This week the lesson is perseverance. It was a thread that stretched through much of the reading and videos. The road to entrepreneurship can be long and challenging. We have stars in our eyes and imagine we’ll start a company that will be wildly successful, and then we’ll sell it for millions of dollars and retire. This happens very rarely, but it’s the story we’re told, so we believe it’s common.
The reality is that many businesses fail, and those that succeed often have only modest success. One lesson that rang out to me this week was the idea that successful entrepreneurs aren’t successful because they’re wealthy, they’re successful because they’ve learned to live within their means so that they have the time to do what matters to them. This is the essential idea that drove me towards the path of entrepreneurship, but it can be easy to forget if I am not careful.
On the road to success, the path will sometimes be unclear and there will be obstacles. I really enjoyed part of a lecture by Randy Komisar. He spoke about finding your passion, and there were two ideas that really stood out. The first was the idea of not trying to find a specific point on the horizon, but having a direction instead. We strive to know that specific thing we’re going to do to be successful (the point on the horizon), but it isn’t always clear what that is. Rather, we should understand where we want to head, what we care about, and then move in that direction towards the horizon. As we encounter decisions along the way, we simply need to make decisions that keep us moving in the right direction.
The second idea was that of choosing between the many opportunities that might present themselves at once. When there are ten doors in front of you, choosing one door feels like giving up nine others. Komisar pointed out, though, that through that door will be another ten, and that’s important to keep in mind. When we choose one door, we actually open the way to ten more. We simply have to keep pushing forward in the right direction and not worry about the nine doors we left behind.
These ideas struck home with respect to a lack of clarity and persevering through obstacles. If I can get clear on my direction, I don’t need to have all the answers. Rather, I just need to keep moving in the right direction, making choices that keep me going in that direction, trusting that on the other side will be more opportunity.