By Starla Sireno (Co-Founder & CEO, Fearless Women Entrepreneur Network)
Dear Entrepreneur/Aspiring Entrepreneur,
I may not have met you before, but I know a lot about you. You are my people. I love your passion, creativity and scrappiness to get it done.
But the thing that I love most about you is that you are an Idea Machine.
Is there a week that you don’t have a new idea? They come to you in the shower, at a restaurant, in the car, or over drinks (oh wine, you inspired the ancient Greek and Roman philosophers and you still do the trick today). Ideas are intoxicating. They are your oxygen. Each new hit sweeps you up into a vision of what could be. You imagine what it would be like to….
- Create something of your own
- Do things your way
- Make an impact
- Feel like your gifts were being used
- Have financial freedom
- Be challenged
- Be surrounded by interesting people
- Do interesting things
Oh the high… Each idea is like falling in love all over again. Face it, you’re addicted to the high. Whoa there, don’t get defensive. I don’t mean it in a bad way. I just worry about you. Sure, some of the ideas work, but most of them don’t. It’s not always your fault. Business is complicated. Bad timing, the wrong partners, lack of momentum, the distraction of your day job or an even better idea for a venture.
Each time one of your ideas doesn’t work, I see how it fans the flames of fear. You don’t trust yourself like you used to. Your confidence isn’t what it used to be. Where is that cocky “I can do anything” attitude that you used to have?
People ask you about your business and you’re embarrassed to tell them that it didn’t work out. You have stopped telling people about your ideas because you’re tired of feeling like you never stick with anything. The false starts and dead-ends have taken their toll. Like someone with a broken heart, you don’t trust as completely or leap quite so blindly. The fears, doubts and what-ifs are louder than they used to be.
- I never finish anything.
- I will never be able to create a successful business.
- I get to a point and I quit.
- I don’t think I care enough about one thing to stick with it.
- This is going to end up just like the other 3 ventures I started.
- Maybe I’m just not cut out to be an entrepreneur.
- I don’t know if I have the energy to do this.
- I don’t have the ____(fill in the blank: discipline/vision/right people/knowledge, credentials, guts) to really make this happen.
The fears rumble around in your head, finding evidence to prove their validity, until one day you give up and tell yourself that you’ll never truly succeed.
Can I give you some advice? Stop chasing the new at the cost of you.
How many times have you been enticed by the new? It didn’t matter what it was, who was involved or what you were doing, you were ready for a new adventure.
“Is there a problem with that?” you say.
It’s a problem when you sink your time, energy and money into something that you’re not that into. It’s like marrying someone who you think it just ok. But, but…what about the experience, the connections, the learnings and the potential pay-out? I hear you, but can you really fake it that long? Can you continue to trudge along not really caring about the product, doing a job that you don’t like or being bored?
What if the real reason why ideas don’t stick is because they’re not truly aligned with who we are and what matters most to us? How likely are you to be successful if it’s a great idea, but one that you honestly don’t care much about?
My friend, I hate to see you doubting yourself. I know you can do this. One last parting piece of advice.
You will create something successful if you follow this one simple (but not easy) concept.
Stop looking for answers “out there.” Books, magazines, advice from friends, family, mentors and experts about what is hot. Conflicting opinions about what you should do. It’s overwhelming, exhausting and won’t get us any closer to our life’s work unless…
Unless you take a step back and tune in to the only one who really has the answers – you. Before you create the business of our dreams, you have to silence the outside world long enough to really listen to your own truths.
- What am I passionate about?
- What am I meant to do?
- What do I wish I had more of in my life?
- What am I good at?
- What is my definition of success?
Once you start to see how amazing and unique you are, maybe you won’t be so willing to give away your talents to any old venture. Maybe you’ll only choose ones that feed you, that make you stronger and that make use of your fabulousness.
Don’t let anyone dim the light of your creativity, least of all you.
About the guest blogger: Starla Sireno is the co-founder and CEO of Fearless Women Entrepreneur Network (FWEN), an organization dedicated to helping women entrepreneurs succeed through programs, events, and entrepreneurial coaching. FWEN launches their 1-month Ideation Program on July 16, 2011 for women who want to translate their passions, strengths, values and creativity into a venture that is truly aligned with who they are. For more info and to register, click here.