The Incredible Things That Entrepreneurs Do
Being what I would call a seasoned entrepreneur, I have adapted my life on a regular basis to ensure that I fit as much into the day as humanly possible.
From the start, I worked too hard, then not enough, and now I am comfortably somewhere in between. I try and balance the many aspects of being both a marketing and tech entrepreneur without losing who I am and putting some well-needed balance into my life.
Today, I am sitting in Los Angeles at Starbucks doing the café entrepreneur thing. You know where you order a coffee, take hours to drink it, all while using their internet and ambiance to motivate you to get whatever needs to be done, done.
I am sitting near a man who is typing madly. I am imagining that he is an author or definitely someone who types really fast and furiously. He is mumbling as he types and at first, I zoned out, but now it’s getting incredibly hard to put that annoying mumble out of my mind. I transgress.
When you are an entrepreneur you are typically a certain personality type. I am for all intents and purposes an “A-Type” personality without the competitiveness that usually comes with being so in control of everything around you.
The things that I focus on adapting and changing in myself are to improve my output and quality of life. For instance:
- Discipline: By doing the same things each day at the same time I have created a routine. This has allowed me to be more focused on what needs to be achieved out of each day and maximize what is achieved on a minute by minute basis. Naturally, I want to procrastinate, but I know that I have to be disciplined if I really want to ‘make it’. So I try. I always liken the idea of discipline to sports stars or dancers. They have to be incredibly disciplined to reach the heights of their careers.
- Eat well: Have you ever noticed how food makes you feel? I have noticed over the years that some foods make me sluggish, or give me a high then shortly after a low. When my focus is at its peak, so is my performance. Eating well ensures that my brain is optimized and capable of doing what it needs to do.
- Comfort zone: My natural disposition is to do everything in the exactly same routine every day. I am slightly obsessive compulsive, but have worked on this long and hard for at least 20 years so that I can stop getting stressed over the smallest things. However, while routine can help you be productive, it does not make you creative. As an entrepreneur, you have to be creative about the way you do business and be innovative. Going to Starbucks is putting myself out of my comfort zone and amongst everyday people. It’s not great sitting next to a stranger but it certainly makes me think differently. I imagine where they are from, and what they do. Why are they here and not somewhere else.
- Psychology: We all have our own problems and ways of seeing things. As an entrepreneur, it is important that we not only think about our own needs and thoughts but that of others. We have to look at things from different perspectives and re-wire our brains to prioritize what is important, what is a deal-breaker and what needs to be changed. We also have to work out how to communicate that in a way that resonates with the audience and also the legal requirements of running a workplace. Sometimes, we all want to say out loud “WTF” but you can’t, shouldn’t and definitely need to keep that urge at bay.
I am constantly re-wiring how I think about things and trying to see things differently. Every time I realize that I have not put myself in an uncomfortable position for some time, I make sure I do something dramatic.
On Saturday, I went out on a “strangers” boat. I say stranger because they were my friends friend, but not someone I had met before. Boats are captive places. Once you are on, you can’t get off. Worse still, this boat had a lot of people going on it, and my immediate thoughts were to cancel as it would be over-crowded.
But I didn’t. I instead sucked it up, got out there and made sure that I took advantage of talking to people I would not necessarily strike up a conversation with, learning new things about the people who occupy our world.
I jumped in the ocean and cleansed myself off the week. It was amazing. I felt alive.
I then went back to the place I was staying and chatted to a person who was having a career change. My advice was surprisingly sound and I had no idea that I would ever have great advice for someone in their predicament. It reminded me of the things that made me who I am today and I got to reminisce about my first two jobs. My advice was simple:
- There is no shame in starting from the bottom at any age. Everyone starts somewhere.
- Don’t be afraid to do things like make coffee or photocopy, because even though they may seem like jobs that are beneath you, every job comes with the good and the bad, and sometimes you have to do these things to appreciate the fact that you have so much more to offer and you need to make sure that the powers to be know that.
- Never ever give up.
- If you don’t like your boss; think about it. What can you do to appreciate where they are coming from and use psychology to get what you need to from the situation. If you want them to see you as the professional you are and to never “criticize your work”, then put your best foot forward. Make sure your work is error free and that they not only have no feedback, but you have done your research on how to always give them something more. Show them that you can appreciate where they are coming from and you respect them. In no time, their guard will be down. They will know they can rely on you and when that next promotion comes up, you will be first in line.