Pep talk for those who freak out [entrepreneurship]
Becoming my own boss probably was the scariest thing I ever did so far. In fact, fear is so omnipresent that in the end, I hardly even pay attention to it any longer.
Once in a while, though, I experience moments of panic that can either last a few seconds or several hours. This generally happens on the days when I do my bookkeeping, those when I speak to my accountant, those when my accountant sends me my records and those when I ate all the chocolate there was in the house.
All of sudden, this ugly question strikes:
“What if this was all a huge mistake?”
And I know already that this question will come up regularly as I keep going. All my fellow entrepreneurs agree on this : when you build a business of your own, nothing is ever final, everything is always yet to be achieved.
You might have experienced this kind of existential crisis yourself. If not, you probably will at some point, I’ts very natural. When this time comes, you will have 3 choices:
a. Breath in and out of a brown paper bag, as you’d do in any good American sitcom (like that time when Sandy, who was pregnant with Josh’s baby, realized she was madly in love with Tommy: her BFF, who happens to be gay)
b. Sit quietly, waiting for death
c. Read this article in order to regain your so vital motivation
Why would you ask yourself such questions, to begin with?
To me, whenever one asks “What if this was all a huge mistake?” it seems like the mistake is already on. About this, I have two observations:
a. You can always go back. This is what’s great about living a life where nothing’s ever final: well nothing really ever is. In a way or another. Let’s say you are married to entrepreneurship. Well, you can divorce if you ever realize you are not suited for it, or if the sparkle’s not here any more. Kiss entrepreneurship goodbye and whish it a life of happiness with someone that will be willing to cope with its unfaithfulness and snoring. It is ok to have a change of heart, and I believe that we are allowed a bucket of those, in life.
b. Keep going. The only way for you to find out whether this all was or was not a huge mistake is to give this a chance. So hang in there and stop asking yourself questions you cannot possibly answer in the middle of the night when the rest of the world is asleep (I tend to freak out around 3 a.m).
Was this really a huge mistake?
Well, it was.
Yes, becoming an entrepreneur was foolish, as well as having children, getting married, and buying a house you will spend the rest of your life paying for. If you start to think this way, you’ll soon realize that life is a global ginormous mistake. Knowing this, I guess we have nothing but 2 choices:
a. Wrap ourselves in a big duvet and wait for death
b. Keep reading this article, for further motivational thoughts
Congratulations: this is important!
Panicking and wondering if we are making a mistake show that what we are doing actually matters.
Let’s put it this way: did you ever freak out about testing a new brand of toilet paper or about brushing your teeth with herbal toothpaste instead of your usual mint toothpaste? Maybe not.
As I noticed in many occasions in my life, we tend to torture ourselves with zillions of questions for things that are big.
Shaping your dream career, following your guts, taking risks: this is huge!
We’ve chosen the highway rather than country roads. Wondering if this was a mistake means we worry about the outcome. But, to me, choosing to build our own business was not so much about the outcome as it was about the extraordinary journey we would experience and that would lead us there (whatever “there” means).
So let’s enjoy the ride and how good the wind feels in our crazy hair!
The more you think, the worst you think
I’m sorry to say so, but I think that the more you try to rationally observe your current situation, the less you are able to think clearly: you might think about the wages you would be perceiving if you had a “real job”. You might wonder why you left a promising career to start all over again. Well, when you are freaking out, you actually are thinking way to much.
Entrepreneurship means that at some point, you chose to live your dream. Dreams and rational thinking hardly fit together.
And about the wages you would be earning right now if you had a “real job” or if you had went on with your former career : I do not believe you. I know that in lean times, every other possible professional situation will seem glistening and promising.
But would you go back there? Would you?
At some point in your life, risking everything and challenging all your standards seemed more appealing to you than staying where you were : well that, my friends, says it all.
Things that cannot be explained or predicted are the best!
A dream is impalpable, and that’s part of what’s beautiful about it.
Impalpable is everything you took the plunge for, in the first place: you had a vision for yourself and for the world you live in. You had strong values you wanted to share. You wanted to make a difference. Ant that is so not a mistake!
Impalpable means we somewhat cannot explain it, nor prove it: to set things straight about the dream, we have to live it, and see what comes out of it.
And as it turns out, you happen to have given yourself the opportunity to live the dream. Nobody said it was easy; but I’m telling you : it’s outstanding!
A dream is not something to be thought about: it is something to be dreamt about. So reduce the thinking, increase the dreaming: and your glow will be set fair.
(plus: you may be poor now, but remember, nothing’s final in this life. Not even your current shitty financial situation).
Who cares if it is a mistake? It is YOUR mistake!
Think about what you have already accomplished. The people you’ve helped, the things you have changed, what you have learnt. And how, maybe, you have those funny butterflies in your stomach, just thinking about it.
When I think about the past 3 years: I see the people, the moments, the laughs. I remember their beaming faces as they discovered precious and powerful things about themselves. I imagine them going back to work after our trainings and be more motivated and confident than ever. Without my huge mistake, none of it would have existed: for each individual I shared my craft with, my huge mistake was unquestionably worth it!
I love my huge mistake! Not only because it is mine, but also because it spreads the good.
Hang on to the sparkle!
Yeah: the one that shines in your eyes when you are doing what you do; when you are telling people about it. You built everything on that sparkle. This crazy happy people sparkle that lead you to create a life you dreamt of.
AND, as long as this sparkle will keep you doing what you do, you’ll be contributing to the decrease of unemployment rates: the world should thank you for that.
Since you chose to read this article instead of sitting quietly and wait for death, go for it! Make it happen, keep the sparkle alive: meet people, tell about what you do, present your services/products, ask questions, write about it!
At the end of the day, it won’t matter whether we made a huge mistake. Or whether people do not quite see where we are going with it. The question really is not whether this was stupid (it probably was, in a way), but that it is good (for yourself and for as many people as possible)
I dedicate this article to a sweet friend of mine, who is becoming her own boss in 2016. Two days ago, she told me:
“I’m shitting my pants, but I’m soooo happy and excited!”
Yeah. That’s the spirit. You go girl! Long live the crazy freaking out idealists! (aka. entrepreneurs)
[This article was originally published in French on my personal blog Marie Grain de Sel]
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