The Lessons We’ve Learned as Entrepreneurs

I’ve been going through a difficult period myself. There are some tremendously positive qualities about being an entrepreneur – being your own boss, setting your own agenda, and creating your own path, but it can’t be done alone. It is a process that requires collaboration and working with other people who you enjoy sharing ideas and creating content with. That’s what I miss most about my previous job. I’ve recently added some great people, and this is what excites me. As I said before, every step is an important part of the process. The things I took for granted 2 years ago, I don’t take for granted now.

Someone once told me, “you put two people in a room together – a man with experience and a man with money – and the man with experience ends up with the money and the man with the money ends up with the experience.” It’s great to be getting all these lessons, but at some point, I want to see some more results – and greater profits. But profits are not just monetary – they are spiritual and educational too. And herein lies the conundrum of the entrepreneur.

I met with Tony Hsieh out in Vegas last week and he told me that it really isn’t about the money. It’s about what makes you happy. Companies that put long-term happiness, culture, vision, and higher purpose before all else (so long as they have a business model) are the companies that thrive in the end. Research supports this – Good to Great by Jim Collins, Tribal Leadership. I have to trust this message as I’m learning it firsthand from others who have experienced it and are living it now as successful builders of businesses. But it takes time and patience, and patience can be a difficult quality to honor always. It’s not that I’m impatient, it’s just that I’m coming to realize that perhaps I’m not patient enough for the process I’ve created to work, so I have to speed up the process. Urgency is very important value to embrace.

It is about “showing up,” but it’s more about showing up to the thing that makes you happiest. Not what you think will make you happy, but what actually makes you happy, and sometimes it takes a lot of “showing up” to get to that point of realizing what makes you happy, as often what we think will make us happy isn’t what will actually make us happy. (And at least you’re figuring that out for yourself and not letting someone or something else determine that for you.) Hence, why you’re able to narrow in on what you’re really passionate about. Getting from A to C requires landing on B, and sometimes B is unpleasant, harsh, painful, but an integral part of the process and helps you understand which “C” you really want to land on. There is beauty in the difficult times, however. They make us stronger and more resilient.

At the end of the day, we want results. I want the best results possible as do you. So it really is about putting all the pieces together and understanding what results you want and the process that you want to take, create, be a part of to produce those results. Nothing is ever perfect or 100%. The 100% comes in knowing that you can’t control events, but that you can control the meaning of those events. Somewhere out there, there’s a great, happy, fulfilling and lucrative medium that is really more within than it is without, and that is what this entrepreneurship process is all about. That I have to believe.

Necessity is the mother of invention. Stay hungry, focused, and don’t be afraid to adapt and change. Know that nothing is a lost cause. You might not want to do your current project forever, but if you hadn’t done it, you’d never know, and I’m inclined to believe that you wouldn’t be able to get to where you go next if you hadn’t done it, because if it hadn’t been right for you, you would have never done it to begin with.

Be where you are now because where you are now will help you get to where you want to be – which is right here.

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