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“My Co-Founder Left. I Felt This Was My Biggest Failure.”

Resilience: the ability to recover quickly from difficulties.

What difficulty or failure have you experienced in the recent past?

Sheryl Sandberg wrote an entire book on resilience (which I haven’t yet read because #uglycry).

I love the idea that when something doesn’t go as planned there’s a way through and forward. It puts us humans in the driver’s seat when other things are completely out of our control.

Resilience plays a key role in our work.

If we want to do work that makes a difference in the world, we have to be resilient. We have to be ready to fail.

And if we’re not ready, we have to learn to be.

This week I’m so excited to interview Dannie Hetz, Founder & CEO of Superr.

Dannie Hetz by Jason Roman

Dannie and I talk about how to change the stories we tell ourselves so we can arm ourselves against fear of failure. Dannie also shares how to pick yourself up in moments when you’re ready to quit. (We’ve all been there!)

If you’ve ever experienced any sort of failure or difficulty, I strongly encourage you to read this interview.

Meet Dannie and learn how she turned her failures to successes. 

Give us some background. Where are you from, and where did you start out?

I was born and raised in Israel. I’m currently splitting my time between Tel Aviv and New York City.

I started out on the creative side, copy writing at a startup and helping them ideate. I was always tech savvy, although I don’t write code – yet.

What is your mission, the work you want to do?

My mission is to highlight and celebrate talented people who are really good at what they do and are passionate about their work.

My company Superr is how I bring this mission to life.

We recently released the first version of the Superr app, where clients can endorse, discover and book top service professionals in NYC. We start with wellness and creative professions such as personal trainers and makeup artists and will add more services as we grow.

You can download the Superr app on iOS and Android devices.

Can you recall the experiences that led you to your mission?

As I started working with independent service professionals, I started to see them as these superheroes who improve our lives immensely but rarely get the recognition they deserve.

For example, my personal trainer makes me stronger, my life coach makes me calmer, my beautician brings out my confidence, and my best friend who’s an amazing photographer has the ability to stop time and capture moments in the most unique way.

I wanted to fix this problem and make brave, self-made professionals, more visible.

What challenges did you face along the way, and how did you overcome these challenges?

I started my company 5 years ago so there were a lot of challenges including learning how to build a team, get funding, develop the right app for our target audience, open legal entities in two different continents…

Having a clear goal and vision helped in overcoming these challenges.

Can you share a time you failed? How did you move past it and continue forward as a mission-driven founder?

Three years ago when my co-founder left, I wanted to close the company. I felt this was my biggest failure.

I called my mom and she told me (not asked, but told) that when the company turns 5 years old I can quit. So I took another day to think about everything and remembered why I started this in the first place: to make top independent service professionals visible to clients who are looking for them.

Having a strong support system was what I needed in that moment and luckily my parents were there to listen and give me the advice I needed to hear.

I truly believe in what I do. I believe it will make people’s lives better. With time others started seeing the potential of my product, which helped me continue the work and get through each hurdle.

What is your definition of resilience? How does resilience play a role in your work?

Resilience to me is the ability to keep going while knowing that failing is part of the process, and learning to overcome the failures.

Part of that learning process is knowing that failure is a perception. We get to choose to see it as a failure, a success or something in between.

How can we see success in failure? There’s a true opportunity in everything.

When my co-founder left I told myself this was the end – how did I manage to make another person leave? And does this mean people just don’t like working with me? What will investors think of me? “Here’s that woman who can’t stay with a co-founder for more than a year”

It took me one week to change that story in my head.

When people ask me now why I don’t have a co-founder or if I’ve thought of having one, my answer is: I had co-founders and learned that I work better as a solo founder. Today I have team members, and they’ve been working with me for over 4 years.

At Work Bigger, one of our goals is to build creativity among readers and community members. We know this is a key skill required to thrive in the future of work. Can you share your definition of creativity?

Looking where no one else looks and breaking patterns is my definition of creativity. Always ask yourself why you’re doing something in a specific way and think if there’s another way worth trying.

Real creativity comes from strong inner authenticity because when you listen to yourself you can screen out all other noises and find your unique way of doing things.

When are you most creative?

My inspiration comes from life.

I like surrounding myself with people who challenge me and that’s how I learn to hear my voice. I’m also an introvert so my creative thinking often happens when I’m alone. It can happen three minutes before I fall asleep, in the shower or when I’m reading.

Can you share a time when used creativity to solve a problem?

A few weeks ago I was feeling stuck at work.

I started an “Inspiration Monday” routine with my team, where each team member shares one inspirational thought they had about what we’re working on, our future, or something new they learned the week before.

This process has proved itself big-time. I’m no longer “trapped” in my own head since there’s an ongoing brainstorming that’s happening every week and everyone is included in the process.

What advice do you have for 20 to 30-somethings who want to make an impact through their work but are currently feeling stuck?

Take your time to get to know yourself, what inspires you and what you’re most passionate about.

If you don’t know try different things until you find your way. Exploring all your different career paths might sound like a “bad plan” but sometimes it’s the only way to truly find what it is you love.

To make an impact, you have to deeply believe in what you do. So focus on finding what that is and go from there.

To learn more about Dannie Hetz and Superr follow her on Twitter.

And now we want to hear from you. What is your definition of resilience? Is there a story you tell yourself around failure that could be holding you back? What’s one thing you can do today to build your resilience? Comment below. 

Belma McCaffrey

Author Belma McCaffrey

More posts by Belma McCaffrey

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