There is an absolute essential principle every entrepreneur must adopt. If they don’t, they’ll fail.
I’ll share that little nugget with you, plus give you a link to something worth listening to which describes the life of an entrepreneur quite well.
First, let me invest in a few sentences to set the scene.
Its 2005 and I’m in Nashville for a week, sitting in a room full of serious songwriters at a writer’s camp which was put on by the top songwriting organization in the country.
At the front of the room are hit writers whose tunes were on every station program directors playlist across the country at one time or another. And … There I was, a corn-fed, do-it-yourself musician from the Midwest expecting these folks to take time to show me how to write songs.
Granted, I was in a room full of peers who were looking for the same information, and the instructors were getting paid handsomely to teach, but that’s not how I felt sitting there. It was pretty intimidating. I wondered if my music and I even belonged there.
Opening the week’s event, one instructor walked up to the front of the room, put his foot up on a chair, leaned on his forearm resting across his perched knee, looked at all the people sitting there anticipating his words, and said:
“There’s one thing you need to know about your music. There will be times when you are the only one who will believe in it. Publishers, industry pros, … No one else will get it. You will be left alone with your music, but, if you don’t believe in it? No one else ever will, and it won’t go anywhere!”
What he said really stood out to me. First of all, it was addressing the doubt I was feeling sitting in the front row. Secondly, I realized that principle is huge for any entrepreneurial endeavor we chase.
We often hear the romantic side of working for yourself. And it is true; there is that side of it. I have the good fortune of working with my sweetie each and every work day. We don’t have to ask permission from anyone to have an extra cup of coffee in the morning, to take an extra-long lunch, to run personal errands as long as we’re out and about, or to say, “You know what? Let’s skip work today and go play a bit.”
Ever been in a job where you only get so many days off, sick or not, and if you surpass it, you’re fired? I don’t worry about it. As I type this I was scheduled to be a work, but my wife and I are a bit sick, so we stayed home. No calling anyone, no pretending to sound sicker than you are on the phone so the boss doesn’t raise a judgmental eyebrow.
Those decisions don’t require much belief though do they? They are rewards.
There is however, another side to the time card. When it comes to problems at work and there seems to be no solution, and I’m in a real pinch, there ain’t a boss to hang the problem onto while I go home for the night either. There are times when it’s literally midnight and creative solutions need to be made, and there is no one there to say it will work or it won’t. It’s my call, and I had better believe in it.
There are times when you must believe what you are doing is right, watch for evidence of that, and where things need to be adjusted, adjust them and move on.
In other words, one has to have the confidence and strength to get through the tough times, or just like that songwriter said, if you don’t believe in it, it all stops right there.
Plus, like anyone, I make wrong decisions. Do you think that has an effect on the next time I’m forced to make a call on something? It can if I let it, but it’s a good idea to adopt the notion that tomorrow starts a new day, the slate is clean, and any mistakes we’ve made is strictly for purposes of learning, not creating debilitating fear in the decision at hand. The past does not have to equal the future.
So, if you are contemplating entrepreneurship or just now entering it and are having some doubts, first know that we all experience frustration and overwhelm. There are times I wonder why I just don’t go get a job and work for someone else so I can come home at 5:00 p.m. and leave the day’s worries behind me. There are times of vehicle breakdowns, overbooking my time, unforeseen snags cropping up, and we better not leave out technical problems like a computer crashing.
But, I can look back on past challenges where it appeared there was no way through it without loss, and see somehow we made it through. And not only did we make it through, but confidence gets a boost in the process. Once again, I’m so glad to be a free spirited entrepreneur, and really, I could do it no other way. I believe in what I am doing.
A 9-to-5 person asked an entrepreneur, “How can you go to work and not know how much money you are going to make that day?”
To which the entrepreneur said, “How can you go to work every day knowing the most you can possibly make that day?”
For us entrepreneurs it is the freedom, the challenge, the unknown that is thrilling. It’s a strange balance of taking risk and realizing our potential. Without the belief in our ideas or plans however, especially in the rough and challenging times, we will fold. Give yourself some credit, realize you’ll make mistakes. It’s not that we’ve made them that matters, it’s what we do with them. It’s about not letting our confidence be shaken, but to forge ahead because we know what we want in life.
I don’t know if you ever heard the below monologue. I believe it is meant for high-school or college graduates, but if you listen to the words it clearly defines the life of the entrepreneur. I listen to it every so often. I love it. There is so much truth to it.
Have a listen to, Oh The Places You’ll Go.
Live like you’ll never get hurt, dream like nobody is watching, and above all… Try-try-try until you succeed!