“All humans are entrepreneurs not because they should start companies but because the will to create is encoded in human DNA.” – Reid Hoffman, co-founder of LinkedIn.
If you are itching to create something and share it with the world, you must be thinking about the product and possible funding. While those are crucial, we often ignore that we need to work on ourselves, the mindset, learn, and improve how we operate – the product, YOU. To start, ask yourself these three questions – WHY, WHAT, and HOW.
Why do you want to do this? Some of the answers I heard before are:
“Everyone else I know is doing it.”
“I want to get into the game sooner so I don’t waste time.”
“It will look good in my resume.”
“It gives me great joy to make something out of nothing.”
“I have an idea to help people do x; I am itching to try this out.”
“I will learn through the process.”
Some of the drivers are external, and some are internal. As you list yours, see where they come from. What happens when your drivers are mostly external? An entrepreneurial journey is for the long haul; things will get hard eventually, so unless you have a healthy amount of internal motivation, you won’t be able to sustain it long. What will help you shift some of the external reasons to align with your internal drivers?
Let’s do a time travel. Sit back in your chair, close your eyes, take a couple of deep breaths. Imagine a few years from now; you meet a friend and share your entrepreneurship journey with them. What are you excited about – the project, the problem you are solving, the people, or the day-to-day activities? Write down, paint the picture as if it is happening now. What emotions are coming? Every emotion carries a piece of information. Anxiety means you need clarity; fear means something you care about is at stake. What is your feeling informing you right now? What could be a follow-up on that? The “what” is your intention. When you have a clear, authentic intention that gives you the energy inside, it will guide your attention, your focus and then lead to the ultimate manifestation.
How Do You Tilt?
We all have these four major character patterns in us, though we usually tilt towards one. When we are balanced, we consciously choose the tilt based on the context. The four patterns are:
- Impact – Good with Ideas and quickly putting them into action
- Structure – Cares about precise data and efficient processes.
- Clarity – They enjoy research and investigation, connecting people and data.
- Connection – Socializing and storytelling around people invigorate them.
Which way do you mostly tilt? What could be another one to try more? In your journey, there will be times you will feel stuck. Come back to this diagram and see where you would Tilt to create some momentum. Usually, it is the opposite corner; if you are an Impact, try Clarity. If you are a Connection, try to tilt towards the Structure. (You may learn more at Tilt365.com.)
How Do You Keep Calm and Carry On
No matter how smart or balanced you are, there will be setbacks. It is an integral part of the entrepreneurial journey. Take regular care of your mind and body, create the support system and rituals to cultivate your resilience. Jha Jhang created this website called rejectiontherapy.com. It teaches you to be reliant against the rejections by going through and doing a regular practice where you make situations to experience rejections. That leads you to be “rejection proof.”
From my survey of the entrepreneurs (3-10 years), these top three things came as their practice after a setback.
- Take a break
- Talk to their support system: friends/family
- Do something physical: Walk, exercise, sleep, etc
The entrepreneurial journey is a human journey. Whether you start a company of your own or work for someone, leverage your entrepreneurial spirit as you share your creativity with the world.
This was presented at the Virginia Tech Apex Center for Entrepreneurship for the Women in Entrepreneurship Week in October 2021. The featured image is by Brooke Cagle on Unsplash