If I had a dollar for every time someone told me – ‘you can’t do this’, ‘we don’t want you’ or worse still completely ignore me – on my career and entrepreneurial journey… well… I wouldn’t need a career at all because I could retire today.
How many ambitious entrepreneurs out there does this sound familiar to? After a while, it gets easy to feel like you should be listening to the naysayers and believe that you have every reason to fail.
You may be getting told that you don’t have the right approach, the right qualifications, the right experience, the right product or simply that your ideas have no merit. I get it. I’ve been there.
This is the moment where a key decision needs to be made. You can choose to throw the towel in right then and there, or you can choose not to listen and not to fail. Instead, trust that gut feeling you had right at the beginning and use these challenges to fire up your determination.
The start-up culture has a 90% failure rate, so the chips are stacked against us right from the start.
So, how do you beat the odds?
First of all – listen.
No, not to your doubts and not to the naysayers. Listen to those who have been there, done that and succeeded. At times it may feel like society has forcibly placed a chip on your shoulder, and there is an expectation that you act accordingly. You may feel the need to vigorously guard your successes, be cut throat in order to move up, and can’t be seen to be accepting help from anyone. That can be seen as a weakness after all, can’t it? Wrong!
These are all lies that the business culture has projected onto us, and they will not help us. Instead, we need to empower ourselves to tap into our strengths, become a student of life and learn from each other.
Walk through the world around you with a learner’s mentality. Every time you come across a situation that evokes negative feelings, make an effort to reframe it. Ask yourself, “Where’s the lesson here? What’s being brought to the surface that I can use to continue to build something of value in my work?”
Next – give back.
We all have a unique set of strengths, weaknesses, and lessons learned along the way that can help others if we openly share our experiences, and build off each other. There are no shortage of community and networking groups available today. Seek them out, find the right fit for you and get involved.
It’s very easy for feel lonely and isolated when working as a freelancer, in a start-up or as a small business operator – particularly when things aren’t going your way. The important thing to remember is that you are not alone. You just need to keep that courage in your convictions and reach out.
Keep that fire burning. You’ve got this!
Author: Cameron McIver