When the going gets tough as an entrepreneur…
When you’ve done all you know to do. When your inner circle of strong supporters have encouraged you. When you’ve repeated all of your affirmations to stay motivated… what next? Perhaps you need to go back to the very beginning. The beginning being the dream and vision of ‘Why’ you started in the first place.
Many years ago when I decided to get an MBA, I remember attending my first semester and speaking with other students who seemed so far ahead of me on the pre-assignments and required readings, and it made me feel “Wow, can I catch up?”. I actually attended the first semester with the intention of asking to defer, but the administrator suggested I give it some time and see how I feel before making a concrete decision. I did give it some time, and found myself continuing with the programme. I have to admit that my plans to continue and not defer were bolstered by a fellow student who had encouraged me saying we had it in ‘us’ and would succeed one way or the other. So hey, I continued.
However, one thing I learnt and has stuck with me through my MBA (and life now) is that I always need to have a clear picture of my ‘Why’ before me. And for all those tough times I faced or was remotely tempted to throw in the towel during the programme, it was always that picture of my ‘Why’ that kept me going, and of course many strong hazelnut lattes!
Believe me when I say there were a few tough moments juggling the MBA with a full-time job, as well as a very challenging dissertation supervisor (to say the least), who I later found out was dealing with a personal crisis, which was in turn being taken out on me. Upon graduation at the end of the three-year programme, a few of my colleagues whom we started together had dropped out, deferred the program or were struggling to complete it for one reason or the other. All I can say is I was thankful to God, and having the picture of my strong ‘Why’ always before me.
Your strong why is that dream, vision or goal that you have clearly defined and desire to see it come to fruition. In John Maxwell’s ‘Put Your Dream to the Test’, he says that “If you can see your dream clearly – and keep it in front of you continually – it will help you to understand what you must sacrifice and what you must dedicate yourself to in order keep moving forward”.
Some guarantees on our journey to living our dreams and achieving our goals is that we will face challenges and setbacks, and that voice in our minds that keep asking us ‘why bother?’, quietly challenging us to quit and play it safe. It is at those times we will need to remind ourselves of our strong ‘Why’ amongst all the other strategies that keep us on track when the going gets tough. You are not allowed to play it safe “A ship in harbor is safe, but that is not what ships are built for” – John A. Shedd. You can’t afford to play it safe!
When the going gets tough, we keep going because our dreams speak louder, clearer and stronger, and remind us of ‘Why’.
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Yvonne is a Change Consultant, Speaker & John Maxwell Leadership Coach who is passionate about working with Individuals, Entrepreneurs and Organisations to implement change, drive results and achieve their goals. She can be reached at: www.oliveblue.com . www.facebook.com/oliveblueinc . www.twitter.com/oliveblueinc . www.youtube.com/ChangeYouWantTV