Looking Before you Leap: Rules of Mental Engagement
2014 was the year of connectivity. We watched our entire world become one huge web of posts, pictures, likes, comments, and interests. If you weren’t paying attention, you could have easily fallen victim to connection overload. You know that numb feeling you get when everyone on your social media, texts, and emails is conversing about the same thing? Yup, that actually happened recently with the Oscars. But what does that mean to ordinary human beings such as myself? Furthermore, what does it mean for our desires to, one day, give our boss the pink slip? Yes, connectivity has a lot to do with it, but the rabbit hole runs a bit deeper. Since we are in the age of limitless connection, those of us who are looking to the people in our feeds to spark some type of inspiration as to where should we go next to kick the cubicle to the curb, are being flooded with every business known to man. So how do we pick through the weeds to get the roses? Let’s be clear: if you want to succeed in making even a one percent profit, whether you are in web-based business, day-trading, or building diesel engines, you’re going to have to break some mental chains. Don’t believe you have any? The fact that you still haven’t taken the leap into entrepreneurship is like the sound of the chains dragging the ground, no pun intended. But let’s be serious, the entire way we are making the next buck is changing and it’s not by mistake. So we want courageous people like you to take advantage now, before it’s 30 years down the road and you’re putting your genius to work stamping hands at six flags.
There are tons of articles that propose that entrepreneurs are somehow made up of this special something, a magic mix of wit and intelligence that makes money materialize out of thin air. I hate to break it to you, that school of thought is almost blasphemous. NO ONE HAS A MONOPOLY ON ENTREPRENEURSHIP! The only difference between those who do and those who don’t is they have mentally convinced themselves of one or all of the following three thoughts:
1.) Tomorrow is the beautiful country of regret where failure is the President.
2.) Fear is as real as we allow it to be.
3.) Blood, Sweat, Tears, and nothing less, are the currency of Entrepreneurial Freedom.
These three aspects pretty much make up the decisions you’ll have to come to before you dive into your business venture. We are creatures of habit, which means we are spineless when it comes to reversing patterns that are inconsistent with the usual. Entrepreneurs understand “usual” will get you killed in business. So the best scapegoat our caveman brain can come up with is “tomorrow.” Unfortunately we live in a high-speed global economy where seconds matter and a minute could mean millions. Get on your horses, nothing more, nothing less.
Shall we tackle fear? Are we even prepared to have it debunked? Terminal cancer should make you afraid; a loaded Colt .45 pressed against your temple should make you afraid; a 42 car pile up should make you afraid; but at no time should writing a simple one page vision of your company make you afraid! Most of our fears lack the one thing they should have—a definition. A fear defined is a fear understood, and ultimately debunked. What I can say is that most of our fears, criticism, failure, and rejection aren’t legitimate at all, but we let the absence of definition give them power. And last but not least, the gut wrenching work that must go into your endeavor is unavoidable. You must be prepared to go almost insane before you go into an entrepreneur’s world. But it’s all a part of the process. Moreover, it’ll be worth it to you, your family and your customers. That effort means you created value for your market and the market adores valuable things. IPods are “valuable.” Have you ever seen the face of someone who lost theirs? Facebook is “valuable”; some people owe their marriages to it. YouTube is “valuable”; some people owe their millions to it. The pain, anguish, and uncertainty, will make you and your company valuable which then improves lives. I believe multimillionaire and entrepreneur Damon John said that we were all born entrepreneurs. What he meant is that when we are children everyday is a quest to create something meaningful. All three aspects of mental preparedness we’ve discussed takes us back there. If this is something you really desire, it is important that before you leap, you take a look at what’s holding you back. I promise you it’ll be worth it.
Tariq Jones is a social entrepreneur, writer, and lecturer born and raised in West Baltimore, Maryland. Self-educated in the world of business, he is co-founder of Common Cloth Apparel & Goods, a lifestyle brand that dedicates a portion of its funds to enhancing literacy amongst impoverished African American children. Jones has recently been honored for the Real Men of Baltimore Award by 92Q Jams radio station.