VULNERABILITY, COURAGE, LOVE AND ENTREPRENEURSHIP

en·tre·pre·neur

/ äntrəprəˈnər/

noun

a person who organizes and operates a business or businesses, taking on greater than normal financial risks in order to do so.

synonyms: businessman/businesswoman, enterpriser, speculator, tycoon, magnate, mogul, etc.

 a promoter in the entertainment industry.

Is it just me or is the word ‘entrepreneur’ loosely thrown around these days? I don’t want to get on a high horse, but it seems to me that the spirit of entrepreneurship has been watered down to kitschy catchphrases like ‘be your own boss’ or ‘biz boss babe’. I’m all for fun with words, and I definitely snicker at a well-placed pun, but my heart aches when entrepreneurship is misunderstood.

BECAUSE BEING AN ENTREPRENEUR ISN'T EASY

  Being a solo entrepreneur means a lot  of solo coffee work dates.

Being a solo entrepreneur means a lotof solo coffee work dates.

It might be its own form of self-torture, actually. The trouble for the on-the-way-up entrepreneur is that they, well, we… but really, I compare myself those who’ve come before me. I am a Small Business + Life Coach and there are hundreds of us. It is the easiest entrapment to compare my marketing style, my services, even my Instagram theme to others around me. And we all know that comparison is the thief of joy. Thanks, Theodore.

Like the definition says, being an entrepreneur is risky. It’s (sometimes) financially risky, but more often than not the biggest risk we face is emotional. Think of it. You dream up, strategize and invest your energy into your business idea. Entrepreneurs quite literally sink their hearts and souls into the process, and then put it out into the world to be, well… judged. We are basically filleting ourselves open and hoping it’s not all for nought – that someone finds value in our work and says ‘yes’. Basically…

ENTREPRENEURS WANT TO KNOW THEIR WORK MATTERS

We put our hearts on display, literally. You can’t tell me that’s not the biggest risk we take, and you can’t tell me that doesn’t take more courage than financial means. But before courage, comes fear and the yes-no battle to overcome it. And before courage comes the fear of being open about who we actually are.

BECAUSE BEING AN ENTREPRENEUR MEANS BEING 100% VULNERABLE

What I’m saying is, being an entrepreneur is more than having a fabulous product, service, or flexible schedule. The core of entrepreneurship, the part that requires boundless vulnerability and a whack load of courage is the ability to say, ‘Here I Am’.

Here I Am, bearing my heart and soul, all the while internally vibrating with fears of rejection, criticism and heartbreak.

Here I Am, standing tall in the belief that what I have to offer is valuable – that what I have to offer matters.

For me, that’s the crux of this whole rollercoaster ride of entrepreneurship. Vulnerability. Vulnerability, for me, is the birthplace of entrepreneurship. And being vulnerable. Pfffft. Well, that’s no cake walk. Being vulnerable means being open to unknown consequences and reactions. This is the where real emotional risk arises. This is where we may become victim to criticism, to shaming, to abuse. This is where it could hurt.

It’s here, in the hairsbreadth between feeling vulnerability and stepping into courage, where entrepreneurship lives and dies. And this is where a lot of wannabe-entrepreneurs throw their hands up and say, ‘it’s not for me’. The leap from ‘the fear of’ to ‘overcoming it’ can be a chasm too far.

BECAUSE ENTREPRENEURSHIP TAKES COURAGE

  My latest example of courage:  Co-leading the    Stronger Together Tribe

My latest example of courage:Co-leading the Stronger Together Tribe

Have you ever seen a situation of bravery pan out without vulnerability and courage playing integral roles? Before 99% of the courageous acts that occur, there is always a back and forth struggle. The ‘should/shouldn’t I?’ argument rages strong.

I could be wrong, but the acts of courage it takes to be an entrepreneur is something that our pre-Millennial generations severely underplay. If we trace it back, success comes from confidence, which comes from courage, which comes from vulnerability. What I’m saying is, vulnerability is not only deceptive but it’s energetically risky and exhausting. And this is why…

SELF-COMPASSION IS INTEGRAL TO A GROWING ENTREPRENEURS

You need to fill your own cup first. This is why self-compassion, which trust me, is different to self-care, is imperative for growing entrepreneurs. Self-compassion, or loving oneself, is the wherewithal to say, ‘I am doing my best, and my best is enough’. Self-compassion is the ‘being’ pretense to the ‘doing’ action of self-care. I’m a huge advocate for self-care, but bath bombs and candles barely break the surface when we aren’t self-aware enough to emote compassion towards, or to love ourselves.

WHAT IT MEANS TO LOVE OURSELVES AS ENTREPRENEURS

It may seem unconnected, but having the fortitude to love oneself as an entrepreneur might be the hardest job we ever take on. Far beyond creating products or services, entrepreneurs are called to be big and wild thinkers, but so often we minimize ourselves for the sake of fitting in. Humans biologically engineered to be in relationship with one and other, but the traditional path of entrepreneurship dictates we must walk alone to achieve our individual dreams.

It’s true, entrepreneurship is lonely. Fitting in breeds connections, and connections are one element of feeling loved. So how do we fit in, stand out and feel loved throughout it all? We need to find a way to belong, and belonging is fundamentally different to fitting in.

‘Fitting in, I've discovered during the past decade of research, is assessing situations and groups of people, then twisting yourself into a human pretzel in order to get them to let you hang out with them. Belonging is something else entirely—it's showing up and letting yourself be seen and known as you really are—love of gourd painting, intense fear of public speaking and all.’
~ Brené Brown, Braving the Wilderness
Entrepreneurship

So maybe you’re wondering the purpose of this blog post. I cannot say it any better than Brené Brown. The entrepreneurial road, no different to the human journey rests heavily on the way we relate to, connect with, and belong to ourselves and with each other. Entrepreneurship is the journey that calls us to stand up, stand out, and stand tall in our belief that who we are is just as valuable as what we have to offer.

I live my life and walk my entrepreneurial journey with a few unequivocal truths. My way of showing up and my strength of being in the world lies in my candidness, and willingness to ‘go first’ and be vulnerable honest and truthful, when I say ‘shit, this journey is hard’. I believe that in telling it how it is, I can (hopefully) inspire and create a contagion of belonging. Little by little, my mission is to equip others with their own self-perpetuating beliefs that they too, intrinsically matter, and they too, can be who there are and belong to themselves first.

Because if we FIRST belong to ourselves, we will never feel alone.

About the Author

Kimberley Dawn is a heart-centered-right-brained business coach who specializes in strategy + soulful action. She works with women with big dreams to create small/solo businesses, but don’t know where to start. She supports new graduates + young professionals in career transitions to get a head start in the working world.

Through her one-on-one coaching, or her one-hit wonder session, The Big Think, Kimberley Dawn can catalyze you towards the business, career and life you desire.

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