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At first, it was exhilarating, and I shared the news with confidence: “I’m leaving Champlain to start a business”. It felt good to say and my commitment to my plan didn’t waiver despite just about everyone expressing concerned approximations of “Are you sure?”.

I was certain it was a good idea to leave Champlain College and make my own way - what I started to doubt was what the hell I was going to do once I left. Sure, I had a logo and I had come up with an idea for a product: a website that displayed videos of failure and videos of success side by side, labeled Growing and Flowing. I wanted to celebrate both in the same place, providing entertainment and education, and encouraging people to connect and learn together - no doubt inspired by my friend Eric who was starting a company called Menti to create a digital mentor network.

But I had no technical skills. And no one had ever said they wanted anything like this. As I thought it through, I realized it was an enormous task that I was not well equipped for. The exhilaration gave way to anxiety. If I wanted to create something that would markedly improve people’s lives I’d have to figure out what it was they actually needed, rather than just trying to imagine the problem and the solution all on my own. Also, I’d have to find something that I personally could deliver. So, as summer approached and reality sped towards me at a frightening speed, I looked back at what I had already built: a club I started at Champlain called “Do You”.

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