Being an entrepreneur can be equated to a person riding a lion. Toby Thomas, CEO of EnSite Solutions explains that people look at the person on the lion and thinks, “This guy’s really got it together! He’s brave!”
And the man riding the lion is thinking, “How the hell did I get on a lion, and how do I keep from getting eaten?”
When someone chooses to enter the lion’s den of entrepreneurship, it is important to count the cost, and prepare for it adequately. Build a support network to ensure you can endure the journey without being eaten, while competitors, investors and clients perceive you as a brave lion rider. This includes building the necessary support network and ensuring your mental well-being can withstand the inevitable ups and downs.
Let’s talk self care.
In another animal metaphor, entrepreneurs are like cheetahs. While being the fastest animals on land, cheetahs have high levels of anxiety, leading zoos to provide them with support puppies in order to manage this. You, as an entrepreneur, might not need a puppy, but you will certainly need support.
Entrepreneurs are typically highly driven, passionate people taking risks in exchange for potentially large rewards. It is a well known fact that the entrepreneurial road can be lonely and bumpy. Read on to see how self care and support can increase your likelihood of success.
Believe in yourself
It all begins with you.
Believe in yourself and your abilities to make this venture a success. Practice positive self talk and share your vision in an uplifting, positive manner at all times.
Surround yourself with supporters
Find friends, family and mentors who believe in you and motivate you to keep going.
Have a core crowd that you can be real with, share your struggles with and be uplifted by.
Be intentional about your personal and professional growth – set goals and measurable action steps to achieve personal goals. Develop habits that build you as a person and ensure you stick to this.
One indisputable fact about entrepreneurs is that they are intrinsically human. Humans need rest in order to function optimally.
A lack of sleep not only affects your physical help, but it also severely affects productivity and economic contribution. A study by the American center for disease control estimates the economic loss to the US economy due to lack of sleep at $411 billion annually.
With high levels of self-motivation, drive and passion, it is easy to be a workaholic. However, in order to sustain your entrepreneurial journey, you have to establish healthy boundaries and ensure you get sufficient rest.
Set ambitious yet attainable goals
Ambition is a necessary ingredient in the entrepreneurial mix.
As Bill Gates rightly said, we overestimate the change that will occur in the next two years, but underestimate the change that can happen in 10 years.
Goals are important, and a long term vision is absolutely crucial. Dare yourself to dream big and set very ambitious long term goals, while breaking these down into more attainable shorter term goals.
Celebrate small wins
Set yourself up for and celebrate small wins.
This creates a momentum and serves as natural motivation.
Ensure there is an opportunity for a small win every day – these will add up to a big win over time and motivate you to keep pushing ahead.
Be open to learning
It’s dangerous to think you have all the answers. Learning is a core part of the entrepreneurial journey, you should view it as necessary for your growth rather than an obstacle thereto.
Be intentional to learn and upskill, and ensure you take time out for this.
Ask for help
Learning from those who have ridden lions before will considerably reduce your likelihood of being eaten.
Startup mentors, accelerators, incubators and community events will provide you with access to lessons that you might otherwise need to learn the hard way.
If you lack in certain areas, get help from experts or outsource those specific functions. Do not feel like you need to be self-sufficient or able to do it all.
In conclusion, ride that lion and outrun that cheetah, but don’t do it unsupported or at the cost of yourself. The entrepreneur is at the heart of the business, and it’s up to the entrepreneur to ensure that it keeps beating.