How My Parents’ Phone Call Changed the Way I Think About Entrepreneurship
And restored my lost grip on reality
Sometimes you can become so focused on reaching a destination that you take the path for granted without even realizing it. As a woman entrepreneur and and co-founder of a startup, I was reminded — no, jolted — to this epiphany recently, resulting in a resetting of my mindset.
It all happened, quite unexpectedly, during a call from my parents while hopping from business trip to business trip. The short story is that the interaction left me thinking differently about this thing called entrepreneurship, as well as having to remind myself of who I am and what I am about.
Having been on the path of entrepreneurship for several years, my main goal has always been to head a successful company. And while I am still a long way from achieving that feat, I have committed a lot of time and energy to continue learning and practicing every day to get better at what I do.
At the same time, I have seen other entrepreneurs fall by the wayside, some having to start from scratch and others giving up all together. This awareness of possible doom, had somehow seeped into my being and somewhere along the line, the will to survive must have overshadowed my zest for life. After all, statistics show that 50% of startups fail within the first four years.
That meant studying the lives of successful entrepreneurs (like Warren Buffet who spends 80% of his day reading books, and Richard Branson’s habit of rising with the sun each morning), as well as working on practices to improve efficiency.
Having thought about my conversation with my parents and shared it with my life and business partner, I have concluded that many other entrepreneurs often wind up losing their grip on reality as well. Somewhere along the way, possibly among the numerous early mornings and late night meetings, not to mention poring over marketing strategies and laboring through brainstorming sessions, you might just end up taking the journey for granted.
Thinking about it now, I can see how some people start out at point A and end up at point Z instead of B, especially when trying to get a project, such as a startup, off the ground. Things like working 15 hour days and trying to manage the workload of three people combined, all in an attempt to just keep the lights on long enough, can be pretty brutal on the mind and body.
Over time, the days all become about crunching numbers and fulfilling a daily routine. Before you know it, a year pass and you start looking forward to another year, in the process, becoming more enchanted by sales targets and milestones.
Of course, all that is important, but after my parents’ call, I was left thinking about what moments I will treasure the most in the end. Will it be when my company reports $1 million in profit for the first time, or the discussions with the team about what we need to do to improve sales? Will it be winning a major industry award, or the numerous brainstorming sessions for coming up with winning ideas?
You see, while those out-of-the-spotlight moments aren’t necessarily spectacular by themselves, they represent the times when you are truly connecting with other people to make something happen as a team. The constant back and forth, the A/B tests, the little experiments, the shots in the dark — they are all experiences meant to be savored by the entrepreneur. But you can only do so if you become conscious of them and live in the present.
Truthfully, it’s hard living in the present and making the most of these moments, especially with the non-stop pressures of running a startup and constantly wondering if it will be successful. Even more so based on the fact that research shows almost 75% of entrepreneurs were motivated by the possibility of building wealth as a prerequisite to entering entrepreneurship.
But I’m glad I have my parents to remind me from time to time; to help take my focus off targets and deadlines and just being me instead. I believe all entrepreneurs should have people behind them, who help to ground you and serve as reminders that you should cherish the little moments while on your journey.