The mental aspect of entrepreneurship is greatly ignored
There’s more than enough being written about starting a business, business plans, marketing, how team work should be encouraged, etc., but there’s little to find on what is perhaps the most difficult aspect of entrepreneurship: the mental.
We’ve all heard at one time or another how entrepreneurs have to be creative and optimistic by nature and on top of this show a great deal of perseverance.
But when it comes to how the entrepreneur has to mentally handle success as well as setbacks, much less is known. Eventually, every entrepreneur will be confronted with this kind of challenge and their capacity to overcome it will depend upon his or her mental balance. It’s this lack of balance which can be rightfully seen as the main reason that many enterprises end up on the rocks.
- The price of success
Tragically, it appears that many entrepreneurs are even less mentally well prepared for success than for failure. Warnings abound about the many pitfalls that an entrepreneur encounters on their path, but advice is oddly lacking about the hidden temptations a successful entrepreneur will be exposed to.
In the euphoria which tends to accompany success, it’s not always easy to keep a cool head and be the sober numbers cruncher who, in these kinds of moments, should rein in the reckless conqueror!
Additionally, cash flow is sometimes perceived as profit and given out prematurely on all sorts of latent desires for luxury and status. Then the taxes, receivables and inventory financing can all suddenly be compromised.
- The Adversity Test
By contrast, adversity puts the entrepreneur to the test in another way. How does he or she handle problems which have a direct connection to the enterprise itself and to external threats, over which there’s often no way to exercise control?
How does the entrepreneur react to declining sales, excessive sick leave, and cash flow problems but also to recessions or bureaucratic red tape?
A lot depends on the mental resistance of the entrepreneur and whether he or she feels 100% responsible for the ups and downs of the enterprise. It doesn’t do any good to place the blame on employees, the business partner, the competition, the government or the economy for the problems with which one is faced.
Placing the blame on others actually suggests that the responsibility lays elsewhere and means the entrepreneur isn’t personally responsible anymore. By doing this the entrepreneur almost automatically renders himself powerless to do anything about the situation. This powerlessness leads again to frustration and stress.
It’s primarily stress which can play havoc with the entrepreneur. If stress goes on long enough, it can have an adverse affect on the ability to think rationally and pretty soon, decisions will be taken which are driven by emotions.
On the contrary, the entrepreneur who feels completely responsible and realizes that he or she is the only one who can actively do something about the situation is empowered. This in itself does not solve every problem, but in any case the essential positive attitude is present.
Along with this goes the principle that complaining is counterproductive. By complaining one identifies with negative thoughts and it can be all too easy to get stuck in this. Negative thinking is like a magnet that attracts more negative thoughts.
Complaining is really just another way of refusing to take responsibility. By giving someone else the blame, one deflects the blame from oneself. The entrepreneur who feels 100% responsible, who is aware of the destructive power of negative thinking, who doesn’t let himself get stuck in the past and learns from the mistakes, has the greatest chance of conquering adversity.
- Sounding Board
The above underlines yet again the complexities of entrepreneurship. Especially the still inexperienced entrepreneur could benefit by occasionally making use of the experience of others who have already personally dealt with this before.
Even the experienced entrepreneur is regularly confronted with unexpected situations which he or she doesn’t know how to deal with. A good sounding board can help to avoid a lot of trouble.