If you want to start a business, there are all kinds of creative activities that you can do to propel you forward. You’re unlikely to get very far, however, if you don’t build some self-awareness and get out of your own way.
Here’s what I mean.
Imagine you’re at the beginning of a race track.
You kneel down in a runner’s position.
You’re ready to launch toward the finish line.
Your shoes are laced up tight.
It’s a beautiful, sunny day. You feel the sun beaming down on you and the fresh air filling your lungs.
You stare straight ahead because you’re laser focused on your goal. From where you’re at, the finish line doesn’t look too far away…you think: “how hard could this be?” It’s just you and the track.
You’re excited just to be here, at the starting line, staring down your goal.
The timer in your head goes off and you leap forward with a burst of initial energy.
Like there are giant kettle bells attached to your legs, dragging behind you on the ground.
The track? That’s entrepreneurship – it’s not your typical straightforward running track. It’s a twisty, turny, squiggly line of a track. It’s not a straight line.
The finish line? That’s you, proudly launching your business to the world.
The initial burst of energy, that’s real. You’re excited. How could you not be? It’s time to show the world what you can do.
The dragging kettle bells and weight you’re carrying? That’s your fear, the stories you’re telling yourself, and the years of pent up uncertainty about whether or not you have what it takes to do this.
To be clear, you absolutely do have what it takes. Entrepreneurship is a creative endeavor. And, I believe everyone can be creative. I believe everyone should have the opportunity to embrace their passion and pursue an idea. Humans are natural problem solvers. Creativity is in our DNA. It’s just part of the human experience.
However, in order to relentlessly pursue your ideas, you need to let go of what’s holding you back. You need to confront your fear and your inner critic, challenge your assumptions, and start stretching the boundaries of your comfort zone.
Get out of your own way.
Brené Brown cites this quote by President Theodore Roosevelt, in her book Daring Greatly, which sums it up nicely:
“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes up short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”
Now, let’s talk about how to live in the arena. All this month, I’m going to focus my blog posts on just that. We’ll look at how to stretch your comfort zone, how to break fear, and how to start and grow your business with confidence. Your journey starts with self-awareness.
Here are a few things to think about this week:
- What’s holding you back? Name the feeling. Acknowledge it. Describe it.
- What makes you feel most alive? Hold on to that feeling. Simmer in it.
- What might be possible if you didn’t hold back? Imagine what’s possible.
- What actions would you take if you were brave? Explore and be bold.
Share some of your reflections in the comments or send me a message. I’d love to hear what you discovered.
- Daring Greatly by Brené Brown on Amazon.com
- Why Every Entrepreneur Needs to Be Self-Aware from the 321 Liftoff blog
ONE MORE THING
Starting and growing a business is not a straight line. It can feel messy. It zigs and zags. It starts and stops. It can feel frustrating even for the most seasoned business owners. And, that’s ok. It’s also an exciting challenge. It’s going to stretch you. You’re going to learn a lot – not just about business, but about yourself. And, that’s why it’s worth it.