The dark side of the entrepreneur’s learning curve isn’t often discussed. We’re so obsessed with reframing failure as “learning” that we ignore the scary reality of doing so.
What if each learning curve you hit also meant a compromise of your goals and vision? What if you’ve “learned” so much on this journey that you’ve forgotten why you even began it?
If you’re feeling your gut churn as it contemplates the brink of existential crisis, read on… Almost every entrepreneur begins their journey into self employment (and beyond) in a state of naivety. We foolishly harbor massive dreams for creating wealth and freedom for ourselves – easily and effortlessly. Some even start out with a vision to change the world they live in.
Either way, our warm and fuzzy intentions smash head-first into the icy blizzard of the real world. Ol’ mother business has been waiting for you… and she can’t wait to teach you a lesson or five.
When you set out to journey from Position A to your ultimate destination (wealth, freedom and impact) at Position Z, it’s way too easy to “redefine your vision” when the first painful lesson occurs.
You rationalize, chat it out with friends (or *gasp* coaches) and then decide it wasn’t really “Z” that you wanted after all… perhaps you’d be better suited to X. It’s more your style, you tell yourself, and X is easier to achieve.
Then learning experience number two happens (The Curve Strikes Back!) and your goals shift once more – X is looking tricky and suddenly Y seems seductive. After all, X is too much about hard work. And, you’ve learned about the “lifestyle design” Y offers.
What I’m describing here can also be (and often is) described as “growing up”. It’s the process that takes a newbie entrepreneur from “I’m gonna take over the world” to “paying off my mortgage one day would be nice”.
It’s the death of your ambition – so slow you barely notice. It’s a tragedy.
This process comes with side effects too. As the fire of your original ambition is doused, you become lethargic. Your motivation fades. You start looking for other sources of entertainment beyond business – what used to be a fun game becomes a chore. When things get really bad, you start fantasizing about giving it all up for a regular job.
Thing is, achieving X and Y (or P and Q) instead of your original goal Z… can actually be a lot of fun. There are many many different incarnations of “success”. Happiness and fulfillment can be found more places than you’d think.
However, a part of you never forgets what you originally set out to do. Your inner child remembers the naive dream that used to keep you up at night out of sheer excitement.
So what can you do?
I wrote this post with just one intention: To convince you that it isn’t too late.
If you’ve been an entrepreneur for some time, you’ve probably come to accept a compromised vision – perhaps you’ve already achieved it. Since you’re feeling successful, you’re good with X.
But it isn’t too late.
In the last few years, you’ve learned a lot. A LOT. You’ve connected with incredible people and now have access to resources that never used to exist. Technology has changed everything too.
It isn’t too late.
In fact, you’re more qualified now than ever before to revisit your original vision. The achievement of Z is still a possibility.
What if your striving toward vision X was simply preparation – the schooling and experience you needed to finally arrive at your true vision. This reality could be the truth. Your actions will create the hindsight that makes it true.
It isn’t too late.
When you reconnect with the ambition that started you out on your journey, incredible things will happen. You’ll wake up motivated. Your world will seem brighter, your life richer. Your inner child will be nourished by the wonderment you create as you finally start doing the things you always wished you could.
Want to leave a really brave comment after this post? Tell me and the community why you started out in business.