In today’s culture, entrepreneurship is glorified. But for all the wrong reasons.
We elevate founders – well, the conventionally successful ones – to heights previously reserved only for rock bands and movie stars.
Success, the ultimate American value, is exemplified by the narrative of the solo dreamer who had an idea and then through grit, determination, and deserved good fortune, achieved fame and material wealth within his lifetime.
Of course, this story is a fabrication. No one achieves success alone. The road from idea to IPO is never a straight, ascending line. And the original seed was usually planted in the very fertile soil of privilege.
It’s problematic, if not dangerous, to define success only by individual achievement. After all, the finish line is such a minuscule moment on the journey.
Instead of celebrating results, what if we focused on the extraordinary value and infinite lessons of the process?
What if, instead of isolating the individual, we appreciated the intricate ecosystem of people and circumstances it takes for anything remarkable to occur?
Building a worthwhile business is never a solo endeavor. Neither is building a worthwhile life.
It’s easy to default to the position of being along for the ride on the journey of life. Here’s what it looks like:
I can’t change careers. It’s too late.
I can’t be happy right now because of my current circumstances.
What I really want is too hard/scary/requires asking for help, so I’ll go for something else.
I don’t have time.
I can’t change because our family has always been this way.
I don’t have enough ___________.
No one will help me.
It’s just not worth it.
At Pregame, we define “entrepreneur” broadly. Yes, you may own a business. But the key word isn’t business, it’s “own.” Ownership is a responsibility to show up, to evolve, to pay attention, to show value, to grow.
Exactly what makes for a rich and wholehearted life.
Once we assume the role of CEO in our own lives, we no longer have these excuses. There is nothing to hide behind.
We are now in charge. We create the vision. We are empowered to make decisions. We choose our team.
This may sound like an ideal, but it is actually incredibly difficult. It is harder to assume responsibility for ourselves and our own lives. Choosing what we want to do and who we want to be, choosing to be rigorously honest with ourselves and “come out” about who we really are and what we want, is perhaps the greatest risk. It is exposure. It is vulnerable. It is not well received by those who have opted for a lifestyle of middle management.
Here’s what no one talks about: the choice to be your own CEO is not a one-and-done decision. It is a daily, and sometimes hourly, decision to be true to yourself, over and over again. It is radical acceptance of what is really going on, and raw courage to continue on a path that is not straight and for which there is no map.
But here is why it’s worth it.
You will experience joy. You will be fully human. You will grow in compassion. You will feel your feelings. You will know who you are. You will fall in love with yourself. You will be whole.
Your entrepreneurial – that is to say, creative – journey of life should not a solo endeavor. You need a team that is equally dedicated to both their own journey and to yours.
Beware of the bullies – those tour guide hucksters that will tell you they know the exact path and that it will never be difficult and you will be happy forever. They are operating out of fear. That fear is their own uncertainty about their own path, and that insecurity is temporarily calmed by making sure others affirm or adopt their exact path. It’s the multi-level marketing approach to life.
Instead, decide to be the kind of Entrepreneur who creates because they cannot not create. Who builds something meaningful out of love and possibility, not just for a 10x return.
Be curious. Be hopeful. Listen. Take breaks. Celebrate each step. Find your team.
Are you with us?
Join us at Pregame HQ to explore these ideas and more at Best. Summer. Ever. We’re in this together.