I knew at a very young age that I saw the world much differently from other kids.
From my experience in business, entrepreneurs grow up with a sense of knowing they are different from other people, because they do what others don’t or won’t – to get what they want.
The entrepreneur’s true gift is the ability to innovate, compete and achieve. We have the desire to make things faster, better and much more profitable. Many self-made entrepreneurs are born in small towns, or come from an underprivileged life with a burning desire to succeed.
But, in most cases the entrepreneurial drive that gives us the edge to win wants to take over everything we do, and it’s damned hard to let go – like an addiction. To those who are not entrepreneurs, we probably seem arrogant, egotistical or self-centered at times. I know from first hand experience that it becomes difficult to maintain relationships with other people who aren’t visionaries, and those who don’t share the same drive and passion. It’s a sad fact that we lose marriages and partnerships because of the entrepreneurial “gift” or “curse”?
As a result of our tunnel-vision approach to business/life, us entrepreneurs often end up feeling like we are from another planet, with just a small group of humans who understand what it’s like to run a business every single day. Living like this can be distressing, depressing and downright debilitating – the only way out is to quit, but that is not acceptable to an entrepreneur. It really is true what they say – it is lonely at the top.
I have worked with many high-level entrepreneurs who feel a great deal of loneliness, rejection, isolation and judgment – particularly from their closest family members and spouses, causing them to doubt their life’s mission and confidence to continue. They handle the peaks and troughs, the obsession, sleeplessness, and the moments of exultant triumph and euphoria. It’s usually a game of go hard, or go home. And despite all the glory of being a self-made entrepreneur, fear combined with isolation is the perfect storm for sabotage. I call it the entrepreneurial “curse“.
If you are experiencing the curse, fear will replace certainty and weakness will replace strength. I bet you pretend that everything is totally fine, when the reality is that you are shit-scared. I bet you don’t have anyone to talk to about your problems without seeming weak or feeling judged. And, when you don’t know how to handle this entrepreneurial curse, you will – like many before us – sabotage your businesses and your relationships.
Here are a few insights I’ve learned from realising I have a “gift“, and overcoming the “curse“.
1. Accept that you are not average or ordinary
YOU are most certainly cut from a different cloth. Most people are not going to see things as you see them, so find your tribe and learn how they will empower you.
2. Embrace the gift
You are an overachiever, and don’t ever apologise for it! You don’t need anyone else to tell you how to play the game. Make sure you innovate and grow to create your own set of rules. Remember, if you focus on the score, you will never win. Discipline and consistency is the secret ingredient to embracing the gift.
3. Mastermind to change the game
Build relationships where your top priority is to engage with others who are playing the game at your level or above. Also, find someone (special) who will care enough to call you on your bullshit, and still hold you accountable. Make sure you do the same for them. The best way to mastermind is to set up weekly group check-in’s to keep each other on track. Doing this has been one of my secrets to success. I invest a substantial amount of money each year travelling to seminars and mastermind groups so I can surround myself with other successful and ambitious entrepreneurs.
4. Success is a marathon, not a sprint
Success does not happen overnight. It takes years and years of consistent focus and attention to really achieve greatness. There will be times – especially in the early stages – that things aren’t going fast enough. You want to quit everything and devote your every waking moment to your business and ideas. Yes, you will get impatient, but that is a sign that the “curse” is controlling you. Remember that the entrepreneurial lifeblood is discipline and consistency, and both of these take time. Be patient, darling. Trust me on this.
Every word here has been dedicated to my beautiful daughter, Makkedde who has just launched her first business start-up as the age of 18. Oh man, I can see that entrepreneurial gift in her blood. I am so freakin proud to see her blazing a trail and DO-ing remarkable things at such a young age, but I am watching over her knowing that the lessons I have learnt cannot be taught. They must be experienced. This journey she has embarked on will be one of the hardest (and most fulfilling) things she will do in her life. I am so glad I am right beside her and part of her tribe, constantly reminding her that we all have the gift, and to be aware of the curse.
You DO YOU the best! x
(Dedicated to my daughter @keddalowis and @madebymak)