Entrepreneurship – until you’ve tried it, it is difficult to describe. When you talk about it it has all the resemblances of a nice neat little box: idea, prototype, tests, clients, funding, growth, etc. But when you are in it you really get to know yourself – what you are good at, not good at, what you need help with. You might discover that you’re best at taking instructions and thus don’t fit into the assumed heroic “leader of a company” narrative.
Entrepreneurship is about deciding whose story you live… Yours? Someone else’s? A role model? A dream? And if it is someone else’s, are you living only their successes or the real story? Because the real story of entrepreneurs makes for uncomfortable reading. It is a story of ups and downs, of pretending to be in control when inside you are panicking. It is a story of hoping all works out when rational signs tell you otherwise. It is Shakespeare telling you that somehow, magically, at the very last minute, if you’ve done your bit, it all just falls into place… or maybe not. It is about accepting that failure is a part of it.
Edison is famously to have said that he didn’t fail 10.000 times in his quest – he just found 10.000 ways that don”t work. That is a beautiful and amusing story but it doesn’t truly tell you the emotional pain Edison went through. The endless flirtations with wanting to give up.
Entrepreneurship is often said to be a very individual journey. It is and it isn’t. It isn’t in that you are constantly bouncing against role models, case studies, other people’s experiences and customer feedback. It is because each of us will have a very unique interpretation of all the stimuli. Complicating this is that each of our journeys is ever so different because our destination/dreams/ambitions are so different. Some of us pack lightly for a bus journey knowing there’s a safe home not far away – and some of us are packing for a life long journey – somewhere with a clear destination, be it improving people’s lives, revolutioning transport, etc. But one of hte biggest vacuums in my listenings to entrepreneurs is that entrepreneurship is 80% the journey and 20% about the destination. .. 20% because the destination – for the majority of us – is a constantly changing goal post: as you get closer your standards and expectations will change. But if you enjoy the journey: if you embark on your entrepreneurial (ad)venture because of your passion for life, because of your curiosity to learn, to discover, to re-invent, to learn how to pick yourself up from the floor – if that’s why you are an entrepreneur – then you really posses the entrepreneurial attitude.
Entrepreneurship is neither a job or a title. Entrepreneurship is an attitude. Do you have the entrepreneurial attitude? Are you ready to become the difference you’ve always dreamed of making? The future is yours to shape.