Monday, June 23, 2014

Reminder to stand strong against the waves because it could be temporary

Entrepreneurship is a path, a lifestyle and ultimately a journey. You begin, face have challenges and, eventually through struggle and hard work, you succeed. Whether you’re about to begin your path, or are perhaps floundering in the dark and stormy woods along the way, knowing the three basic elements of a good story just might help you survive entrepreneurship.

Knowing the three stages of the hero’s journey just might help you identify where you are on the entrepreneur’s path and help you reach your intended goal.

Remember, it’s not just the destination, it’s the journey.

Step One: Departure or Separation. Entrepreneurship requires departure from the comforts and security of “normal” life. Sometimes, your departure from the standard path is solely your own choice to follow the vision you just have to follow. Other times, your journey might be prompted by a layoff, downsizing or other unexpected change in your previous corporate status.

Whatever the reason for the departure, it often feels scary and exciting simultaneously. Just how frightening or amazing it feels has a lot to do with how much choice you had in making that leap versus being pushed but, regardless why you stepped on your path, enjoy and congratulate yourself that you’ve gotten this far. As the Chinese philosopher Lau Tzu said, “the journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step.”

Welcome to the path, fellow traveler.

Before you take that leap, here’s my advice: It’s going to be really, really hard. So you got to believe in your vision, in the problem you want to solve/in the need that yours can satisfy, because it won’t make sense any other way.

Meanwhile, you got to be OK with that your classmates who played it safe and earning a six figure income. He’s driving an Audi, eating in posh places like Andre’s, clubbing at Mink and dating that super-hot girl. He’s got the kind of brand name experience on his resume that’s a springboard to anywhere else. (He could easily be a she; reverse as desired.)

This is the price you pay if you do decide to run your own, and it’s real no matter how sexily the media dresses up entrepreneurship. The only way this cost makes sense is if you believe in your vision; to the point where it doesn’t even matter if you fail while pursuing it – the act of trying is enough.

Otherwise, the hours, the doubts, the persistent lack of extra money (where most money go to staff,regulatory cost and whatsoever hidden cost), the decisions that proved wrong, the friend you recruited who turned out poisonous…all those things will wear on you. You must believe in what you do and enjoy the process, otherwise the price is too steep.


Step Two: Initiation. Campbell calls it initiation, but you can think of it more like challenges. Maybe, when you started, you thought the world would embrace you with open arms but, now that you’re on your way, you realize it isn’t quite so simple.

Just like the hero in every story or myth you’ve ever been told, you have to earn your success through trials and challenges of growth, discovery and failure . This is rarely a brief stage of the story. In fact, this is where the bulk of the journey takes place. As an entrepreneur, this is where you can expect frustration and the agony of lots of setbacks, even failures and many ungodly late hours when all you want is rest. Luke Skywalker lost a hand. Odysseus had to face the Cyclops and almost died from the lure of the Sirens.
You will face a series of serious, sometimes disastrous challenges along the way but, if you remember the hero’s journey, you’ll find the skill, mindset and wit to overcome.

A good peer group can help! Luke had the rest of the crew to help him defeat the Death Star and get back the empire. Odysseus had his men tie him to the mast when he otherwise would’ve succumbed to the call of the Sirens and jumped ship to his ultimate defeat.

Keep your good friends and an understanding support group close by to master the challenges and overcome the failures of your entrepreneurial initiation.

Step Three: Return. The hero must eventually return to the beginning place to realize how far he’s come. So, too, will you at your success moment.
You will know you have come far and that the starting place, while still there, it’s forever changed because you are changed from the journey.
You will repeat the hero’s journey with each pursuit you have in life but never again as a novice.
You can never return home from the journey the same person.

That’s what ultimately makes the entrepreneurial journey worth it. When you’re battling initiation and grappling with defeat, you are also gaining experience, honing great skills and developing priceless relationships. You’ll start another project when you realize the success of this path, yet you’ll never travel as the same person again.

And while cash flow and business experience matter, the real secret, he says, “starts in your head with your success mindset, attitude and positive thinking.” This is what gets you through the struggle.

Be where your customers are … and communicate with them there.” – 

“Never stop networking, never stop pushing. It’s easy to give up when everybody around you … is telling you ‘you can’t do it’. You have to be around positive people. Then push on.”  

“Our first three years were brutally tough… every day was about survival. Then I remembered a lesson from my father. Your mind is everything, yet it’s not what you know, but rather how you deal with it. It is about your mindset and positive thinking.” 

“Entrepreneurship is one of the loneliest professions in the world. The entrepreneurs that are really successful reach out in networking groups and peer associations — or just to one person. They need that thought partner.”

Adam Toren

Serial entrepreneur, mentor, investor and co-founder of
* Doing your own business is like a marriage. Starting it is probably the easiest stage. To persevere on mentally and emotionally is what creates the break through. Of course also with lots of prayers *

1 comment:

  1. Love the application of Joseph Campbell's monomyth to business, art, and life! To "Hero's Journey Entrepreneurship!" You'll enjoy the scholarly articles and lectures here:

    Dr. E’s 3 Stages of Hero’s Journey Entrepreneurship: “Story is the soul of a work,” and as story is the unifying theme while the soul is immortal, those who wish to create unified, lasting ventures must begin and end by honoring the soul–that force that presents the ideals and dreams successful entrepreneurs render real via rugged, relentless action, in the humble service of their peers.
    As a testament to the overarching ubiquity of mythology in business and art alike, the The Hero’s Journey Entrepreneurship Festival has hosted both creators of the world’s largest financial institutions and movie studios, alongside economists researching the parallels of the heoric monomyth and entrepreneurship. Dr. E’s “hero’s journey” syllabus/outline, conceived of in a class devoted to entrepreneurship, was picked up on the #1 screenwrting blog:
    Go Into the Story: The Web’s #1 Screenwriting Blog: The Hero’s Journey as entrepreneurial model? GITS reader and long-time friend Richard Rumble sourced this interesting site that uses Joseph Campbell’s theories re The Hero’s Journey as the basis for teaching entrepreneurship. At first, that might leave you scratching your head, but check out this outline from the website: Artistic Entrepreneurship 101 Outline: (Based on Joseph Campbell’s classic Hero With a Thousand Faces) # 1 Structure (based on wikipedia’s monomyth): The executive summary of your artistic business venture.
    Dr. E’s The Hero’s Journey in Arts Entrepreneurship & Technology
    * 1.1 Departure (or Separation): Taking that first step–blog your vision.
    o 1.1.1 The Call to Adventure: Artistic passions & dreams
    o 1.1.2 Refusal of the Call: Is it practical?
    o 1.1.3 Supernatural Aid: Use the force, Luke. The harder you work, the luckier you get.
    o 1.1.4 The Crossing of the First Threshold: Business structures / market research
    o 1.1.5 The Belly of the Whale: The business plan, raising funds, intellectual property
    * 1.2 Initiation: Building the team, incorporating
    o 1.2.1 The Road of Trials: Striving toward profitablitity
    o 1.2.2 The Meeting with the Goddess: First customers! Early success!
    o 1.2.3 Temptation: Seeking short-term profits over long-term wealth.
    o 1.2.4 Atonement with the Father: Competing or collaborating with the big guys–the Microsofts and Apples, the Hollywood studios
    o 1.2.5 Realizing the core business Apotheosis
    o 1.2.6 The Ultimate Boon: Newfound business acumen!
    * 1.3 Return: It is all for naught without the road back!
    o 1.3.1 Refusal of the Return: Don’t lose site of the core business!
    o 1.3.2 The Magic Flight: Exit strategy! IPO or selling the company!
    o 1.3.3 Rescue from Without: When business competition is your best friend.
    o 1.3.4 The Crossing of the Return Threshold: The venture is a success!
    o 1.3.5 Master of Two Worlds: You know what it takes–like Richard Branson you can do it again.
    o 1.3.6 Freedom to Live: Financial freedom to pursue your dreams!!


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