Good Entrepreneurs Keep Their Eyes Wide Open
If you’re an entrepreneur, you know the feeling: the driving desire to one day become your own boss, to call the shots, and work for yourself. For me, that dream has festered within me since the age of eight cutting grass as I worked for other people. It continued to gnaw at me as I grew and switched from one job to the next, trying to find the right career path. Until one day, I seized an opportunity – not as well-formed in its plan as one might expect – that resulted in launching my own business.
I named the company Paradigm because starting my own company represented a major shift in my life. I started my own imaging company, with the plan to work with countries outside of the US, like Trinidad, and eventually Honduras and Nicaragua based on relationships I had made. I was my own boss. I owned a minority stake in the company, owed a friend and business partner of mine more money than the sum of my worldly possessions, and was just naive enough to think it might be easy. For the first time in my adult life, I didn’t have a job. I had a calling, one that arose from my belief in opportunity over passion and innate trust in my gut instinct when it came to life-altering decisions.
It’s crazy what entrepreneurism can motivate you to do, the level of confidence it can instill, or the amount of naivety that can be overlooked…in the name of passion and drive. A lot of mistakes will inevitably be made, but that is part of the experience and a necessary part of the learning curve. Embrace those mistakes and learn from them; but be sure to keep your eyes wide open throughout the entire process or else you won’t learn, you won’t absorb and rebound.
Even though I was somewhat bullheaded to see some of the failures staring me in the face with my start-up, my sense of pride and overwhelming sunk-cost bias wouldn’t let me quit. I kept going, kept trying new things. Ultimately, I needed to come to terms with the fact that there simply was no infrastructure to support what I was trying to do. Of course, I didn’t go down without exhausting all possible options, but ultimately it was time to walk away from this particular project.
As I mentioned in my previous blog, knowing when to exit is just as important as knowing when to jump into an opportunity. Both actions are necessary for success because without consistent movement and change we don’t evolve. Embrace your entrepreneurial spirit – it will help you achieve great things. With that passion, however, couple that excitement and passion with awareness and curiosity.
Being a successful entrepreneur is like walking a tightrope – balancing the rational and practical with the vision and passion to make the right decisions for your business and ultimately your personal life as well. Get more details about the experience surrounding the launch of my first business that felt like something out of an Indiana Jones movie by picking up a copy of Redneck Resilience.