In this article we’re talking about how to assess yourself and get an idea of how powerful you are as an entrepreneur – an individual who creates a product or service and does what’s needed to bring it to market.
We’re going beyond the more common stuff you come across online in this subject, and skipping all the tests to focus on what’s inside you. Because let’s be honest, before you’ve proven yourself, it can be extremely hard to step outside yourself and all the emotional content, and see what’s really going on.
Step 1: Gauge Your Commitment
How can this be done? How do you measure the level of commitment that’s driving you towards a certain entrepreneurial goal?
Honestly, that’s a very difficult question to answer. But, there’s one way, and it does take a little bit of a philosophical leap. If you look up quotes regarding commitment, you’ll inevitably run into one attributed to a couple brilliant men. Who etched it into history isn’t important, and it’s a long quote so we’ll stick with the most pertinent sentence:
“The moment one definitely commits oneself, then providence moves too.”
Meaning suddenly all sorts of interesting meetings, “coincidences”, material and monetary assistance, outside affirmations, and miraculous events begin happening once you’ve truly decided.
People often feel like the universe, or God, or destiny is leading them.
Remember the last time this happened to you?
It doesn’t need to be about starting a business, or building a new prototype, but committing to anything really. The point here is, try to step back and see if there’s anything like that happening. On the other hand, If it seems like all of life is against you or everything you try to do ends up in disaster, then the first thing to do is take a realistic look at your level of commitment. Chances are you’re holding back, hesitating.
Do you have to believe in something to commit to it?
No, not necessarily. Plenty of people blindly commit themselves to actions and causes and all sorts of endeavors without believing in any specific end result that’s supposed to happen down the road.
We could go a step further. Have you ever been working crazy hours on a problem, then when you get COMPLETELY distracted for a little while and aren’t concentrating on the subject…boom, the epiphany you’ve been waiting for strikes?
It’s not some mystical thing.
Whether we realize it, right now our subconscious minds are absorbing an absolutely staggering amount of data. This goes on around the clock. What you’re actually concentrating on only accounts for a small portion.
Evolution, if you will, has afforded us the ability to ‘wake up’ and finally assemble the mental pieces. Once you’ve committed, this tells that unfathomably powerful mind of yours to,
“Go to work and watch for useful tools and anything else that might help us!”
You might not notice everything going on around you, but your mind does, and that’s why it seems miraculous when all these strange occurrences you would never have otherwise thought would happen begin to ‘pop out of nowhere’ and manifest.
Step 2: Challenge Your Current Discipline
Some people make the mistake of thinking that simply going through the motions, day in and day out, is commitment. And that’s true to a degree, but consider how easy it is for the mind to switch into autopilot once it’s comfortable with whatever series of actions.
What you’re trying to do here is challenge your current routine. See if there’s enough commitment (NOT passion), or you go into complete panic mode. Find ways to force yourself outside what I like to call the “discipline comfort zone.” For example, you may be super-disciplined, juggling family, a 9-to-5 job, and attempting to build a company.
But what happens when that comfortable system you’ve created is shaken?
How do you cope with your day to day being disrupted or thrown into a completely different direction? Frankly, get used to it because in the entrepreneurial world it’s as common as the sound of typing.
Step 3: Test Your Risk Taking Ability
Here’s the deal, if you’re an entrepreneur then right now in this very moment as you read these words there’s at least one risk you aren’t taking. Probably more than one.
Well, why aren’t you taking them?
Don’t get me wrong, no one’s suggesting you start acting reckless or make irrational decisions. I’m referring to the risks you’re excited about, and scared of not because of the downside risk, but because of the overwhelming or intimidating payoff.
It shouldn’t surprise you to hear tons of folks who consider themselves entrepreneurs are chillingly afraid of success. They are! It’s more common than most realize. And rightly so, as anyone that’s experienced even a moderately-high level of success will admit without flinching.
- Suddenly, money problems can snowball as numbers get much larger.
- Relationships with family and friends can be challenged.
- There can be a huge emotional and physical toll.
It’s not all shiny lights, luxury and smiling faces!
Before you’ve been there, to test your success-fear levels, start by taking a risk or two that could possibly get you there. Maybe that’s just reaching out to someone you wouldn’t expect to reply. Maybe it’s an investment, or bringing on that certain someone, or whatever it is. You get the idea.
Step 4: Kick Your Goals Up a Couple Notches
I’d be willing to bet you’re being conservative. You’re choosing, purposely, not to think as big or as bold as you could. If that’s not the case, then bravo, you’re one in a zillion. The rest of us are INCREDIBLY tempted by mediocrity because it’s comfy, cozy, familiar, and far more predictable.
There’s a quote maybe Jack Dorsey said, to the effect of,
“It’s far easier to find success when you go big with a project rather than small, because there’s a lot more competition towards the bottom of the food chain. Aim big and enjoy more.”
There’s countless reasons people fear success, and really putting their necks out there.
Everyone’s a little different. Can you think bigger? Can you raise your internal intention-level?
It’s not about more, or better, but what leads to an increase in positive impact. An example would be, let’s say you create the solution for a problem that a million people face at any given time. What if there was a way to improve the solution, and thereby make it accessible to a billion?
Speaking of billions…
Step 5: Count the Details Beneath You
In his article, How to Think Like a Billionaire: 7 Easy Steps, Naveen Jain puts it like this,
“To get from a crazy idea to a billion dollars, not only do you have to be obsessed but you also have to believe that no detail is too small to deserve your attention, because more often than not, especially in the early-stages of building a business, companies fail because you missed some small detail. They rarely fail because you missed the big picture.”
Out with it, how many small details are you putting off right now? How many are waiting to be addressed? Most importantly, how many small details of your entrepreneurial life or venture do you consider petty, or beneath you?
When you can honestly say none, or zero as far as you’re aware, then you’re thinking like a successful entrepreneur. Sure, you can say, “The Devil’s in the details.” But, how often are you following through? Hopefully you’re spending deliberative time searching for these types of details!
Step 6: Count Your Haters & Aliens
If you don’t know what a hater is, these are people who don’t want to see you succeed – some from jealousy, some because they’re your competition and you’re on their radar as a threat, and sometimes just because people want to knock you down or depress you.
Haters are great for testing your resolve. Imagine a singer that gets “hated on” but doesn’t flinch, puts out another song and hits the tops of the charts – thus leading to more haters and more hit records and so forth.
Aliens are just the word I use for people who are completely different from you in as many ways as possible – perspective, culture, career, etc. Talk to strangers. Go to different places. Get outside your habitual routes. Gravitate towards those dramatically different from you, and don’t worry, most people respond well to someone that’s sincerely interested in them.
The more haters and aliens, the better, in most respects.
Step 7: Get to the Core of Your Inspiration
Why do you seek to be an entrepreneur?
Until you get to the absolute core reason, you’re lying to yourself and not giving everything you have to offer. You’re holding back.
Here’s a really crude example.
In just about every mainstream or big box fitness gym in America are people who have been working out there for YEARS and basically look the EXACT same as they did when they signed up. But, if you ask them why they work out all the time, they’ll say this kind of stuff:
- To look better.
- To be able to perform better.
You know? There’s 100 common, cliche, boring, and near powerless why-statements that struggling entrepreneurs give as well, the equivalents to, “I like long walks on the beach…”
Be honest and always go a few degrees deeper. For example,
- I want financial freedom. Why? To travel more? Why?
- I want to be my own boss. Why? Because I hate working for others. Why?
Keep digging. And don’t worry, you’ll know it when you’re operating on the core why.
Step 8: Reevaluate Your Cosmology
Aright, so why do you exist and how do you fit into this world/universe? It’s a big hard question, I know, but you DO know the current answer. Perhaps it’s been a while since you verbalized it, but trust me, your cosmology is intertwined into nearly every decision you make every day.
It’s important! Wouldn’t you rather be aware of it?
- Exercise: Write down 10 simple sentences – statements about why you exist and how you fit into the world. Like, “I exist to become a great person.” or, “The world is helping me become an entrepreneur because…” Then you can begin breaking these down and examine whether they’re in line with your goals or not. Like in Step 7, keep digging to get to the core.
Simply put, a sizeable portion of people fail as entrepreneurs because that’s not really how they see themselves in the world. Their relationship with, “the universe” or “life” is one in which they’re much more of a follower than a leader.
Changing this though, is but a choice away, as you’ll notice if you start studying the most successful entrepreneurs out there today and through history. Folks just decide to change the game, and commit, and as we talked about in Step 1, then the universe, or life, or providence move too.
Wow, that’s quite an internal journey we’ve laid out there. It’s worth it though. And I’d argue these are the places to find your unique secret sauce as an entrepreneur.
From checking your levels of commitment and risk aversion, to finding your core inspiration, everything begins internally. The first major steps to being a successful creator and innovator are all taken inside, no feet involved. Cheers and here’s to your success.