Not Sexy, but Vital: The 3 True Pillars of an Entrepreneurial Mindset
If you happen to be an aspiring entrepreneur, you undoubtedly dream big and fantasize about your inevitable success story. And if you asked me, I’d encourage you to continue doing so, since I’ve always believed that only a mind accurately instructed on a defined vision is also capable of ultimately leading you there.
In fact, each time you do some research on the internet, an infinite well of content on the art, skill, and science of building a prosperous business opens up in front of your eyes. Each time you visit Amazon, you can browse through the massive list of books offering advice for any daring individual who might consider entering the unpredictable land of entrepreneurship.
Besides, technology makes it possible for you to advance fast and cheap with the help of handy business apps and the vast possibilities of online communication.
During the first few years, you will test and try anything in order to develop a unique, highly valuable product, to put together an excellent team of people behind it, to find the right product-market fit, to secure funding, and in the ideal case, to preserve some mental sanity, stay healthy physically, and maintain your social life, as well.
At this point, you may start asking yourself, every now and then, if the path you have chosen for yourself is indeed the right one or quite totally wrong? What is it that actually prevents you from giving up?
After eight years of being an entrepreneur myself, training and coaching hundreds of entrepreneurs, and finding good friends among them, I’ve identified three pillars that keep them going despite all the doubters, all the hardships, all the fears.
Yes, they are not very sexy. Yes, they sound somewhat boring at first sight. But they are at the core of the mindset of each entrepreneur committed to creating value for other people.
For me personally, this has been the hardest lesson to learn. I remember that for the first three years of running my own business, I would not even read a book if it was not professional non-fiction. I would sit by the computer from waking up until going to bed. If something hadn’t worked, I would take it more than personally, I would be crushed, I would put everything else aside to fix that. Often at the expense of other essential parts of my life, including my mental wellbeing.
Slowly, I have trained myself in calm tenacity and diligent time management, which have allowed me to:
a) maintain the continual improvement of whatever I’m building without the necessity to work 24/7,
b) free myself from the eternal pressure of not doing enough.
This new skill has helped me tremendously in all areas of my life. When I’m passionate about something, I tend to get extremely impatient. I want it now and I want it perfect. That’s a part of my nature and it caused me all kinds of needless frustrations in the past.
So, yes, being patient is a conscious effort, requiring a strong-willed character – reminding yourself perpetually that things take time – but imperative if you don’t want to spend your life ticking off tasks.
There’s always something more to do. You will never ever, ever, ever, be able to finish that infinite to-do list. It’s like the mythical Hydra. Once you are able to cut off one of her heads, two others grow in its place.
Being patient also allows entrepreneurs to preserve energy, cultivate creativity, and identify what’s truly worth their time.
The union of patience and perseverance enables a person to overcome all kinds of challenges they may face within their lifetime.
The former allows you to mindfully accept unfavorable or tough situations. The latter keeps you going in spite of repeated failure and no guarantee of success.
What makes entrepreneurs persevere is their faith in the value they deliver.
The promise of success is seductive. But it is not enough. One can succeed by taking different roads and there will always be that slightly obnoxious voice in your head inquiring, “Am I using my time, money, and skills in the best possible way?”
“Shouldn’t I give up before it’s too late?” “Is this the right choice I’m making?”
These questions are not easy to answer. On the other hand, if you ask yourself, plainly and honestly, “Is there a value for other people in what I’m building?,” you are getting much closer to understanding what your purpose is.
Purpose is a big word. Perhaps too big for us to even pay any closer attention to it. Why would we care about searching for the reason we exist when all that seems to matter is to hustle, build stuff, and, most vitally, make money?
Just like patience and perseverance, however, purpose is associated with value. Not only the value we create for others, but our own value as human beings, which we need to understand and respect. Our place on Earth.
Purpose gives meaning to our decisions, to our actions. When we are capable of defining our purpose, our knowledge, experience, and skills help us achieve exactly what we need and what we want without wasting energy and time.
Energy is at the core of not only our business performance but also our health, our creativity, and the dynamics of our relationships.
Time is absolutely limited. Leaving aside all the clichés, you simply have one shot to make your life story worth telling.
Every hour, every minute, every second that you spend on doing something that doesn’t bring you closer to what you really want out of your life is gone forever. Gone, though not always wasted, to be completely fair. There are still scores of things you can do that may look as if they are not connected to anything you’re trying to achieve. But they often help your body and mind grow and thrive.
This brings us back to money and the definition of success. If my numbers look great, my product is in demand, and I contribute to improving the lives of other people, it feels magnificent. And money in itself equals freedom.
However, if you’d not yet identified your purpose, you might always feel that there’s something missing, that you keep running through life without ever being fully satisfied.
An entrepreneur is patient in order to tolerate obstacles and bear pain without needless suffering. An entrepreneur perseveres through the ups and downs of their journey because they know that easy roads rarely lead to the best results. And finally, an entrepreneur holds on to the belief that their purpose in life is to create a lasting value of some kind.