I’ve been thinking a lot about where Bite Size Learning is going over the past few weeks. Over the past few days I’ve been struck by a few different sentiments that have propelled me forward. In the spirit of the sharing economy I’d like to offer them up here for others. Think of it as some curated content for the frustrated entrepreneur...
1) Willingness to Pivot.
In an Entrepreneur article by Sam Edwards a few weeks ago, Edwards wrote about The 9 Growing Pains Entrepreneurs Need to Overcome. #8 hit home: Willingness to Pivot. In it he says "This is one of the more painful growing pains an entrepreneur experiences but also the most critical. It doesn’t feel good to give up on your idea, so you have to look at it in a different light. Instead of viewing it as "giving up," look at it like you’re transitioning. You’re using experiences that you’ve gathered to make an educated shift that will better benefit your business in the years to come.” He’s right. Just because your first idea isn’t working out the way you think it should doesn’t mean it’s a bad idea…its just a “project that needs tweaking” to quote one of my favorite movies.
2) "Never Mistake Motion for Action” - Ernest Hemingway.
I realized I’d been going through the motions rather than forcing myself to take the hard next step. Whether that means throwing myself fulling into digital marketing around my brand or pivoting, I need to take real action. As I think about this quote I also realize that if I truly analyze the times when I felt like I was failing over the past year, it was because I was in motion mode, not action mode. In an effort to avoid this in the future I’m instituting a mandatory “Step Back” day every 6 weeks. I’ll take the day to look through my activity of the past 6 weeks and determine what real action I’ve taken and what action I can take next.
3) Never Forget Why You Started.
Confession. I have a Pinterest board of inspirational quotes…and I scroll through it when I’m having a bad day. I call it Words to Live By and it’s filled with words…lots and lots of words. Some are about love, others about life, and many are about self, happiness and achieving. This weekend, as I mulled over what I should do next with Bite Size Learning, one thought kept resurfacing: I started this company for two reasons - #1 to help people and #2 to build a happier, healthier life for myself. Right now I may not be achieving #1 to the degree that I’d like to be, but I am achieving #2. That may sound selfish, but it’s important to be a little selfish. As entrepreneurs we often work through the night, forget about eating, worry ourselves out of sleep and stress-out like that was actually our job. What we need to remember is that our health and happiness need to come first - if that goes, all other success is meaningless.
4) Open yourself to the world.
I used to work with a fabulous woman who would repeat the mantra, “clean aura”, often as she treaded into unknown or unstable territory…I’ve taken that mantra and twisted it a bit but I still credit her for bringing the idea into my life. Instead of “clean aura”, I like to think “open aura”. The more open I am to the world, the more I find to inspire me. Looking through this post, I’ve been inspired by both things I’ve set up intentionally and by the random occurrences/instances/reading/moments in my life. When I open myself to the world, inspiration follows.
5) Its ok to to doubt.
While the media may tout the self-confident, ego-maniacal leaders out there as the ones who make things happen, I truly believe that doubt is a good thing. Doubt is basically just another word for fear…if we didn’t fear we couldn’t be courageous. Never forget that being an entrepreneur is courageous! Just taking that first step takes courage. It’s ok for the doubt to linger and to follow you through your journey…just make sure that you overcome it when you need to and listen to it when it’s overpowering. That, is wisdom.
And on that note… even if you’re still doubting, I hope you’re a little less frustrated! Happy (almost) Independence Day! Take a break - give yourself the freedom to step back and remind yourself why you started this crazy journey. And most importantly enjoy the holiday. :)