Limits and Liabilities: How to use where you come from to get where you’re going – Sherry Walling – MicroConf Europe 2015 Talk Recap

The MicroConf Europe 2015 Talk Recaps can be found on the central “hub” page.

Twitter: @zenfounder

Key Points From the Talk

  • own your story
  • know your past and the weaknesses & strengths you get because of your past

Talk Recap

  • When you are the sole driver of your business, everything else matters WAY more
    • emotional well-being, enough sleep, physical fitness ALL affect your bottom line

How your past shapes your present

  • Who you are right now in this moment is an accumulation of all the past moments
  • If we don’t pay attention to the messages we received, we won’t be able to make the most out of our strengths and weaknesses
  • Abuse, neglect and household dysfunction as a child is a robust predictor of how much healthcare support you will need in your adult life
    • People with 4+ categories of “Adverse Childhood Experiences” were 2x as likely to be diagnosed with heart disease or cancer than someone with <4
    • People with 4+ ACEs were 460% more to suffer from depression
    • 6+ ACE shortened an individual’s lifespan by almost 20 years
  • We can’t change what happened in childhood, but we can change adoption of health-risk behaviors
  • The same things that can hurt us can also make us incredibly strong
  • The important thing is NOT how scary your liabilities are, the important thing is that you do NOT look the other way
  • the golden child
    • gives you a lot of confidence
    • shadow side: you might lack grit
  • the loner
    • incredible ability to trust your own ideas
    • good problem solver
    • you don’t seek permission
    • shadow side: difficult to understand your customers, lacking empathy
  • the pleaser
    • growing up in a demanding family (“You’ll be a lawyer!”)
    • able to anticipate needs & wants of others
    • shadow side: perfectionist
  • the survivor
    • great ability to protect yourself
    • good at competition, a lot of grit
    • shadow side: difficult to feel accomplishment

The past matters

  • From the founder origin stories
    • lots of adversity – but enough support to hang in there
      • use friends/masterminds to talk through tough spots
    • The need to create an original path
      • not following a script
    • intelligence, curiosity and hard work
  • Own your story
  • not owning your story
    • forcing what has never worked for you

Practical Strategies to own your own story

  • Start tonight
  • write your personal story
    • go on a retreat
    • use a free writing method
    • work with a coach or therapist
  • tell your story in your matermind group
  • write or record the origin story of your business
  • cultivate self-reflection to watch your story unfold in front you


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About Christoph

Christoph lives in Munich, Germany and is bootstrapping his own SaaS application as a part-time entrepreneur.

He likes to write on this blog about anything of relevance to single-founder bootstrapped software startups.


  1. […] Sherry Walling: „Limits and Liabilities: How to use where you come from to get where you’re going„ […]

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