Getting to Yes, And

Surbhi Sarna: Without a Doubt


Surbhi Sarna

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Kelly has a conversation with entrepreneur Surbhi Sarna who has a new book "Without a Doubt: How to Go From Underrated to Unbeatable."

You write about overcoming self-doubt. Was that a thing you were born with our that you cultivated over the years?

“I think at the beginning, instead of trying, I don't think that I had the tools initially to combat the the doubt. As you know, the tools have been built up over the years. I might have more in my back pocket now than at the beginning, when I was first feeling this doubt when I was first starting the company.  It was just that my desire to create a solution for the problem I was trying to solve was greater than the doubt I was feeling. Yeah, it just sort of overpowered it.”

I think a thing that is true for people who invent things is that they do differently because they feel differently. They feel outside of the thing they want to change.

“I couldn't agree more with that. And I was actually trying to write something related to this and I was struggling. You know that you have to be outside of the box, so you can change the box if you're in the box. It's hard to do. But out of the box is hard, man. It's hard for you as an individual, and then, in some way, you also have to like to understand the box. You have to go into it a little bit. Yeah, so it's almost like you're an outsider while being in. You're in, and you're seeing it. But you're almost a step back from it somehow. So you're able to evaluate it.”

But the upshot is that you developed a product, built a company and sold that company. You had entrepreneur's dream, right?

“Yeah, I just did not want to write a victory lap book. There's enough of those out there. I wanted to demonstrate how hard it was. You know, I wanted to demonstrate how on the outside of things I felt and how much doubt I've faced and the mistakes I made and, eventually, the tools that I learned. But I wanted to emphasize that I always felt different. It's not like I felt alpha the whole time. That's our historic view on leadership. It's the dude who's in front of the pack. No, it was me on the bench doing R. and D. with these amazing engineers, who also believed that this product would be potentially life saving. And it was hard. It was hard the whole way through.”

Photo credit: Michele Beckwith

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