Do You Have What It Takes To Be An Entrepreneur – Really?
You like the idea of being an entrepreneur but are you really prepared to be an entrepreneur? Think what an Olympian goes through to win a gold medal. Are you prepared to make the sacrifices, pay the blood, sweat and tears and overcome all the obstacles and challenges life throws at you to achieve what you want?
Being an entrepreneur means accepting that life isn’t easy and you are always going to be straddling the paths of success and failure. Can you cope with the highs and lows, the good times and the bad times and still stick the course? Are you able to accept the only certainty you have is that there is no certainty and things are always going to change?
Are you resilient enough to fail, fail and fail again but still keep going because you know that being a successful entrepreneur means that you are going to fail more than you are going to win?
It is entirely natural for us to want to avoid things that are hard and painful and just want the easy pleasures in life. Chocolate cake and a warm fire is always going to be more tempting that a ten mile run on the cold, rainy day. Logically we know the run is better for us so why would we not choose to do that and instead choose something that is bad for us? Willpower?
It’s more than willpower. Lack of willpower is a rubbish excuse for not getting things done. The truth is if you don’t want to do something then you will just find a way to avoid doing it. In the battle of pleasure vs pain, pleasure will always win. You will only ever do something and stick it during the hard times if you really want it. The payoff for doing the ‘painful’ thing has to bring more pleasure than pain for you to persevere, otherwise you won’t do it. Willpower really has nothing to do with it. It’s really all about what you want the most. So forget willpower and start focusing on vision.
Have a vision for your future that is so big and so compelling that it’s more appealing to work on it than it is not to work on it. Make your vision so amazing that every time you’re not involved with some activity relating to it, you’re wishing you were. It has to be the last thing you think about before you go to sleep, the thing you dream about and the first thing you think about when you wake up in the morning. You must have such a desire and passion for it that even if you won the lotto, you would still want to do this because it gives you purpose and joy.
Getting your business up, running and making a profit is a slog, but if it feels like a slog you’ll never achieve success. Yes it’s hard, but it also has to be fun and exciting. If it is causing you more pain than pleasure, you won’t see it through. Always center your focus on your vision. Accept the painful points are a normal part of the process you need to go through to achieve your vision and not some awful punishment. Work your way through the hard times knowing that it is bringing you closer to your destination.
Next, you must surround yourself with positive influencers. People love seeing someone fail. It makes them feel better about themselves. Sad but true. When you become a successful entrepreneur you will have something they don’t have, whether that’s money or esteem. People are jealous and they don’t want to feel inferior so will deliberately or sub-consciously try and sabotage you with phrases such as ‘I don’t think that’s going to work?’ or ‘Aw well you gave it a go’ or ‘better to quit now before you’re in too deep’. Well meaning or otherwise, they’re all urging you to give up. You must have utter conviction and believe in yourself and your ability to succeed and not allow fear and self-doubt set up home in your head. You cannot allow their negativity to infect your thoughts.
You need the support of other great entrepreneurs and thinkers to keep you on the right track. Don’t know any, then borrow some from the library. You need to see their struggles to know that whatever challenges you face along the way, they are just a normal part of the process and not reasons to give up. Benefit from the experience and wisdom of people like Benjamin Franklin, Napoleon, Maya Angelou and Steve Jobs. See how they faced adversity but kept going as their desire for success was greater than their desire to give up and settle for what everyone else has. Borrow their strength whilst you grow yours and banish negativity from your thinking.
Learn to be in total control of your emotions. Understand that you are the one who chooses how you respond to situations. No-one else can make you do or feel anything. The decision how to respond to a situation is a decision you make. Business will require you to make calm, level-headed, well thought-out decisions. If you respond emotionally to every bump in the road you will set yourself up for failure by make rash, impulsive decisions. Not only that, you will be exhausted! Business is challenging and if you treat every problem like some sort of ordeal you will waste so much valuable energy despairing and not fixing.
Expect problems to arise. You will make mistakes or situations beyond your control will impact on your plans. This is normal. You have to treat them in the same way as you would adding a new blog post to your website or completing your weekly accounts. It’s a normal, routine part of your business, not the end of the world. When problems arise, and they will, you need to understand the problem and formulate a plan of action to fix it. The calmer you can do that, the more logical you will be and the quicker you will solve it. If you take it personally and start dwelling in self-pity ‘why me?’, ‘it’s not fair’, ‘everytime I make progress something bad happens’ mindset then your ability to actually solve the problem and move on will be impaired.
The most important asset your business has is you. You have to learn to take care of yourself for the sake of your business which means going to the gym, meditating, taking a walk, being physically active. Exercise is so vital to ensuring you keep your mind sharp and your thoughts fresh. It also gives you that time away from your desk for you to contemplate your current state of affairs, revise strategies, think of new ideas and to get your emotions in check so you are making wise decisions and not responding with panic, anger or frustration when things don’t work out as planned. You need that time. It is essential. Take it.
Remember, your results depend on your ability to withstand all the tests your journey will throw at you, to respond to your ever changing environment in a calm and logical way and to see the opportunity in every crisis. Are you up to it?