The release of the most recent Star Wars film brings to mind the idea of the hero’s journey. The original Star Wars was predicated on Joseph Campbell’s Hero With a Thousand Faces, a work that explores the universal journey every human makes, be they Jedi’s, warriors, or even entrepreneurs. In the spirit of the hero’s journey, here’s a look at the trials and tribulations found in the journey of being an entrepreneur.
Becoming an entrepreneur can be a daunting prospect. Self-doubt is one of the first and biggest barriers to overcome. It’s very easy to not believe in your capabilities, to say “this is impossible,” “I can’t do this,” and “I’m doing this wrong.” It’s not uncommon for self-doubt to linger even into the later stage of business of ownership. Trust that this is just a phase. As you gain more experience and confidence you will find that doubt, like a rainy day, will eventually pass.
When you first start planning for your company, you may find yourself possessed by a new-found sense of purpose. Everything you put on paper may seem possible. You may feel yourself buoyed by an overwhelming sense of positive energy. This is good and, if harnessed, it will carry you far. But often this newfound sense of optimism flees at the first sign of trouble. If that does happen, don’t worry. Just keep pushing onward.
When it rains, it pours. Entrepreneurship is a very demanding pursuit, and the challenges of it should not be underestimated. You will find yourself short on cash, needing to fill positions, missing projected goals and seeing the rise of major competition. During this time, it is completely natural to feel concerned, but you must try to channel this frustration into overcoming the obstacles that you face.
Rest assured, after spending several months of slogging through your first venture or after moving on to your third, you’ll eventually get the swing of things. You’ll be better able to take on any challenges that come your way, more smoothly negotiate with employees and investors, and crunch the numbers to get you where you need to be.
Even the most successful entrepreneurs face defeat at some point, whether it’s with an individual project or a whole venture. Failure is something to be embraced. Failure means that you are experimenting, that you’re taking risks, that you’re growing. As painful as it may be to experience failure, try to look at it as a growing pain.
After facing defeat, it is only a matter of time before you’re at it again. This is an exciting time. Not only are you getting back into the game, but you’re doing so with lessons learned from your previous experiences. With this new stage you may even find yourself going from Doubt to Confidence, skipping the stages of development in between. Even if your company fails several times, the total amount of experience gained will make a better, wiser entrepreneur out of you.
After years of Setting Forth and Defeat and Rebirth, you’ll eventually reach a state of equilibrium. The things that once rattled you no longer do so (well, maybe one thing will). Good decisions will become second-nature. You’ll have perspective on what failure means and how it can be converted to progress. At this point, you’ll be asset to any business you involve yourself with.
The article that inspired this piece can be found on entrepreneur.com.