Owning a business is the new cool as more start-ups spring up every day. The uncertainty of running a business coupled with the unstable African market and other global issues makes it far from easy to handle. So how do entrepreneurs manage to keep up that success-inspiring, life-as-an-entrepreneur-is-fantastic image that they all seem to project? The truth is that they don’t. Entrepreneurs struggle, just like everybody else.
It is human to feel some level of uncertainty about who you are, especially when you fall short of your expectations. Entrepreneurs are not exempted from feeling this way. What happens when they realize their brilliant idea was not so brilliant after all? Here are some reasons why entrepreneurs develop identity crisis and how to deal with them:
Being Too Intertwined With The Business
To be seen as a successful entrepreneur, is no doubt a thing of pride. Here you are, a superhero solving real-life problems. For some people, it is the fact that they know that people rely on them for this reason that bring them self-fulfillment. When things progress well in the business, it boosts the founder’s self-esteem and sense of value.
However, the journey through entrepreneurship is similar to life’s journey; full of ups and downs. When things go awry with the business, it begins to affect the founder and he/she may struggle with their identity.
It is important to understand that as much as you and your business are intertwined, there is more to you as a person than your business. You should strive to keep things in perspective at all times; even when things go bad, remind yourself that it’s just a lesson and don’t let it detract from who you really are.
Being Too Focused On How Others See You
It is human to care about how others see you. What you should avoid is placing more value on how they see you than how you see yourself. When well-meaning friends and family try to convince you about giving up your business to find a new job; thank them for their good intentions but follow your heart. Don’t let their words, attitude or behavior scare you into making unnecessary decisions.
Most of the overnight successes you are trying so hard to become spent years silently doing the work before they got recognized. Focusing on what others are doing will only distract and confuse you. Focus on yourself and discover your strengths and weaknesses; then try to improve on them.
Being Scared To Admit To Mistakes
Making mistakes is part of the entrepreneurial journey. A lot of successful entrepreneurs made a lot of mistakes prior to their success. As an entrepreneur, you are already regarded as a pillar of the society, someone who solves problems. This is probably why it would be difficult to admit that you were wrong about a venture. In fact, some entrepreneurs go as far as adopting the “The Fake It Till You Make It” mantra and pretend as if all is well when cutting their losses would be a far better option.
Remember that a mistake can be converted into something good if you own up to it. People might mock you for a while and express their displeasure but that should not put you down so much. Walking away from a wrong decision is the first step in moving in the right direction.
Making Decisions Based on Personal Feeling Vs. What is Right For The Business
A lot of business owners struggle with their identity because of this dilemma. Imagine having to make the decision to fire an employee who is absent minded at work. Your business instinct tells you to get it over with because the employee is not putting in the required amount of work. Yet, you as a person feel awful about rendering another person jobless with the number of unemployed persons already roaming the streets. How do you let such a person go without feeling like a fraud especially since a great part of your reasons for starting your own company was to empower others?
This problem could present itself in another form such as you trying to promote locally made goods when your business has to import some things to fulfill your standard requirements. This could create internal conflict because you are saying one thing and doing another.
The only way to deal with this is to be very specific with what your core values are as a business. When faced with an impossible decision, look towards those values and let them guide your actions.
Although, almost every entrepreneur will struggle with their identity at some point; there are ways to keep things under control. Spending time to reflect on who you are, where you are and where you are going is a good way start. You can keep an identity crisis in check by creating a well-balanced life outside of your business.
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