One of the biggest challenges you’ll face when starting a new business is psychological.
Because, as I mentioned in Part 2 of this series, being an entrepreneur means you create your reality. You have to “believe it” before you’ll see it.
And it’s hard to do for a long period of time. It flies in the face of what others believe when you’re working towards something that nobody else but you can see.
That’s where the bamboo plant can teach us a powerful lesson in entrepreneurship.
Did you know that depending on the species of bamboo, it takes anywhere from 5 to 7 years for it to build its root system underground, without ever coming to the surface?
Which means for up to 7 years, you’ve got to be watering it, taking care of it, with nothing to show for it. However, once the 5 -7 years have passed, the bamboo is finally ready to sprout.
And when it does, watch out!
It can grow up to 3 feet… per DAY. That’s about 1.5 inches per hour!
This is such a perfect parallel to business.
As an entrepreneur, you’re going to have to put in consistent effort for a period of time, often without reward or anything to “show” for it.
This is where most people give up, so knowing this can hopefully provide you the inspiration to keep going when you might not be seeing the results you expected and you know others will be giving up.
This is why it is critical to believe in the vision you’ve created… and to know that you’ll “see” it so long as you keep believing it and keep taking action.
Which brings me to my next point:
Entrepreneurship Requires Leadership
In order to be able to put forth so much effort despite not getting any immediate gratification, you’ve got to cultivate Entrepreneurial Leadership.
This is the ability to take yourself and lead yourself to do new things – things that might be counterintuitive and fly in the face of what everyone else thinks is right.
This kind of leadership means you also have to take full responsibility for yourself, your situation, your decisions, your actions, the results you produce, and the value you produce for others.
One of the qualities I look for when I’m hiring people is a quality I call “Driver.” A Driver takes responsibility for creating a result… They “drive” projects to completion and “drive” through obstacles…
They’re not working to get a paycheck – they’re working to take responsibility and make big things happen. They take responsibility in a way that is more “serious” than other people.
As an Entrepreneur, you must do everything you can to cultivate this “driver” quality within yourself.
What Taking Responsibility Looks Like
One of my favorite quotes is from Helen Keller – “Life is either a daring adventure or nothing.”
As an entrepreneur, you’re going to have to dare greatly and take on risk, time and time again.
This is also taking responsibility. It’s being proactive with your life and being responsible for what you get.
I’m harping on this because as a society, we’re not really taught this from an early age…
Instead, we learn to not take responsibility or try to pass it onto someone else. But as you can imagine, doing this doesn’t lead to a very happy place. When you don’t take responsibility for your life and results – good or bad, then you have no power.
The moment you take 100% responsibility, you are in control and have the power to change things.
So let’s say you’re in a situation where you’re mad, frustrated and are blaming someone or something for how you’re feeling.
Motivational speaker Brian Tracy says that in these situations where something goes wrong, or if you get triggered and you feel out of control, tell yourself, “I am responsible.”
Keep doing this and soon you’ll start looking at things from a different perspective… and you’ll discover how you are truly responsible. Then you’ll see ways to change your situations and give yourself more power in the process.
Responsibility vs Being “At Fault”
Now just a point of distinction here… when I say you are 100% responsible for everything, I don’t mean you are at fault in situations where someone else may have caused an issue.
This isn’t about assigning blame to yourself or to someone else (even if they are to blame). It’s about taking responsibility for how you’re going to react to the situation, instead of being reactive and flying off the handle.
A good leader can take responsibility despite who’s to blame and take immediate action to improve the situation.
All that said, it isn’t easy. Be patient with yourself, as it takes some practice.
But the more you do it, the better you’ll get. Soon enough, it’ll be a habit.
And before you know it, you’ll be a great leader – in charge of a business that provides value to the world and gives you an amazing lifestyle.
– James Mel