Do you ever feel void?
I sometimes feel empty, sometimes invalid when it comes to running my business.
There are deals I’ll miss. There are deals I’ll mess up. I’ll lose a client, and usually the reasons were avoidable. There are times when I’ll get some heat from onlookers because they don’t like the way I run my business.
People will think I’m building something worthless, impossible, and stupid.
And sometimes I’ll think they’re right.
The feeling is horrible.
I’ll lay in bed questioning if I’m doing the right thing.
Anxiety sets in. My head feels wired. There might as well be electrodes attached, sending volts throughout my skull. The to-do list stretches out into the hallway.
Often, I’ll fling the covers off of me and get back to work.
I’m not sure if the late night work is productive, but feeling productive is much better than feeling anxious.
The pressure to perform is real.
In his book Worthless, Impossible, and Stupid, Daniel Isenberg reminds us that “trying” doesn’t make you an entrepreneur.
Entrepreneurs are made through results. We have to try, then we have to achieve.
This is one of the differences between the world of academia and the world of entrepreneurship.
Let’s say you’re a professor, and you win the Nobel prize. From that point forward you are a “Nobel Laureate” for life. It hardly matters if you never produce another piece of groundbreaking work again. You are a Nobel Laureate.
It can be different for entrepreneurs.
While academics are remembered for the best thing they did, says Isenberg in his book, entrepreneurs are remembered for the last thing they did.
Worthless, impossible, and stupid.
Quincy University–my alma mater–invited me back not long ago to speak to a couple groups of students. One of those groups was their entrepreneur group on campus. I love the students in that group.
They’re wide-eyed. Eager. Ready to start their own ventures. They’re inspiring.
It’s good to remember what that feeling is like. The awe of entrepreneurship can slip away if we’re not careful. Sometimes, the feeling is simply beat out of you.
The beatings hurt.
Sometimes the beatings make us feel worthless. Void. Empty.
We lay down to rest, but can’t. Our brains are buzzing. The to-do list is a mile long. We doubt ourselves. We question quitting. We question our decision to build something out of nothing.
That’s when we must remember something crucial to the success of every entrepreneur who has found success: What we’re doing is not worthless, impossible, or stupid.
Neither are you.
Photo: Flickr/Ed Schipul