Will You Survive Your Entrepreneurial Hero's Journey?
Starting a business comes with a maelstrom of emotions – elation and excitement to pursue your passions, but also fear of the unknown mixed with the anticipation of freedom and wealth at the end of the journey. If this sounds familiar, then you are on the ultimate, real-life hero’s journey: Entrepreneurship. Do you have what it takes to survive?
We’ve all read classic adventure novels that follow the Hero’s Arc:
1. Hero is drawn to the spirit of adventure
2. Faces trials & tribulations
3. Has a massive transformation
4. Applies new knowledge and ultimately comes out the other side a stronger/wiser/happier/richer (you fill in the blank) person
As an entrepreneur you are on the ultimate adventure. The call of the unknown and the lure of freedom and wealth at the end of the journey are intoxicating, but before you know it, the initial excitement wears off, the challenges and tribulations of being a business owner set in, and you are mired down with doubt, overwhelm and frustration without a resolution in sight. Too many entrepreneurs get stuck in this leg of the journey, and just like the classic adventure arc, you’ll need a little help to get make it through.
The Missing Links
We sometimes forget that the hero never makes the journey alone. Through the trials & tribulations chapters of the adventure, there are two people that play crucial roles in his success. The Mentor: someone successful that encourages and provides advice and support, and The Ally who has done what you’re doing, and has the experience and expertise to help you through the transformation.
They may seem similar, but the important difference is the Mentor gives you the space to apply their advice, learn and ultimately grow from the experience, while the Ally actively helps you through the transformation. Think Gandalf in the Lord of the Rings or Dumbledore in Harry Potter. This may be someone you already know that has achieved their own success, and the experience of their journey can guide, inspire and propel your own.
The Ally has not only been where you’ve been, they have expertise and experience, and they welcome the opportunity to help you. To carry on the previous examples – think Sam to Frodo or Ron and Hermione to Harry. Just like running a business, the trials and tribulations phase is too much to face alone. Having an ally to watch your back helps you create real-life magic – giving you an extra set of arms to lessen the load and coverage so you can be in two places at once.
When These Forces Combine...
When these two figures combine, they have an incredible impact on your ultimate success because without a mentor to provide an outside perspective, you may never see past your blind spots or stretch your perspective. Having a good mentor helps you expand your mindset and understanding of the possibilities, but also puts someone in your corner to cheer you on (or kick you in the butt) when the road gets tough. A mentor gives you the reality check and pushes you to continue growing and moving forward.
Having an ally aids your transformation by assisting you through today’s challenges and allowing you to act on the opportunities that the mentor has exposed to you. Having an experienced ally at your back supplements your skill set and helps you get to the next level. With everything that needs be done to sustain your business, the only way to clear the noise and move forward towards success is to have a strong ally who can manage what you don’t need (or don’t want) to do so that you are free to tackle bigger opportunities.
With the mentor and the ally at his side, the hero-entrepreneur is able to make the transformations necessary to successfully complete his journey, achieve the unachievable and is happier, stronger, richer and wiser for it.
So are you the hero in your entrepreneurial journey and do you have these two roles in your corner, expanding your horizons and supporting you so you can transform your business?
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