Second only to parenting, my journey as an entrepreneur has shaped me into a better human. It has been an odyssey of awakening–from wine distributor, clinical herbalist and teacher, to apothecary and spa owner, and my current capacity as a life-calling mentor.
My impetus was not unlike most. I had found myself in an existential crisis. After seven years of working in the corporate world as an executive for one of the largest cosmetic companies, I found myself in a heap in front of the wall I had just slammed into. As painful as that wall was to hit, it was an excellent teacher. I could see that I was living a life that was in conflict with what I held to most dear up to that point. It was clear to me that I had to make a change or I would perish. I could not continue sacrificing who I knew I was at my core.
These moments in life feel like a crisis but with the gift of hindsight, we are able to view them as a gift – see them as an opportunity to course correct to a path with more meaning, aligned with who we truly are.
After losing my way and then going through an emotional tailspin, I began the process of retrieving the person I had lost.
This process was essential for me to be ready for the thrilling and exciting ride of the entrepreneur, a pursuit that demands self-awareness. Stamina is required for the rigorous, often incredibly scary, and uncertain adventure of the entrepreneur. It necessitates the capacity to undertake risk.
Over these past 30 years as a business owner, I have gathered pearls of wisdom, mostly hard won through painful trial and error; blood, sweat, and tears. The path of the entrepreneur is truly a call to adventure. With fresh eyes, an entrepreneur is able to see something that doesn’t exist yet in the world; a way that something could be done differently than the status quo. This is the innovative spark that inspires something new, better or different to be brought into the world.
Stepping out of the comfort zone of certainty and into the unknown is a leap into possibility. This limitless possibility is restricted only by the imagination of the entrepreneur to dream about what could be. We have to imagine something before we can do it.
This leap is as thrilling as it is terrifying and is one of the quintessential opportunities to glean self knowledge. The entrepreneurial journey continually demands inward reflection to show up authentically. Not to be whom you think you should be, but to be transparent, and faithful to your core values. Herein lie the powerful conditions for how a business can do good in the world. A most effective business model is formed around the mission and values of the founder.
The road of trials as an entrepreneur is truly the hero’s journey; a journey where I have chosen to be the master of my own destiny and in the process have learned, as you will:
- How to befriend your limitations, confront your inhibitions and develop mastery of your inner critic
- The capacity to handle risk, uncertainty, and fear
- What it means to work co-creatively and collaboratively with partners, subcontractors, vendors, and employees
- How to communicate clearly
- That being true to your core values and what you desire most from life, is central to how decisions are made
- How to tap into and trust your imagination and intuition
- What it means to be a mentor
- The contagion of your excitement
- How extraordinary and freeing it is to be the master of your own destiny
- The powerful force of good that comes from entrepreneurship being the most direct way to make a difference in the world
Having the freedom to make decisions on my own terms was the most compelling drive for me and demanded an inward journey and commitment to my mission.
We each come into this life with a mission to fulfill. Choosing to be faithful to this mission is what makes entrepreneurship a sacred path. Our mission is powered by our inner resources, our–gifts, talents, aptitudes, skills, knowledge, character qualities, and life experiences. Knowledge of the resources we have to draw from provides fortitude for meeting the challenges inherent with the commitment. We cannot command what we do not recognize.
Being an entrepreneur demands a willingness to try things, fail, learn from them, regroup, and try again. It’s a continual process of meeting challenges and building knowledge. This process is the greatest teacher for developing tools for befriending uncertainty and fear. Fear is a given, whenever we are doing something important. For someone who pushes herself hard to achieve, I learned how to overcome the shame of failure. The entrepreneurial path develops a comfort with change–what life skill could be more important in a world where change is constant and inevitable?
Investing oneself in a business idea builds trust in oneself. There is a level of conviction in a positive outcome that is necessary for the idea to be successful. This calls the entrepreneur to a level of self-trust that is essential for bringing an idea to market. Trust in oneself is deepened, as the business demands the capacity to make mistakes, learn from them, and course correct. The tenacity required of an entrepreneur builds courage and confidence.
One of my greatest learnings has been getting comfortable asking for help. This is a big one for many women. No one can do it alone nor is that sustainable. There will be things that you don’t know how to do, things that are not your strength. And that’s okay. One simply cannot know everything. Succeeding as an entrepreneur requires that you know your limitations and get help in the areas that aren’t in your wheelhouse–whether that’s in accounting, web design, creating a social media presence, or managing people.
Clients ask me how I am able to see the big picture so easily and how they can develop that aptitude. This is a skill that I grew as an entrepreneur. Goal achievement is a step-by-step process that begins in the entrepreneur’s imagination.
The path of the entrepreneur is the clearest route to bringing your unique genius to the world. This is your gift to the world. Don’t allow self-doubt or the negative opinions of others to sabotage your dream. Be faithful to your mission.
In this hero’s journey, you’ll face your biggest demons around worthiness, feeling like an imposter, and any limiting beliefs you might have about money– and you’ll learn and grow in ways you wouldn’t have otherwise. You will learn to trust your intuition; to hear and head the voice of your inner mentor.
How do you want the world to be different because you lived in it?