Life is hard…and that’s OK

Christian Hernandez
4 min readJun 23, 2024


In a call with an entrepreneur this week he commented that his favourite blog post of mine had been the one about male frienships and vulnerabilities which made me realise that this subject carries a lot of emotional weight (and need for discussion).

So making myself vulnerable again… let’s go:

My former boss — and honestly the best boss I ever had - Mo Gawdat recently published a book called Unstressable. In it he talks about our social addiction to stress… and the need to “perform” for social acceptance.

His words sat deeply with me. He used the word “shame” to describe what creates anxiety for many. Shame not to be a present father, shame to not have delivered what you thought you would financially for your family, shame to not be whatever you thought you would (or assumed others assumed you would) be by whatever age, shame to not be able to open up emtionally. Shame is a heavy word…

And that word has hung heavily with me as of late. I am, on the face of it, highly successful. Entrepreneurs ask for my time. I get to sit at tables that I never thought I would ever have earned the right to join. I have a stunning wife and brilliant kids. I should feel exalted not shameful…

And yet, even at almost 50 so much of the persona that I am seems like a play action for others. So much feels like a performance artist because of what I assume I am expected to play publicly. That amazing speech at The House of Lords, that running home to make it for the school concert, that passionate pitch of why an endowment should invest into 2150 is all, at the end of the day, a performance.

It turns out I have been a “performer” all of my life.. the above is me, age 4 serenading my parents and friends. I likely got a standing ovation, I probably got a look of approval, I was likely late for bed…

Performance for an extrovert (or supposed extrovert) like me is enthusing, dopamine generating, exciting…. but it is also so draining, It takes effort and energy to alway try to be “on stage.” It also creates a false narrative which you need to keep up — all the time all of the time.

In the last year I have started to talk to myself (yes that is harder than it sounds) about this need to perform, this need to always be the star, the need to always play the part that all is well and nothing is wrong.

That’s why I have these Russian dolls in my office… a reminder that I need to unwrap the layers… and the realisation that these layers have never been exposed to the real world… and that the exposure is going to hurt.

Origami zoo courtesy of my son

I do not know why women (or at least my woman) are so much better about finding the right space in their head and the ability to speak to themselves. I don’t know why the notion of men discussing mental health with each other is so shunned upon. I don’t know why the social perception of masculinity assumes that we just perform and try to play the part and show that all is fine.

All is not fine… and that’s OK. That argument with your daughter about the length of her skirt, that fight with your wife about something that seemed so big at the moment, that hard conversation at work with a CEO struggling, the tense conversation with a colleague, the hard realisation that your parents are getting older and they need your help. It is all hard. And that’s OK….

I was telling a younger team member recently that VC is a hard emotionally draining job without the training. Therapists and psychologists get training to distance themselves from the emotionally draining sessions that they have back to back to back. VCs do not… we carry the emotional load of every single founder, of our team who want to learn with and from you and from your investors (oh yeah and kids, partners, life). It is a heavy emotional load… and that’s OK….

So here is the point of this post… raising a hand and saying “it’s not OK” is OK. I have been shit at this for the last 48 years of my life and have just started to unlock those russian dolls in the last 2 years. It sucks, it’s hard, but it’s liberating.

It’s a Sunday morning, the sun is shining at the week ahead will be hard. And that’s OK…



Christian Hernandez

Partner at @2150-vc backing technologies that make our world more resilient and sustainable. Salvadoran-born Londoner. YGL of the @wef Father ^3