You’ve heard it said a million times before, everyone has ideas but only a tiny percentage of people actually do something about them.
Usually, people blame it on fear that leads to inaction or the lack of resources required to make their idea a reality. However, the truth is not everyone is cut out for the realities of taking the risk to run a business. No, they are not lazy, it has a lot more to do with the stories they have told themselves and the unshakeable habits they have formed over a lifetime.
If you are in this situation before you can even contemplate starting a business you need a huge mindset shift and that may sometimes not be possible for you because you don’t want it. Rather than talking in riddles, I am going to give three very specific traits that I have noticed in friends that would hate the realities of entrepreneurship.
1: No Guilt When Not Productive
In my personal world, when I wake up, I have to be productive as soon as possible otherwise an overwhelming guilt will sweep over me. My productivity is normally set by a to-do list rather than the number of hours that I work.
Once I have achieved the goals of the day or at least the ones I realize were realistic then I can relax without feeling guilty.
On the other hand, I have observed some people don’t see things in the same way and don’t carry this productivity guilt at all. They will wake up, watch some TV or YouTube videos, read a newspaper, play video games and before you know it, two or three hours have passed. They then have a shower and get ready and then lo-and-behold it’s lunch time and they haven’t done a thing.
Importantly, they don’t feel guilty about it at all. It’s almost enviable the way they can relax like that. They don’t see that passage of time as a lack of productivity but simply as them carrying out rituals they enjoy before they get on to doing some work.
2: A Different Attitude About The Need For Relaxation
Outside of scheduled holidays many believe you need to pace yourself and incorporate relaxation into your schedule. Nowadays many are raised with rituals like taking the weekend off or having a lie-in at the weekend but many entrepreneurs don’t see it like that.
The typical entrepreneur normally wakes up to work on a project unrelated to his day-job in his relaxation times – her business is her hobby. So, if you have an employer then you see your free time as the time to work on the business that you’d like to make a reality. You see it as fun, not as work at all.
Ultimately, if and when you do manage to transition out of a regular job this habit of using free time to work on pet projects does not go away. If anything it comes on with a vengeance, taking time to just chill is a struggle.
My grandfather who died when I was less than three summed it up beautifully, he said to my dad, holidays are not an opportunity to do nothing, they are an opportunity to work on things you don’t normally get a chance to work on.
I was pretty much brainwashed to fully believe the same thing because my dad lives this reality. If we went on holiday he would take me along to shops; as we perused the aisles, he said we were checking out what they sell in whatever country we were visiting to see if it was exportable to Malawi. If we went on holiday to Lake Malawi he would pull out a piece of paper and start drawing the type of house he plans to build at The Lake in future.
There were plenty of times when we just chat and he told stories but peppered along every holiday were instances of what many would call work. To him, and to many entrepreneurs drafting your plans is pure fun.
Not everyone has been nurtured with these principles, beliefs and rituals so they don’t come naturally. That’s not necessarily a problem.
3: Completely Struggle To Keep To Plans
My office is at home. When I wake up, no one tells me what to do. I have a schedule and I stick to it and for the most part I don’t even have to think about working my plan. It just happens like clockwork.
“I wouldn’t get anything done if I worked for myself,” many friends have said to me.
At first, I thought this was complete nonsense but now, at the age of 30, I realize that I was judging them by my own standards. Those that have said this to me know themselves better than I know them and if they think they wouldn’t get anything done, they probably wouldn’t.
If you have gone your whole life doing things simply because you have been told to do them, e.g. teachers say do this, parents say do that – you will not all of sudden become a self-starter. Some people cannot work and achieve goals without having a higher authority to be accountable to. If you know this about yourself that is awesome because you stick to employment and don’t set yourself up for failure by going out and trying to strike it out on your own.
IS THERE A SOLUTION?
What if you notice one or more of the above traits in yourself but still want to pursue a business because you believe your idea is a slum dunk? Is there a solution?
Yes there is: partner with someone! Find someone who has the trait of making things happen and sell your idea to them. Make it clear what your weaknesses are in making your idea a reality and create a partnership agreement where your partner makes up for your weaknesses.
Sometimes accepting that you are lacking some very necessary qualities required to start an enterprise is the best way to actually finding the path to a fruitful business. Accept the way you are then find a solution for your weaknesses.
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