The real secret to be a successful entrepreneur lies in listening to your entrepreneurial heart. It can be a powerful force to drive you forward through the dark valleys that every entrepreneur will experience at one time or another along their entrepreneurial journey. It is important to find, embrace, listen and nurture your entrepreneurial heart regularly. Unfortunately, as we move along our entrepreneurial journey from startup to scale-up many of us lose or bury this powerful and personal guide.
Finding your entrepreneurial heart.
First, find your entrepreneurial heart. It’s that little voice inside of you that guides you through thick and thin. You might think of it as your inner compass. We all have it, but we often lose it in the craziness of our daily lives and the myths the world pushes on us about what it means to be an entrepreneur. The world whispers a constant stream of false stories that lifts up the rare multi-billionaire twenty something entrepreneur as the norm. Nothing could be further from the truth. The entrepreneurial journey can be a long winding road with many ups and downs along the way and it is your entrepreneurial heart that will see you through.
Your entrepreneurial heart is that little voice of confidence that says…
“You can do this!” even when things just don’t seem to be going your way. It is the entrepreneur’s main source of strength to enable them to push through with dogged determination when others simply quit and go home.
“You are good enough!” even as the questioning gremlins bombard your brain with a million reasons why you are not yet ready or good enough to enjoy entrepreneurial success.
“That’s a great idea!” even when the world around you says you are crazy. Don’t forget, every great business in the world was just a crazy idea before it became a wildly successful company.
Consulting your entrepreneurial heart.
Once you’ve found it, listen to your entrepreneurial heart.
There have been times in my own entrepreneurial journey when I’ve lost my way and failed to listen to this powerful voice. It often happened when I lost my passion for the work that I was doing. This happens to all of us at one time or another and it’s important to immediately consult your entrepreneurial heart when you find yourself lost, drained of energy and finding it difficult to get motivated to push on.
You will hear it when you sit and listen. When you remember why you started your business and the excitement of the dream that was in front of you at that time.
You will hear it when you remember the incredible impact your business is having on your community and the important problems you are solving every day with your product or service.
You will hear it when you remember that your choice to be an entrepreneur gives you great freedom to live the life of your choosing and to pursue work you are passionate about.
You will hear it when you stomp out and crush the negativity.
Crush negativity to feed your entrepreneurial heart.
Let’s just be honest with each other. Entrepreneurship isn’t easy. It takes endless hours of hard work; sometimes significant financial investment and your big dreams are constantly being buffeted by things you have no control over like the economy or any of the other hundreds of things that are beyond your control.
When something isn’t easy you can quickly lose hope. This is true of many businesses that I’ve seen spiral into the ground unnecessarily when the lead entrepreneur lost hope…slow at first and then suddenly. The negativity blinded them to the point that before they even recognized they had a problem it was too late to recover.
It is critical that you focus on crushing negativity. Don’t let it near you and recognize you are not alone in the hard work of being an entrepreneur.
Support for your entrepreneurial heart.
Many entrepreneurs I work with are isolated and feeling like they are alone on an island. The truth is that every entrepreneur faces similar challenges while scaling their business at one time or another during their careers. You are not the only entrepreneur that struggles. Every one of us has…
- experienced cashflow problems at one time or another in our career
- wondered where the next customer was going to come from
- felt like our business owned us, instead of us owning our business
- was frustrated at finding, building and keeping a great team
- sometimes wasn’t sure where our business was heading
- struggled with holding our team accountable
- were scared to death to invest in that much needed new piece of equipment or key employee
- …and the list could go on and on
The point is that you need to build a support system around you that includes other entrepreneurs that understand what it means to be an entrepreneur. Consider joining an entrepreneur’s mastermind or a group where you can be with other entrepreneurs that understand “the heart of the entrepreneur”.
The key to finding, consulting, feeding and supporting your entrepreneurial heart is in entrepreneurs supporting entrepreneurs. In my experience, nothing else will work. The “heart of the entrepreneur” is the key to your success and you won’t find it at school.
It is not to say that professional business education in the areas of finance, marketing, HR and the many other important areas of running your business day to day aren’t useful to learn or important. They surely are, but they are not enough for the entrepreneurial business owner.
Entrepreneurial success requires so much more than purely executing on the “nuts and bolts” of running a business. Over time I’ve learned that entrepreneurs are a very special breed that put their hearts and souls into their life work that is often intimately linked to their personal passions and supported with their personal blood, sweat and tears along the way.
Seth Godin said, “Studying entrepreneurship without doing it… is like studying the appreciation of music without listening to it.”
The same can be said about the “heart of the entrepreneur”, you must find it, then nurture it for the powerful guide that it is. You won’t find in a book or a class. You will only find it by using it each day and by sharing your entrepreneurial heart with those of other likeminded entrepreneurs.
Enjoy your entrepreneurial journey!