Have you ever looked yourself in the mirror and ask yourself: “Do I have an entrepreneurial spirit?”
And what was your answer?
Perhaps it’s was like mine – another question – What is an entrepreneurial spirit?
What is an entrepreneurial spirit?
I wish I had a short simple definition for you that you could just wrap your head around but I’m afraid not…but stick with me and you’ll get it.
In my country Barbados, fishing is a big part of the economy. Not only for the fishermen to earn income but to feed the nation as well.
So at the first sign of rough weather, the Meteorological Department issues a warning for fishermen to haul their boats to safe harbor.
But you know that boats weren’t meant to remain in safe harbor.
So, as soon as the warning is lifted, you can watch in awe as another fisherman loads up his boat with bait and supplies. And with his entrepreneurial spirit firmly in place, he sails into the mighty ocean to supply his trade.
In addition, the fishermen know that to get the best catch, they have to lose sight of the shore, even though they run the risk of going adrift.
Sometimes we hear of fishermen who go missing for sometimes more than 20 days and then they turn up, safe in another Caribbean island.
When they return home, they rest for a day or two and then they are back in the ocean, doing what they do best.
This is a true entrepreneurship spirit!
Because of this, every time I’m stuck, every time I’m afraid, every time I feel like giving up, the fishermen come to my mind and in that moment, I know I can go on…
And that’s the importance of the entrepreneurial spirit.
Do you have the “fisherman’s” entrepreneurial spirit?
As an entrepreneur, you CAN live your life and grow your business using this “fisherman approach”.
Look, many times in our businesses and in our lives, we reach points where we’re no longer growing and change is necessary. This means that we have to leave the safe and familiar behind and sail into the unknown.
But unlike the fisherman, even though circumstances are not pleasant, we tolerate the increasing discomfort because we’re afraid of the unknown and dare not “lose sight of the shore”.
In order to move up quickly you have to be strong and rely on your entrepreneurial spirit. The big question then, is:
How do I know if I have an entrepreneurial spirit?
I’m sure there are many ways you can tell. But I want to share a checklist of 7 ways, from my personal experience and from my clients, which you will find useful.
If you are already doing most of these, whoopie! You do have an entrepreneurial spirit.
If you don’t, now is a good time to start…
So if you’re ready, let’s discuss them…
1. Remember your purpose for starting the business
When you reach a difficult place with your business, it’s easy to question why you started the business in the first place. Your reason for starting your business might make little sense to the rest of the world but it made perfect sense to you.
Perhaps you’re a passionate creator who just wanted to share what you do with the world. Or a freedom seeker who wants to be in control of your time. What if you’re a legacy builder with a strong desire to secure your own future and that of your family?
But right now, you feel like a struggling survivor just about to give up…or even an entrepreneur by desperation. But you can’t give up…
This is the time to remember and focus on why you started the business. You will find that the purpose is far bigger than your present struggles and truly worth fighting for.
2. Control what you let into your mind
I really mean that. The irony of entrepreneurship is that it can really kill your entrepreneurial spirit.
A business can take you to a place where you can feel like a total idiot for even starting it.
For example, You default on your debt and the lenders are treating you as though you stole something. And your boring, risk-averse, 9 – 5 friends are gloating over your “foolishness”. Believe me, I know this first hand.
But your debt doesn’t define you! And your purpose must be fulfilled. Whatever is happening around you, YOU are in control of your own mind and this controls your reactions.
So read, read, read. Read the autobiographies of successful people and learn how they overcame their difficult times and the big lessons they learnt. Have conversations with positive people, listen to uplifting music and fill your mind with positive affirmations.
Talk to other entrepreneurs at your level, more successful one, and those who are up and coming. The ideas and the conversations will amaze and inspire you.
Remember…what you focus on increases. Every time.
3. Strengthen your body to change your state
When you’re down, it shows up in your body and communicates to the world exactly how you’re feeling.
One of the fastest ways to change your state is to change your body. I find it impossible to feel depressed when I’m standing up tall, smiling and walking confidently.
You really need to get physical! Start some form of exercising and if you’re already exercising, up your game. Add some weights, challenge yourself to do more.
Along with working out almost every day, I hike at least once a week. Apart from the physical benefits, for the 3 hours when I am hiking, I can think of nothing else. Then when I am finished, the euphoric feeling of accomplishment from one hike remains with me right up to the next hike.
So build your entrepreneurial spirit by strengthening your body.
Sorry, laying in bed and feeling sorry for yourself is not one of your options.
4. Get back to the “winning” basics
When things are not going how we want them to, it’s so easy to be consumed with what’s wrong and behave as though nothing was ever right.
But there was a time when you were successful…a time when your entrepreneurial spirit was in full flight…a time when you were stepping out and accepting new challenges.
When things go off course, a good strategy is for you to review what you were doing when you were successful.
Get out your real pen and paper and write down exactly what were your strategies. Follow them all over again and watch the speed with which you will be winning again. Yeah…go ahead and break the rules if you have to.
To support you even more, if you’re self-employed here are 25 realities for your success.
5. Hand-pick your network
One of the most difficult things for some entrepreneurs to do is to ask for help. After all, striking out boldly on your own is the essence of an entrepreneur.
However, when you need to change and grow, building a network of carefully selected people will help you to do so much faster. Yet, too many entrepreneurs extend the pain or difficulty by trying to “do it” alone.
Don’t be afraid to surround yourself with a network of friends, associates, vendors, mentors and advisers who can help you to overcome challenges fast and provide guidance as you grow.
Here’s what I mean.
At the front-end of my business I help people to grow and change and grow their businesses as well.
However, on the back-end I have my own fabulous collections of mentors, advisers, business associates, a personal trainer, a money management coach, all designed to help me achieve my goals speedily and safely.
Do like me. Build your network today!
6. Feed and Strengthen your (entrepreneurial) spirit
When you hit your proverbial wall, one of the things that will help you is to get deeply in touch with that side of you that is greater than the physical – your Spirit.
I will not tell you how to do this because chances are, you have already worked out your own spirituality. But whatever you do, always find a way to give thanks for what you have.
Every day I write 10 things I am grateful for in my journal. Doing this forces me to focus on the positive and leaves little room for negative thoughts.
Remember that everyone of us has been designed to achieve high levels of success, along with the ability to prosper and the right to be happy.
Your present difficulties are just a significant part of your march to success.
The resources you need to do this are within you. As you continually develop yourself, you will discover them. Then you will eagerly sail out of your safe harbor, lose sight of the shore and take on the rapid waters of opportunity.
7. Focus…and move forward
Holding on feels safe.
But just like the fishing boat, our businesses aren’t meant to always stay in safe places.
They are meant to grow and provide society with valuable goods and services. They are supposed to provide us with an income, a comfortable life and personal satisfaction.
What moves you forward is the decisions you make at any point in time. The decisions you make are based on what you focus on.
Here’s how it works:
You are focusing on the fact that your business is not doing as well as you want it to and that leads to certain feelings.
You ask yourself: What does this mean? Is this the end? Is this a new and exciting opportunity?
The meaning you give to what you’re feeling leads to the decisions you take.
For example, if you feel this is the end, you will close the business. If you see it as an opportunity for growth you might go in search of a new business partner.
So focus on the positive, take the gutsy decisions and move you and your business forward!
How did your entrepreneurial spirit measure up?
How many of these things are you already doing?
Are you unhappy with how you measure up?
You don’t like the unfavorable circumstances you are presently experiencing in your business?
I have learnt from experience that unfavorable circumstances in our businesses are signals that we’ve done as well as we can at a certain level. They tell us it’s time for us to move up and experience new levels of business and personal growth.
Therefore, I am urging you to let go of your fears and sail into the uncharted waters. Be guided by your own internal compass and remember…
You will hold on when you let go!