So, after all of that, how would I have done things differently in my specific situation?

It’s simple, I should have stayed at my day job and done the startup on the side. If thats too hard, I’m not ready to start a company. It’s one thing to build an app from scratch, another to start a company from nothing.

In addition, my startup at the time just wasn’t ready to pursue full time. So if I remained at my day job and it grew in revenue, great. If it died, as it did, no worries. If the other founders had unmet expectations and left, no worries. Even though my current work situation was not ideal, I should have stayed longer. There were many good things about it that I ignored. I could have pursued other career paths while still having income to pay the bills.

In addition, more thought was needed for a cohesive company vision. The idea was not concrete enough. This would have helped picking cofounders that fit the vision well. People who believe in a common vision are more likely to have good or bad expectations aligned. Choosing cofounders that simply work well together is not enough.

Also, I had a real problem saying no. I said yes to too many things. Tried to do too much at once. Learning to say no is key to making abstract ideas and the company vision real. By saying no to things outside the vision actually helps that vision become more real.

All this being said, a big thing I was overcoming at that time was the fear to totally go for it. If I never gave it all my time, I felt I would never know for sure if it could have worked. In hindsight this was a silly thing to fear. If a thing is coming together, there will be more momentum, and importantly, money, to pull you away from your day job.

So in the end, I ruined my professional life not because trusting people, following your passion, quitting your day job, or trusting God are wrong, but because I did them all poorly.

The good thing is my life isn’t really ruined, there are more professional opportunities around every corner, and I learned a shit-ton from the whole ordeal. So go ahead, do what I did and ruin your life and fail. Failure really isn’t so bad, its the best way to know who you really are. Even better though, would be to learn from people like me and pursue your dreams in a better way. Failure is insightful, but we still want to find success.

All these things said, I don't know how this will end up. I'm still looking at other opportunities, still growing, still figuring it out, but I'm ok with that now. The important thing is I no longer fear failure like I once did. I'm free to fail again, and wiser to find success more quickly. I suppose those dots just might connect after all.