You ARE the best project you will ever work on. And my goodness, doesn’t entrepreneurship test you to the limits as a lifestyle? Though I am yet to climb Mount Kilimanjaro, I kind of expect the process and the journey to the climb to be similar to that of an entrepreneur.
The preparation: body, mind, spirit. The practice: physical, emotional, mental. The experience: the pleasurable, the taxing and the not so pleasant.
But in the midst of it all, those that I know who have climbed “Kili” say it is an awesome life changing experience. A series of epiphanies where you test your limits and overcome what you thought were your limits, only to uncover a wealth of character and potential that had hitherto been dormant in you.
And that is exactly what entrepreneurship is about.
The mountain climb of entrepreneurship takes you through a steeplechase even amidst the rocky mountains.
Entrepreneurship can uncover the transformational leader in you, the strategist in you, the win-win negotiator in you, the learner in you and the doer in you.
But entrepreneurship can also, inter alia, uncover your impatience, your fiercely competitive streak, and your deep fears covered up as domineering leadership – which is no leadership at all.
Being an entrepreneur has a leadership and strategic responsibility. It confers a certain leadership responsibility upon you in that it requires you to stay your course as you work with yourself and with your team to make your enterprise dreams happen. That’s the simplest form of entrepreneurship. Preparing to climb Mount Kilimanjaro, procuring a physical trainer prior to and during the journey, and getting to the top of the mountain without once stopping to enjoy the breath-taking surroundings, nor to take stock personally and with your fellow climbers.
Where entrepreneurship gets strategic is when you make a decision to be a responsive, dynamic business and business leader that consistently responds efficiently and effectively to the changing needs of your clients and or society. For then you as the business leader have to creatively and successfully carry along your team through that change process and some may not want to go along with you. They may say it’s too hard, or that it won’t work. The strategist in you works with them to share the vision in an effort to carry them along. But if they do not share the vision, you wisely let them go and even offer them their position back should they change their mind.
But it doesn’t stop there. Getting to the top of ‘Kili’ exhausted but triumphant takes more than physical stamina and in your entrepreneurial journey you will need much more than just physical stamina. For what if your idea, that hunch you had that led to a decision to alter your business products and services falls flat on its face? That’s when it gets really tough, and that is when you start to work on Project You, to the level of an epiphany for yourself, your business and your team. And the epiphany journey will be lonely, rough and tough even though eventually transformational.
I think of Oprah Winfrey as I write. I think about Martha Stewart. I think about so many other women entrepreneurs who have suffered mountainous trials but were able to stay the course believing that you can finish marathons and steeplechases, no matter how harsh the terrain. In so doing they worked on the best project they could ever work on – themselves. And they came out better and stronger as did their businesses.
We will gather the courage to go the whole nine yards, and to give honor to the potential of our entrepreneurial aspirations.
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