, where are you?” As a Christian, he had been riding the wave of success as a sign of God’s blessing. When things had begun to sour he had prayed and hoped for a turnaround in his fortunes.

“What do I do when I don't feel God is listening?” he wondered.

Dave was talking to a group of Christian entrepreneurs sharing a part of his story that doesn’t always get told. Many entrepreneurs go through times of failures before they find success, but for Christians it can become a crisis of faith.

For Dave it was a question of where his identity lay: in Christ or in his success.

It was a question of whether he really trusted God to provide. He was feeling the fabric of his faith unravelling.

Slowly, he began rebuilding his relationship with God. After further personal disappointments he was reminded of a comment from a friend:

“God is more interested in your character than your success.”

Dave realised that it was more about God and his work, than about Dave and his work.

Now Dave is tasting success again, with the hugely popular Spaceship Superannuation Fund, and with an IT problem-solving business called 3wks which promises to deliver “rapid, efficient user-centric digital solutions that drive positive change”.

Dave shared his five top tips for entrepreneurs:

  1. Extreme focus
    Nothing great happens without it. Life is full of distractions that dilute your effectiveness. Be ruthless in removing them so you can work to your full potential.
  2. Maintain perspective
    Make time for the relationships and activities that sustain you so that when times get tough you can maintain perspective. If all you have in life is work, when work sucks, life sucks. 
  3. Stay humble
    You're not that smart, in fact you're mostly wrong and failure is the norm. Listen, learn from failure and adjust. Keep yourself honest by setting clear goals so you can tell when you're failing. Giving up and trying something else is sometimes the smartest thing you can do.
  4. Remember who's in control
    Hint: it's not you. It's not about what happens to you, it's how you choose to respond. Act decisively on what you can and try not to worry about things you have no control over.
  5. Healthy mind
    Your mind is the most valuable thing you possess. Look after it and listen when it's telling you things aren't right. It's easy to become overwhelmed and ineffective. I've found meditation one of the best ways to manage my mental health. When things get too much don't be afraid to reach out for professional help.

 

We want to thank Dave for sharing his journey with us, how inspiring!

 

Kara Martin is Project Leader with Seed, lecturer with Mary Andrews College, author of Workship: how to use your work to worship God.

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