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Emotionally preparing for the journey

Posted by : Lisa Clark

You don’t have to be a masochist to choose this career path, but you will need to have a strong sense of resiliency, a sense of purpose external to yourself, the ability to be and the emotional space for vulnerability, an achievement of self-actualization, and the willingness to put yourself out there.

Choosing to become an entrepreneur is the non-delicate practice in skin thickening. You will get rejected by venture capitalists and customers – often in the same day, dejected and demoralized through the valleys of the journey, and ejected from your role if you are particularly unlucky or unkind. You’ll need to face all of this with a smile and you’ll be forced to maintain your optimism because you’ll have to do it the next day. It’s understandable that this is not the career path for most people, but for those of us who stick it out, the personal and financial rewards can come in spades.

You don’t have to be a masochist to choose this career path, but you will need to have a strong sense of resiliency, a sense of purpose external to yourself, the ability to be and the emotional space for vulnerability, an achievement of self-actualization, and the willingness to put yourself out there. While some people may have a natural tendency toward resiliency or knowing their purpose, most of us learn these through the trials and tribulations of life. At the same time, some people may have never experienced the adversity of rejection, only to have it happen at a more high stakes moment like pitching an idea. Here are a few ideas to help you prepare for your journey into entrepreneurship:

Desensitize yourself.

Practice networking at low-stress events like a meet-up group or a friend’s gathering. Try different pitches with people and see what strategy seems to garner interest. Share stories with others about moments of your own vulnerabilities to demonstrate to yourself how a weakness can be perceived as a strength if framed correctly. Practice your idea pitch for family and friends and ask them for ways you can improve. Find places where you can practice speaking in front of others: an open mic night may be a great place for you to tell and story, or become a board member of a local club where you may have to talk in front of others.

Assure you are emotionally prepared for the journey.

Sometimes we need emotional placidity in our lives, and we should accept this without judgement. If you do not feel ready to begin pitching your idea and need more time to feel prepared this is perfectly acceptable. You can only emotionally tackle so much in life at one time, so you want to assure you have the room to handle all that comes with the startup world. By not paying attention to this, you face greater risk of not giving your idea a fair shake or having your emotional cup overflow at inopportune moments.

Put the idea first.

As an entrepreneur, you need to believe in the power and potential of your idea and put it before yourself. You are meeting with investors to understand how and if they could see your idea coming to life, not to be judged on the quality of your speech. There is no doubt you will make a mistakes when speaking to others and if you feel the need to self judge, try to focus on how the mistake influenced the impact of you idea to learn from it. Your job is to put your plan in the best light possible, and focusing on yourself and your potential mistakes serves to act against this goal.

Reframe your story.

It is easy to judge and harp on mistakes we make or replay situations repeatedly when things did not go as planned, it’s hard to forgive ourselves and move on. When receiving feedback from investors or customers, know that criticism is a free way to strength your business idea; your idea needs to know what is wrong if there is any chance of it improving. Take negative feedback as a data point and take mistakes you may make as a learning lesson. If you are in a rut, tell yourself an extreme version of the story to elicit gratitude for what you did not lose from the situation.

Understand that it is the long term story, not the short term one that will see you to success.

This is really another form of reframing towards a more optimistic outlook. Frankly, nobody enjoys the story of a person going from one high level of achievement to the next with no setbacks, most of us really disdain people who are only high achieving because it makes them less relatable. Remember that you are the master of your own story and you have chosen the career of entrepreneurship which is almost the business equivalent of choosing to be an artist. These downfalls and moments of frustration and self-questioning, could really be some of the more interesting parts of your personal story. Try to see them for what they really are: a growth tool for what could be your better tomorrow.

Learning from experience is one keys to success in entrepreneurship. Take your practice to become more resilient and self actualized very seriously, even if you are practicing in less serious contexts. Remember that you are not just doing this to advance your personal growth, but to stack the deck in favor of your business idea. If you really believe in the idea, this should be no problem for you.

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