A few months back I had a rude awakening: I am an entrepreneur. This didn’t sit well with me. I didn’t identify as an entrepreneur, I still saw myself as a consultant. After the initial shock wore off, there was a conscious effort to get educated and surround myself with the people who could help. Honestly, coming to terms with this and making these adjustments made things better. Not easier, but better.
Then it happened again.
Recently I’ve come to this realization: I own a software company.
I had a consulting company that just happened to offer a really slick piece of software in it’s collection of personal growth services. Only I hadn’t billed a single consulting hour in over a year. Hmmmmm.
When I shared this insight with Scott instead of saying “Oh snap, you’re right!” he said, “Yea, of course we are. What did you think?” It was a genuine record scratch moment.
Okay. I got this. Mostly.
Before I could move ahead, I had to really take this truth in. As I did, I noticed that the paths for a successful personal growth journey and becoming an entrepreneur are very similar.
First, have a plan to achieve your vision, but know it won’t happen that way.
You need clarity on your goals and a plan. How, what, when…all of it is important preparation. It’s the basis for envisioning a path forward and yourself on it.
Cue reality. The journey is never what you imagine. Simply prepare yourself that you’re never going to fully execute that plan. Change is inevitable and its vital to reaching your goal. As you push yourself into uncharted territory there is no way you can wholly anticipate that is going to happen.
Instead: Craft a plan but set only one rock solid expectation: the plan will change. The best preparation is knowing that you don’t know what you’ll encounter so you need to adapt. When it happens, you’ll feel less like ‘OH NO!’ and more like, ‘OK, here is that change I was anticipating.’
Second, you’re going to think you can juggle everything yourself, but in truth, you’re going to need help.
Let’s set the stage: Yes, it’s your vision. Yes, you need to work insanely hard. Yes, you are going to evolve as a person. Yes, you are responsible for what happens. And, Yes, you do have a lot on the line. But, No you cannot make it happen by yourself.
Regardless of the different hats you wear or perspectives you take, you can’t be successful working in your own vacuum. You need support. That doesn’t make you weak or ill prepared for what you are trying to accomplish. It makes you human.
Instead: Recognize support comes in many forms from expertise, to accountability or simple encouragement. You need it. Practice asking for it and saying Yes when it arrives.
Third, no matter how comfortable you are with your desired goal, you will not be at ease on the journey.
I shared my entrepreneurship realization with a mentor, who said, “Are you scared yet?” Without hesitation I replied, “Petrified.” His answer: “Good, you should be. That will keep you moving forward.”
Ahhh and now I finally get that. That discomfort is actually fear and it makes us strive harder. (Ok it keeps you up at night sometimes too.) But it’s a huge advantage if you use it as a warning light and a motivator. Without it we risk complacency and then those goals get farther and farther out of reach.
Instead: When the discomfort gets formidable recognize that you’ve probably just encountered something that needs attention and remind yourself this was anticipated. Every journey has unpleasantness to deal with, not fun but, necessary. Embrace the issue and start to address it. That’s how you overcome it and move on.
Finally, you need the confidence to leverage what you know while being open to learning along the way.
We all have that “I got this” zone. It’s what gave you the courage to take up the journey. You’ll visit the zone, but you won’t spend a lot of time there. Doing what you know, the way you know, doesn’t produce new results. You have to embrace your inexperience and expect to learn as you go.
Instead: Prepare to open yourself up to new ways of thinking and behaving. Be teachable. Soak in what the wise people around you share. Not all of it will be relevant so take it all in, understand its place in what you want to achieve and keep moving forward.
It’s not a certain characteristic that makes a person a good entrepreneur or astutely self-aware. It’s a willingness to internalize what happens during the journey. The lessons, the people, the experience and the insight. All of those things combined with a crisp focus on the vision that’s what makes things possible.
Got a story about how you’re navigating the journey? We’d love to hear it! Use the Comments below or the Contact form and tell us about it.
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