The early stages of a business owner’s journey hinge upon the ability of the budding entrepreneur to make a life-changing and unalterable decision. These are not decisions that will make or break you, but these are the decisions that will follow you around for the rest of your life.
You could end up as a success story or as a cautionary tale. While the specifics of the journey vary from entrepreneur to entrepreneur, there is an archetypal pattern that all business owners–at least the ones in this day and age–tend to share and have in common.
The first baby steps that all entrepreneurs embark upon are mirror images of one another. They are, after all, on a collective journey together that traverses time, space, distance and even generations.
1. The King or Queen of the Castle
It all begins here. It all begins in this place I like to call ‘here’. It is a place of untenable stability. We’ve built an edifice. It’s self-contained.
I see this as someone who’s living alone in a one-bedroom apartment. He’s got a job. He’s got a decent salary. His life is pretty stable, for all intents and purposes.
But outside of this self-containment, the reality is that if he were to step outside of it; he would end up down and out. Everything that his stability hinges upon, even if one piece of this puzzle were to move–BOOM! It would all come crashing down.
This is not always the product of a personal screw up or because you personally did something to disrupt it. Rather, what got you thus far is not getting you any further. What was once sustainable, ceases to be sustainable.
You reach a point in your life where you want to be promoted. This impulse for things to change can come from an internal place. I’m tired of all this, I can’t go on like this anymore. Stagnation, boredom… Nothing much is happening. When things are stable for too long, they eventually reach a point where things get stagnant.
He or she is the King or Queen of the Little Castle. And it’s a castle that’s really far away, in the woods or in a cave somewhere. It’s even hard to get there. You may need a horse or something…
It’s a self-contained life or environment. A single person or bachelor living by themselves. The moment something comes to change it, however… It changes forever and unalterably.
Yes, you had it all together–as long as all these puzzle pieces were in their place. But the moment one of these puzzle pieces move, even just a little bit, you won’t be in this place of stability anymore.
You may choose to call it a false sense of stability. But I actually think of it as a stability that is built up upon a certain structure. The moment there is a bit of movement…
BOOM. It’s all over. Everything is gone.
2. A Period of Poverty Consciousness
The concept of poverty, real or imagined, emerges in our consciousness when we fully allow ourselves to experience a tangible loss that is irreversible. This could be of a job, a home or even a home city. We allow ourselves to let it all go. This can be a scary time.
At this point, it can go one of two ways. You get depressed and find yourself down in the dumps. You blame society and become an angry person. You look at all the rich people in the world and wonder, “Why am I not one of them? When will my day come?”
This is a point in some people’s journey that may be embarrassing or even humiliating. But it’s a superficial feeling, if you think about it. It’s like going window shopping and feeling the urge to buy the thing you see in the window. You feel terrible cause you don’t or can’t have it. It’s a childish feeling. Cause I can guarantee you that even after you do have it, it won’t bring you much happiness. At best, you’ll have nicer clothes; but you’ll still be the same person on the outside.
The alternative is, you go the other way and ask, “What am I seeking, what am I meant to be doing?” You start seeking the bigger and deeper answers to what is happening to you and why it is happening to you.
What am I truly meant to be doing with my life? What is my true self? What is the highest expression of myself in this very temporary and short-lived earthly incarnation? We all know that this life business isn’t forever, so how can I make the most of my brief sojourn on earth? Whose lives am I meant to be contributing to?
These are not easy questions to answer. I think the questions themselves scare a lot of people. But the answers will find you, once you start asking the right questions.
Just last week, I heard a colleague of mine say to a student, “If you ask lousy questions, you get lousy answers. If you want to get good answers, you better start asking good questions.”
Once you’ve allowed yourself to let it go and fully experienced that tangible loss, you will suddenly see and experience a window of opportunity, even though you’ve experienced an irreversible loss.
You now have, within your grasp, the chance to do something entirely new and different. That window is shining brightly. Or perhaps you hear a church bell chiming in the distance telling you that your time has come. You see a lighthouse on the other side of the shore and you say, “I’m heading there!” There’s a higher purpose for me. Something more that I am meant to be doing.
Restitution is the process of returning something that was either lost or stolen to its proper owner. This occurs when an opportunity we had missed out on, probably a long time ago, makes a comeback or returns to our lives.
It is most likely a talent that we had in our younger years that we didn’t get the chance to explore, schooling that was left unfinished or even dormant skills that we learned and never put into practise. This is when the inner and outer inventory of the totality of our lives begins to flourish.
We begin to seek a sense of true balance, instead of settling for simple stability. Bit by bit, you could even say coin by coin, we come to realise that we have so many dormant and previously inaccessible talents and traits that we didn’t even know existed within us.
During this stage, people embark upon a journey of self-discovery that would not have been possible had they stayed in their stable state of inertia. I know a lot of people advise that you should keep your day job while working on your side hustle, but that decision is not sustainable indefinitely either. At some point, you will have to choose one and give it your all.
Once we’ve made a decision on the path we know we must pursue, we should start asking people for help. It could begin with receiving a grant or a loan. You can decide to go back to school. We’ve seen the window of opportunity and we’re now in a place where we’re willing to ask for help. Help is being offered. When others see us having a hard time, there is one of two ways in which people respond: they either help us or ignore us.
Help, however, will be offered; in one way or another.
For Lady Fortuna, has and will always, favour the brave.