When we started Moravian, almost everyone we knew told us that working with your best friends is a bad idea. We heard many horror stories of business partners breaking trust, stealing money, arguing, and ruining their friendship over business decisions. We knew it would be a challenge balancing our roles as friends and as new business partners. After all the bad news we heard, we set a goal to prove everyone wrong. Here is an honest story that happened recently to illustrate why working with your besties is worth it.
Around September of 2021, I (Joel) was not doing so great. As a go-getter entrupenueral type, it is easy for me to have a ton of ideas and to be passionate about those ideas. I learned quickly that ideas cost money and that my business partners are more calculated than I am. After getting so many ideas shut down due to my lack of planning, I went into a funk. I questioned the purpose of even trying to use my imagination to advance the business. It bothered me so much that I even started having dreams about dragons and blue whales, which symbolically usually mean suppressed desires, something out of control, or chaos. Since I did not want to confront the problem with Carson and Trent, it began to eat me alive. I became unmotivated and sloppy at work. I was making more mistakes and I tried to be around Carson and Trent as little as possible.
Inevitably, the problems that I was having in Moravian started to bleed over into our friendship. I became annoyed quicker, more snappy, and less vulnerable with them as I tried to distance my heart from them. I knew this was a problem, but at the time, I did not dare to go against those two. So I tried to get away and out of Texas to clear my mind. My friend Jun-Ho and I went to New York to enjoy NYC and experience the city. While I was there, Carson, Trent, and I had a conflict about money that pissed off the whole team. We agreed not to talk about this problem over text and wait till we could meet in person to discuss the problem.
When it was time for our confrontation, I was pretty angry with Carson and Trent. I remember building cases in my head against them. I even responded to questions they may or may not ask in my head, making them my enemy. When I got to Moravian, I was ready to go. I stated my case, but as I heard Carson and Trent's perspective, I quickly realized they were not the problem, but I was the problem. When I heard their side, they brought up times when I left early, made mistakes, and became less productive. It was very painful to hear. In tears, I realized my lack of vulnerability caused all my problems. I repented and asked them for their forgiveness as I stated how sorry I was for being a terrible friend and business partner. They forgave me instantly and I instantly felt like we were a team once again.
What makes a good team is trust. When we are afraid of rejection, fear will rule our minds and we will function as individuals and not think about how our actions affect other people. We become self-centered to protect ourselves by creating work environments that do not produce new ideas, are hostile to openness, and inevitably creating a place no one wants to be. I realized through doing conflict well with Carson and Trent, “wounds from a friend can be trusted”. (Pro 27:6). I trust that Carson and Trent have my best interest in mind because I know they have mine. Without years of friendship, something like what we experienced would make or break a company. I believe in working with your best friends and sharing your problems with your team is very important. Without allowing ourselves to be seen we are doomed to failure. I now think that doing business with your friends is the only way to do business.