Erin thought it might be fun for me to write a blog about entrepreneurship, seeing as I am now a full-fledged entrepreneur. It is kind of a broad topic of course…like being asked to write a blog about business. But since I am a new entrepreneur, I guess I can talk about how that feels.
A little background first. For the past two years I have been helping a company re-start, pivot, re-launch, etc. As I think Erin mentioned before, it is a shopping platform that we brand for non-profits so they can raise money or offer cash back shopping as a benefit for their members (there are other applications like loyalty programs for banks, but that is the easiest to understand). I am now the full time CEO. Only we don’t have the money to pay me just yet, so I have also started a loyalty consulting business and that is what is paying the bills. So two full time, start-up businesses that demand a lot of my time. Want to know what that feels like?
It feels like I need to raise my game. A lot.
I suppose that goes without saying. I liken it to going from Associate to Partner at a law firm or Intern to Medical Doctor. More is expected of you from day one and you just have to step up.
But I am taking this as an opportunity to self-assess. To really think about the person I want to be, both in my career and my personal life. To really ask myself, “Am I doing what it takes to get to where I want to be?” The answer is no. In just about every facet of my life I am falling short. I imagine the answer is no for most people. In fact, I would bet the answer is no for everyone. No one is perfect after all.
Success can be defined in a multitude of ways and is different for each of us. I won’t go into what I have in mind right now…perhaps a blog for another day…but I can tell you that the list is daunting. I have a lot to improve upon if I want to get to where I think I should be. For me this is exciting, not scary. I have to change how I approach life. There needs to be a shift. I cannot expect to do the same things and achieve different results. And I cannot be okay with little shifts or short-lived big ones (or God forbid short-lived little ones). They need to be big and they need to be permanent. I have to reach past whatever goals I have set for myself in the past and try for something completely outside of my comfort zone. Shoot for the moon and even if you miss you’ll land upon the stars…as they say.
I think this is what super successful people do. They don’t place limits on what they can accomplish. They believe if someone else can do it, why not me? Or even when no one else has done it, why not me? If making money is the goal, then set out to be Bill Gates. If you want to be an actor, then set Meryl Streep as the bar. Successful people work to set themselves up to have the opportunity. But most importantly, they put their all into it. I think if I am honest with myself, I would have to say that I have yet to put my all into anything. To put it all on the line. I think that is what has to happen now.
And so I begin to look at all the things I do out of habit (or the things that aren’t habit that should be). I look at where I need to be more disciplined. And I begin changing. I force myself to overcome my ADD and read a document more carefully. To go to the gym 3 times a week no matter what. To plan more thoroughly for that meeting. To practice before that speech. To be more careful about where I spend my time and who I spend it with. To make the time with Erin a higher quality, without lessening it. To ensure I do the same when I am a father. To ask more questions. To ask better ones. To dedicate myself more, but to less. To take time to step back and think. To breathe. To surround myself with the right people. And to listen to them more intently. To better distinguish the truth from what I want to believe. To ensure I don’t let limits get in my way. To find the balance between being realistic and dreaming of what could be.
I am embarking upon an adventure. An opportunity to be more than I am today. An opportunity to live up to the potential I believe I have. Talent and potential are great. But it is the application of will power and focused determination that must accompany these in order to succeed. Easier said than done. But what in life worth doing isn’t?