It was two years ago this upcoming fall that a mentor challenged me with the statement “you are not acting like an entrepreneur”. It really torqued me because I was still living in an employee mindset. At the time I was a consultant and early founding member of my current company but had not yet left my job of nearly a decade. I had completely changed my career but I was still struggling with the balance of risk vs. comfort, the risk of startup life and the seemingly safe comfort as an employee.
This past week my friends and co-directors at Soma Games and Code-Monkeys were hanging out at our local bookstore. One of us noticed this crazy collection of books on the shelf (see photo). The titles were ironically placed: Automatic Millionaire, Investing for Dummies, At the Bar, Go Down Together and Debt Proof Living. Wow, could there be a funnier group of books to face a team of entrepreneurs? As a team we have seen success, challenge, and at times even faced possible annihilation. The latter two would have broken me two years ago. What has changed for me is state of mind.
I no longer pay much attention to complaints without solutions, watch the clock or live in an anxiety driven day. Yes I still dip into those categories but I quickly realize I have a choice.
I think the greatest thing that has to die continually for me is self-preservation. There is a clip I show when speaking to men that sums it up pretty well. In the true story of E Company in World War II, better known as the Band of Brothers, one of the privates admitted that instead of fighting on D-Day he gathered his parachute and hid till the battle was over. A while later as he is wallowing in his cowardly state on the front line he encounters Lt. Spears. Spears tells him he hid in the ditch not because he was scared but because he thought there was still hope.
I love that scene because it speaks so strongly to our struggle with self preservation and how easily we fall into a victim role. I see it all around me in marriages, schools, businesses and churches. We expect to be hand fed. If things get tough we abandon instead of owning our own roles in the situation. We act like slaves instead of linchpins. We hesitate instead of moving forward in confidence. On our own we all lack dependability. The only dependable thing we have in life is God.
I have chosen to act like an entrepreneur in every area of my life. In my marriage I choose to love with abandon. I own up to my constant struggle between comfort and security. In my business I am assessing my own role in both its successes and failures. I believe this is available to everyone in any situation. Even if we live in slavery we still have control of our outlook and mindset. We always have choices.