What Stops Us?

Isn’t it funny how we always find a reason to not do something? The known – as monotonous, unfulfilling, and lousy it may be – is preferred to the challenge and risk of doing something new. Most of us WANT to do something of our own; start-up our dream company. But alas! How can I do it alone? Isn’t becoming an entrepreneur asking for too much risk? I do not have it in me to become an entrepreneur! These are only few of the myths most of us believe in, blindly!!

There are many such myths that stop us from taking the plunge…

– Entrepreneurs are born – one cannot learn to become an entrepreneur.

– Entrepreneurs take huge risks.

– I have to do it alone.

– I have to have a large network.

– I must have a big idea.

– I must be lucky or a real genius to come up with a big idea.

– I need a lot of money to get started.

– Silicon Valley is where all entrepreneurship takes place.

– I have to be charismatic.

Can you identify with some/ all of them? How many of these fears and myths are accurate? Not many. Perhaps none of them are.

Entrepreneurship can be learned and if done right, you will reduce some of the risk before you embark on something.

You don’t need to do things alone. Form a team and divide the work and leverage each other’s strengths. It is strange how luck seems to favor hard work.

Also, you do not need to move anywhere to get started. If charisma is not your strong suit, be thankful.

A myth is a story often involving supernatural forces. It is generally a widely held belief that is not true. How then do we dispel our fears and myths? We wake up and take action!

For more, please check Discover The Entrepreneur Within

Fear and Paralysis

As promised in my last post, let us discuss each fear we have in us, one by one:

  • I am not creative: Actually, most of us have a fair bit of creativity. We just don’t tap into it often. Furthermore, entrepreneurship is a team sport. Perhaps someone else on your team will be the creative spark plug. You do not need to do everything.
  • I am not an engineer: It turns out that engineers are about 2% of the U.S. workforce. Most of you will NOT be engineers. That is why you need a team!
  • I do not know anybody. I have no network: We mistake the superficiality of social media interaction for having, or not having, friends. Make a list of people whom you could call at any time for help. I am sure this list would be far more extensive than you had imagined. Everyone has a network – big or small. It just has to be nourished and sometimes rejuvenated.
  • I never have any really brilliant ideas: Entrepreneurship is more than just about brilliant ideas. An idea without execution is meaningless. Sometimes the ability to complete things may be the more pressing talent a business needs.
  • I have a lot of great ideas but I do not know where to start: My book (Discover The Entrepreneur Within) will provide you with a model to starting and completing tasks.
  • I never finish anything I start: You are going to have to learn and commit to doing so, or you will let your team and yourself down.
  • I have no money: There are many new options now, including crowdfunding.
  • I have no time: All of us have 24 hours in a day. What we do with those 24 hours is what can make or break us. Could you find a couple of hours of time for yourself in a day? I think most people can, if it is important enough to them.
  • I’d like to give it a try but I am just too risk averse: Entrepreneurship is not as risky as you think. Everything in life entails some risk, even crossing the street. I challenge you to reexamine your risk preference.
  • I’d love to but I don’t think I can: Henry Ford said, “Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t – you’re right.” Most of us limit ourselves with our beliefs.
  • What will people (my parents, friends) think or say?: Ask yourself: whose life is this anyway?

This thought experiment was not meant to be glib; rather it was designed to help you think from a different perspective. We all have doubts and fears. The human brain is wired to worry. How do we surmount our fears? By finding solutions while also trying to understand ourselves. The reality is that the vast majority of the problems that we worry about never come to pass. To be paralyzed or not to be paralyzed is our choice.

For more, please check Discover The Entrepreneur Within

Some Common Fears

The first session of our entrepreneurship class is always memorable. Visualize 25 students, bright, fresh and eager to learn. A few fancy themselves as entrepreneurs and are not sure why they are even taking this class, other than the fact that a friend has told them “this was the class to take.” Some have come to see what this thing called entrepreneurship (“How do you spell it by the way?”) is all about, but are quite certain that it’s not for them. Then there are others who have already decided that they do not want to work for “soulless monolithic giants.” Amidst their excitement, a palpable sense of fear is discernible.
I ask them what are they most afraid of? I sense their angst and doubts as to whether they can succeed. In rapid fire I hear:

– I am not creative.

– I am not an engineer.

– I do not know anybody. I have no network. I hate every single one of my Facebook friends!

– I never have any really brilliant ideas.

– I have a lot of great ideas, but I do not know where to start

– I never finish anything I start.

– I have no money.

– I have no time.

– I’d like to give it a try, but I am just too risk averse.

– I’d love to, but I don’t think I can.

– What will people (my parents, friends) think or say?

The list is almost endless. Does any of this sound familiar to you? Do you have any of these doubts. I have had these doubts as well. So, how do we confront them? We will examine them one at a time in our next post.

For more, please check Discover The Entrepreneur Within

Changing the World One Entrepreneur At A Time

Millennials will soon be the largest population group, surpassing 75 million people. Many of you, it seems to me, are overeducated, underemployed, underpaid, and simply unfulfilled. You were told a college degree, funded by large loans, was the yellow brick road. Yes, being a barista, an Uber driver, a perennial student, or having three part-time jobs, can allow you to survive. But surely life can, and must, offer more.

I meet many people who are seeking meaning and fulfillment in all aspects of their lives, willing to give up “job security” for the possibility of following their passion. I suspect many of you feel this way too. You have a sense of adventure and you like to travel. You love experiencing food, music, and ideas from a plethora of cultures. You have the talent and enthusiasm to collaborate with people from every corner of the globe, the capacity to influence customers through social media and the ability to deliver goods speedily and inexpensively, all of which give rise to many opportunities. If anything, the array of choices is overwhelming. The first line from A Tale of Two Cities capture this dichotomy perfectly: “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times…”

If all these trends are pointing towards entrepreneurship, why aren’t we all rushing to the promised land of entrepreneurship? Why are you still wondering? Why haven’t you jumped into the fray?

 The most likely reason is fear. Fear of the unknown. Fear of risk. Fear of failure. Fear of not being good enough. Fear of not being creative enough. Fear that your idea will be laughed at. Fear of making the wrong choice. Fear of losing what you currently have. Fear of fear.

Are you the only one with this fear? No, this is called the human condition. If you take the plunge, is success assured? Of course not. No one can guarantee success. But factors such as hard work, commitment, vision, discipline, and an intense desire to create something do increase the probability of success.

Our goal, on this blog is simple: To help 50 or 100 or 1000 entrepreneurs get off the ground.

Join us regularly if you want to get started on this journey that may as yet define your life.