The Real Quest of the Entrepreneur
By Charlie Paparelli
The entrepreneur is loaded with the qualities that spell success. But he is also one of the loneliest guys in town. The entrepreneurs we meet are passionate, driven, enthusiastic, smart and interesting. They are fun to work with and play with. But in the end they are haunted by their idea.
His idea owns him. It is his master. He is simply a slave who is shackled to a beast that leads him all over the place. This master has zero compassion for his servant. The idea pays nothing and demands everything. It can never be satisfied. The entrepreneur can work seven days a week and it is not enough. Everything else in his life takes a back seat. This includes his god, health, and even his family.
He might take a stab at life-balance but the entrepreneur’s idea is always right there in his face. It consumes him. Being a slave to an idea is a lonely life. You love the idea but it never loves you back. This is the life of the entrepreneur.
Entrepreneurs don’t do what they do for the money. They are called to entrepreneur because some big idea came into their head and took possession of their very soul. They are driven to create something out of nothing while doubts continue to rattle around the chambers of their mind. They operate in an environment where everyone and everything is seemingly dead set against them succeeding. This speaks to the depth of their loneliness.
Redemption in people
The first bit of relief comes after convincing someone to be your partner in this new venture. Then come the employees. Can you convince people that they can actually have fun and make a living at making and selling this great idea? With a partner and a few employees comes camaraderie and comfort. But now it has to work. You are spending some serious money on all these “friends.” The entrepreneur quickly comes to the conclusion that it still all up to him to succeed.
Redemption in Acceptance
Ah! The first customer. Acceptance. “I’m not crazy. It is a good idea. It can work.” But this wears thin quickly as the entrepreneur faces running out of money. The redemption from loneliness then becomes positive cash-flow. If the business can be cash-flow positive then the idea will prove itself to be great. We’ll have momentum and we’ll be rich.
Redemption in Wealth
Positive cash flow simply continues to feed the beast. The idea continues to consume the entrepreneur and all around him. It has a voracious appetite. Growth is the next great hope for redemption. But alas, it also fails to fill the hole of loneliness.
Escape from loneliness
There is no redemption from the loneliness. There is only temporary relief. It comes from associating with people who genuinely care for the entrepreneur and from his faith.
The people can be his wife, close family members or mentors. The best folks are those that understand the entrepreneur is a slave and all they can do is support him in this activity. People who know he won’t change. They are folks of great character with business and life experience. Mostly they are people that love him.
Finally there is the entrepreneur’s faith. The promise of a god is redemption. His god may very well be success, achievement or recognition. If he follows this path he reads biographies of successful people, books on leadership or even success stories in Forbes or Fortune. His hope is he will be fulfilled which will bring peace.
But his god may be a higher power that is bigger than he is. I had one entrepreneur who shocked me recently when he said “The only time I am truly free and at peace is when I am reading the bible and sharing in God’s wisdom. The rest is all temporary.”
The idea is at the center of the entrepreneur’s loneliness. It is also his purpose and mission. Surround yourself with people who love you and a god that loves you back.