“I think therefore I am”, a 17th-century philosophy of belief in one’s self, was uttered by French mathematician René Descartes. But it could very well have been said by every entrepreneur who defied the obstacle of self-doubt.
Doubt, it’s said, is the killer of entrepreneurial spirit. Today, we have several versions of this. “If you can dream it, you can do it,” from Walt Disney, is just one of many.
“When everything seems to be going against you, remember that the airplane takes off against the wind, not with it.”
– Henry Ford, founder of Ford Motor Company
Much of the conversation around being an entrepreneur centers on bringing ideas to market, like in the TV show Shark Tank. But the importance of an entrepreneurial mindset is missing from what it takes to make the business idea work.
You can be an entrepreneur at any age and at any stage of your business. But like so many business owners, frustrations and setbacks can lead to second-guessing.
If you hear yourself saying, “what was I thinking?” when the daily grind is choking your creativity, here are a few things you can do to re-boot your motivation.
- Read. Warren Buffet says he reads to learn 80% of every day because the best entrepreneurs are never content with the status quo. Always seek ways to improve problem-solving, and find inspiration in the experience and wisdom of others.
- Do. Be on a quest for smarter, faster, better ways to grow personally and professionally. An entrepreneur is always in motion. Even at rest, an entrepreneurial mind is always thinking.
- Get out of your comfort zone. Take responsibility for your future, surround yourself with the right people and a network of entrepreneurs, question everything, and be willing to pivot if it doesn’t work.
- You don’t have to change the world. You can succeed if you find a way to solve a problem or make an innovative idea valuable. You just have to believe you can build something from scratch and succeed, with passion and resilience in equal measure.
- Develop resilience. Anyone can learn to be an entrepreneur. Some personalities are a natural fit; others develop the skills and mindset through discipline and perseverance. The common thread connecting the two? Resilience. People who succeed, regardless of where or how they start, have a unique ability to bounce back. In other words, where others see problems and get stuck, entrepreneurs see opportunities and leverage.
- “Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice” Steve Jobs’ quote brings René Descartes full circle. Entrepreneurs empower themselves.
A final thought on failure and risk.
Business is not easy. Every step of the way, entrepreneurs and CEOs experience a Rubix’s Cube of challenges. But just like it’s impossible to feel the pain of a long workout before starting, it’s impossible to lean into discomfort before it happens.
If you’re a business owner who feels like you’re flying solo on a long climb without a wisdom wingman or looking for insight that will help you “quit talking and begin doing”, as Walt Disney once said, contact Robert Clinkenbeard to learn more about the benefits of entrepreneurial coaching.
“Try to solve something that’s deeply personal to you. Ideally, if you’re an ordinary person and you’ve just solved your problem, you might have solved the problem for millions of people.”
– Brian Chesky, CEO, co-founder of AirBnB
About the author: Serial entrepreneur, author, podcaster, and Ironman athlete Robert Clinkenbeard is managing partner of green industry CEO peer group organization Bruce Wilson & Co., and principal of The Radix Group, LLC., a global entrepreneurial consulting firm. He is a member of EO (Entrepreneurs’ Organization) and a member of its western region board of directors.