If It Matters, Keep Showing Up
Where many of us fail is we give up before we even start. It's too hard, takes too much time, it's too complicated, where do I even start? Begin by showing up, rain or shine and never stop. The challenging part and the reason change doesn't happen as often as it should is that we get distracted. Today's urgent is more urgent than yesterday's important.
You're a solopreneur! The excitement and thrill of being your own boss fueled by your burning idea. In the early stages, it's hard to dampen your mood, you're on fire. I passed the two-month marker for being a solopreneur full-time. I spent the prior couple years plugging away while working a 9-5. Safety net no more. It's a roller coaster ebb and flow of emotions, thoughts, and ideas. Peppered with random slaps in the face for no apparent reason. Is it a natural check and balance to see if I still have a pulse? Whatever it is, it's an inevitable challenge you'll face as an entrepreneur. I promise.
The beautiful part about working for a company is that you're working for a company. There's a level of emotional detachment from you and your work. Don't get me wrong, some companies create cultures that defy all norms. Patagonia is the perfect example. Read Let My People Go Surfing for a glimpse. Few jobs play the heartstrings like your own blood, sweat and tears. That level of vulnerability others will struggle to understand. Few people ever go all in, investing their time, energy, money and life into being a solopreneur. I don't share this as a cruel way of scaring you, let it serve as a beacon, a guide to keep you from crashing. What I mean by this is bringing a level of awareness to the decisions you make every day. Think of it like Peter Parker and his spidey sense. He makes critical decisions while ignoring the noise.
It's a hell of a lot easier to convince yourself trying a new idea is crazy than it is to push on and lean into the fear. Plain and simple, some days are shit. You feel like you accomplish nothing. Your ego loves to kick a guy when he's down so expect an invitation to the pity party. Attend one too many parties and you'll start to believe everything you tell yourself. Ohhhhh shittttttt, did I leap too soon? Am I good enough that people will want to work with me? What happens if this doesn't work? Distractions floating around unchallenged eat up valuable time. And serve no purpose to the great work you're capable of. All entrepreneurs experience impostor syndrome. Anyone who tells you otherwise is playing small and not doing work that matters. This is not intended to be an insult. Comfort comes in safety. The dreaded status quo. The kryptonite to innovation.
If there's one thing I've learned, opportunities come in the way of people. There are advantages in seeing your idea through a new set of eyes or a fresh perspective. Don't underestimate the power of camaraderie. How many jobs have you trudged along in because you loved your coworkers? It's a basic human emotional need to belong, you're not the only one who feels this way. My searches landed me at Power Up Monday's. A weekly event for budding entrepreneurs held at the Hamilton Public Library. I was introduced to 1stBiz, a pilot project between First Ontario and the YWCA. Creating sustainable self-employment for participants. I had twenty-four hours to submit an application before the deadline. I threw it together and pitched to a panel two days later. Simplify Your Why Coaching felt real.
A whole new world of like-minded people stepped into my life. But to fully appreciate this opportunity meant networking. For many, the mere mention of networking conjures a raging fear. Equal to the realization it's 2 p.m. and that feeling you forgot something this morning was your pants. I attend networking events with the intentions of having one meaningful conversation. That's it. If you're handing out business cards like tic-tacs, good luck connecting. One powerful conversation is worth a thousand business cards aimlessly pumped out. Stop fretting about what you're going to tell people. Ask empowering open-ended questions (I'll include a couple of my favourites at the end). As Maya Angelou said, people will forget what you did but people will never forget how you made them feel. A refreshing reminder, remain authentic in your interest and curiosity of others. Make it less about yourself. It's an opportunity to surround yourself with like-minded people. Solopreneurs like us need the ability to express our thoughts and emotions.
It helps you understand the curves ahead, the hard corners, the precipitous free falls and the long grinding climbs. Pretty much the same as the ones that await every entrepreneur when they start.
Questions to try out:
- What do you wish you had more time to do?
- What matters to you and why?
- What is your next great adventure?
- What is your greatest accomplishment?