Being an entrepreneur can feel like the loneliest job in the world. This is true for two reasons. First, you have no boss to protect you. Second, everyone you talk to is on the defensive because they feel like you are selling them something. Loneliness is the reason many entrepreneurs fail. Not because the business is hopeless but because the entrepreneur lost hope. He fails because he gives up. He quits.
There is a prescription which defeats the entrepreneur’s loneliness. Which prevents him from giving up. Take this prescription and you will press on even on those days you feel defeated.
The prescription is simply this: You must be clear on “why” you are doing what you do.
When I was about to launch this blog, I met with Jacqui Chew, founder of iFusion. She is a highly regarded content expert in Atlanta and leads Tedx Peachtree. I have great respect for her. She allowed me to present my blog idea beginning with its vision and mission and moving through strategy and on to tactics. She provided some great ideas and then asked the question, “Why are you doing this?”
I stumbled a bit, then told her I love entrepreneurs and want to help them. She said, “I know you are an evangelical businessman. Are you sure you are not trying to convert people?”
I insisted this was not the case. I simply want to help entrepreneurs.
I wrestled with my answer all night. The answer I gave was not the real answer. I wrote her an email the next day and here is a portion of it.
The greatest value from the session was the question: “Why?” Although I answered this question, it continued to haunt me. My vision statement and my answer to you were inconsistent. That is bad.
I am interested in people coming to know Jesus as their Savior. However, my intention is not to convert but to expose people to who He is and how he fits into what we do from day to day as entrepreneurs. I believe going it alone as an entrepreneur is crazy.
Therefore, my articles will be focused on addressing the issues entrepreneurs face each day and expose them to my thinking and approach on the subject. As I said, the Bible tells me it is God the Father who brings people to Christ. We are talking spiritual renewal process here, not selling or apologetics.
When someone asks, “Why do you…?” you must have an answer that connects deep inside yourself. It must be your reason for being. This is what gets you up on the mornings when you want to stay in bed. This is what propels you to great heights of purpose when you have momentum.
The highly successful people I know lead with their “why.” It may be a vision for your life, righting a life-changing family experience, changing the world or reaching people for Christ. No one ever says they do it for the money. If that is your true “why,” you will quit at some point. You will hit obstacles as you build your business. You will come to the conclusion, there is a better way to make money.
Here are three daily practices that help keep my “why” in focus.
1. Daily Prayer
Your “why” must connect with your soul. This means it was given to you by God as part of his reason for creating you. The world will get you off track. Connect daily with your Creator, and you can be sure you will stay true to your “why.”
I find prayer time precious and critical. I spend my first hour in prayer and reading the Bible, the Word of God. When I ask, followed by silence, he answers me. It comes in the form of encouragement and ideas.
2. Consistent Process
We all have goals. There is much written about goal setting. Successful people always commit their goals to writing. But goals can also be oppressive. If this were not the case, we wouldn’t be so lost in sticking to our New Year’s resolutions.
To get past this negative self talk, stick to process. My goal for my blog is to write two helpful articles each week. When I sit down with the objective of achieving that goal, I am overwhelmed. My self talk goes something like this, “There is nothing new for me to write about. If I write one article, I’ll never get to starting and finishing another. If I am lucky enough to produce two this week, I’ll be bone dry for ideas next week.”
All this talk is self defeating. What I now do is commit to the process. The process says sit down and write for an hour and a half per day. When I do this, I somehow complete two articles per week, and it happens without stress. Stick to process and the process will reward you with achievement of your goals.
3. The Best People
You don’t have to go it alone as an entrepreneur. There are people all around who can and will help you.
Over the years, I had many false starts for this blog. I tried to create the site in WordPress and Typepad and got frustrated. It just took too long and was never good enough. I attended two different two and half day seminars on blogging and building a presence on the web. I took notes, collected ideas, and wrote a couple of blogs that were never published.
This time I got serious. I hired a professional. Gregg Hinthorn is a friend, encourager, and critic all in one. He is invaluable. He created my website, edits my writing, helps me be a better writer, publishes my articles, sends my tweets, and much more. Without him, my blog would not be a reality, nor would it be of the quality it has attained.
We all need people to help dispel the loneliness and keep us tracking our “why.”
Take the prescription for defeating your loneliness. Commit to your “why” and stay on it with daily prayer, consistent process, and the best people.