Self-Esteem and the Entrepreneur
By Skye Thomas
Isn't it funny how people think that being self-employed is so cool? They think that you get to take lots of vacation time and spend all of the profits. What they don't realize is that you put in outrageous amounts of blood, sweat, and tears to get there. They don't know that you have to take the blame for every single thing that goes wrong. They don't know how many times you fell flat on your face before making it work. They think that you simply come up with a cute little idea over dinner one night and within a couple of months you're flying high living the rich man's life. The reality of the situation if very different. Statistics consistently show that most successful entrepreneurs failed a handful of times before finally finding that winning formula. It's during the failure years that you earn all of those future vacations and big fat salaries. Delayed gratification takes on a whole new level, doesn't it?
One of the toughest things to learn during those failure years is the self-esteem that comes with it. Self-esteem doesn't come from having everything come easily and effortlessly. Real self-esteem comes from having worked yourself until you're almost in tears and then having someone tell you that you're working too hard and ought to just quit. Real self-esteem is explaining to your folks for the umpteenth time why you're still poor and struggling at self-employment instead of getting a "real job and making lots of money as a salesman like your baby brother does. Real self-esteem is deciding to learn from your mistakes instead of giving up and quitting. Real self-esteem is being financially bankrupt and giving it another try anyway, because you just know that this time you're going to make it all come together.
These are the types of events that form good businessmen. Ladies, you know I'm including you in this too. Real self-esteem is when you tell your husband that you are not going to give up on your silly little dream and that it's not just a stupid hobby, it's your company and your career aspirations. These types of events give us the backbone it takes later to be able to make the tough business choices that make the difference between breaking even and making a profit. These types of events teach you how to stand up for yourself and what you believe in. Self-esteem is not having to justify your business decisions. You know what's best for you and your company and you really don't need anyone else's blessing, approval, nor support. If you can't do it without someone cheering you, then forget it. It's not called other-esteem or coach-esteem or friend-esteem. It's called self-esteem because you have to muster it up all by yourself.
You don't have to have a lot of self-esteem when you launch into self-employment, but you'll learn it along the way or else you'll never make it to that luxurious lifestyle that keeps floating through your daydreams. To get started, you just have to really believe in your product. Nobody can really be 100% positive that they are going to succeed at their first attempt at self-employment. After you have had a few years of failures and some successes, you start realizing that you actually know a thing or two compared to the newbies coming into your industry behind you. There will always be someone who knows more then you and someone who could learn from your experience. Self-esteem comes from knowing that you can learn and that you will continue learning until you get it right. Don't expect to feel perfectly confident all of the time. It's all a big game and you have to find the rule book while trying to master the game.
I once opened up a fortune cookie while struggling with the decision of whether or not to launch my own company or not. The message inside the cookie read, "The world needs your gift as much as you need to give it." That little fortune has since fallen apart and been thrown away, but I always have a newly typed up version of it scotch taped to my computer monitor. It has reminded me many times over, that I do this not for the money, but because it is who I am. What else would I be doing if not running this little company of mine?
Sometimes, we entrepreneurs keep going simply because it's who we are. We are a different breed and it's part of how we define ourselves. The way that others are musicians, or politicians, or teachers, or doctors at the very depth of their soul, we are at the depth of our soul entrepreneurs. We must play at that particular game because it's what we do. Sometimes we have a spiritual mission behind it, or a vision of the world being better off for having purchased our environmentally safe product, or a deep belief that people can be helped and nurtured by the services offered by our company. It's who we are, it's what we do. Self-esteem shows up later as a result of reflecting on just how far we have come in our attempts to accomplish such an important goal.
Self-esteem isn't knowing that you will succeed. It doesn't come from having all of the perfect craftsman's skills and the perfect level of education before starting your own company. It's knowing that you can acquire whatever skills and knowledge you don't yet possess. It's knowing that you are capable of working hard and tenacious enough to see it through to the end. It's knowing that as much as you appreciate the cheerleaders in your life, that you'd keep going even if nobody else believed in you. It's knowing that you don't know everything you need to know but that you are capable of learning more. It's knowing that the world needs your gift as much as you need to give it.
Copyright 2004, Skye Thomas, Tomorrow's Edge
About The Author
Skye Thomas is the CEO of Tomorrow's Edge, an Internet leader in inspiring leaps of faith. As an entrepreneur, she understands just how difficult it can be to continue chasing a dream when everyone else is telling you to give up and quit. Her books, articles, and astrological forecasts have inspired people of all ages and faiths to recommit themselves to the pursuit of happiness. Webmasters interested in generating more repeat traffic to their websites are invited to check out the secret of Skye's success at www.TomorrowsEdge.net/horoscopes-generate-website-traffic.html. To read more of her articles, free previews of her books, and her astrology forecasts, go to www.TomorrowsEdge.net.