by Theresa Horak
This past month, I have seen more sunrises than in my entire life, but waking up knowing that whatever I do next is to further my own dream makes me think twice about snoozing in for another hour or two.
It’s not that I am an extreme optimist or immune to that loathing, negative self-chatter. On the contrary, these first days are filled with thoughts of insecurity and trepidation as well. I don’t believe I am the first entrepreneur who felt this way. Let me share with you three of the lifelines that have kept me on track thus far:
1) Tap into the business community and find your mentors – I can’t stress enough the value that I have found in confiding in and leaning on mentors. When I say mentors, I am not referring to someone officially assigned to me by a business center who will blindly guide me through entrepreneurship – no, these are fellow entrepreneurs and other business owners in the community who are willing to share their insights and experience with newbies. I was astonished at how enthusiastically other business owners would divulge their secrets even while standing in line waiting to buy a coffee. I was showered with a wealth of information and in the process also realized that, as entrepreneurs, it is up to us to assess and evaluate all the advice we get and take whatever resonates with our values in order to navigate our own way to strategies that align with our visions.
2) Be aware of your surroundings – As entrepreneurs, we are charting new ground and we no longer have that boss or manager nudging us into a given direction. Making sound decisions does require investigation, research, contemplation and testing, but do not dismiss your own intuition. Success sometimes involves a bit of luck, too, but luck for me thus far has meant being tuned into my surroundings, reaching out, having conversations, and when something sparked my curiosity, delving into a deeper dialogue of discovery. Not every path would necessarily lead to a business alliance, but it does open your mind to new ways of thinking (or not thinking).
3) Don’t give up… well, not yet – There was a day when I went home, sat down and said to myself: “You are so out of your league! What were you thinking?” At the time, I was working on a project with two highly intelligent business owners, both driven and passionate about their cause and expecting the same from me. Looking at the speed at which they were operating and the extensive resumes that accompanied their profiles, my thoughts darkened to simply not feeling worthy of being part of this team. I was overwhelmed by the magnitude of this realization and in despair turned to my virtual Facebook friends, wondering if I should rather return to a life of kittens and cute photos. Scrolling through the lives of others, I noticed a post that read: “If you are the smartest person in the room, you are in the wrong room!” It was a simple statement, but it altered that negative mindset I had embarked on and made me aware of the huge learning opportunity that I was presented with.
Your perception is your reality, and there are many ways to perceive situations. When you find yourself feeling lost, search for a different angle to look at the challenge, then assess, reassess, investigate and… don’t give up, not yet!