There are so many articles written about “things I wish I had known 5, 10, 15 or 20 years ago” and hindsight is a wonderful thing. A little time travel and the odd adjustment would enable each of us to pop back, avoid mistakes or rectify them quicker and easier as we would already have benefitted from the learning experience. We would know what innovations lay ahead of us and we could get in ahead of the competition. Better still we could leave the pioneers to do the hard work and then take over the market with something we know to be a few stages beyond what anyone else was capable of innovating at the time.T
Children dream about what they want to become as adults. Children look forwards; not backwards. They envisage what it’s going to be like to go to college, to graduate, to work, build a business, a family, a life. Somewhere between childhood and adulthood, that ability to project forward is lost in many people. They somehow lose their childhood optimism and indefatigability.
Entrepreneurs are different to most people. They see opportunity, promise, endless possibilities. Sure, they get the same knocks as everyone else but instead of being ground down by them, they learn from them. They relentlessly pursue their dreams. The dream may not work out but there’s another waiting in the wings. And another.
Entrepreneurs are often seen as loners; people who don’t quite fit in. And they are often lonely to begin with because they are constantly pushing to achieve their goals. Whilst people all around them are enjoying life, the entrepreneur is busy making things happen. They are gathering all the information and acquiring the resources they need to succeed.
Not everyone understands or appreciates entrepreneurial passion and determination. They cannot identify with the need to make huge sacrifices, the strength of self belief or the visionary capabilities. If people cast their minds back to their childhood they may realise that they started out pretty similar to one another. So what changed? What made their lives so different? It’s certainly not all down to luck.
Hardship is perversely often integral to success – perhaps a bereavement or financial hardship or being bullied. Many people are disadvantaged in some way or another. Those that succeed however, often have one crucial thing in common – a mentor. It may be a teacher, a sports coach, a family member or a neighbour who recognises their potential, believes in them, inspires them, imparts words of wisdom, shares their own experiences, dedicates time to them. Someone who listens to their ideas and dreams, even when nobody else will, and who will help make them happen providing support and guidance.
Entrepreneurs too can benefit so much from finding a mentor – someone who can work with them to distill that uninhibited enthusiasm and determination and give them encouragement, inspiration, support, guidance, wisdom and the benefit of their own experience.