“If there is no struggle, there is no progress.” – Frederick Douglass
In business and in life, mistakes are inevitable. History has shown us that the most successful entrepreneurs don’t necessarily make the least mistakes. In fact, they make the same number or more, but the secret is that they don’t let those mistakes prevent them from growing and learning.
Struggle is an inherently formative experience. When you’re dealing with personal, financial and familial struggles, you’re facing challenges that can define you and shape your character for years to come.
As a young millennial, you may not yet have the hindsight of past experience to guide you, but let this knowledge empower your decision-making, rather than allowing yourself to become bogged down in the small (and large) mistakes of entrepreneurship.
With that in mind, consider the following struggles that will inevitably shape the kind of entrepreneur you become:
During college, success is all about planning.
What you’re going to do, who you’re going to be and how much money you’re sure you’re going to make are at the top of your priorities.
But after college is when it all becomes real.
You actually have to go out and do the things you planned. You battle the personal goals you’ve set for yourself, and you have to make a decision to achieve them or rewrite new ones.
When you’re cast out into the business world with your strengths and weaknesses untested, every small upset echoes hugely through your life. Remember this, though: Inaction cannot serve you. Create a list of actionable to-do’s and start checking them off one by one.
You’ll at least be trying something and challenging your effectiveness as an entrepreneur.
We all have a unique vision for what our career will look like. That vision is tied up in our emotional well-being, our deepest fears about our own abilities, and our observations of other people.
A positive outcome in one area of your life can coincide with struggles in another area. You may realize you love the work you’re doing, but your business partner’s intentions don’t align with yours. This will force you to reassess.
You have to stay true to your vision, because otherwise, what was all your hard work for? Remember, the achievements you want in life are worthwhile and deserving of constant consideration.
Part of your vision for the future might have been rolling in the dough. Making lots of money was always the goal, right?
Profit and ROI are the bread and butter of a healthy business. Because of this, young entrepreneurs often focus almost exclusively on the bottom line. What you might not have realized is that making it through financial struggles is something all entrepreneurs face.
You’ll have to keep throwing that proverbial piece of spaghetti at the wall until it sticks. You may have to work odd jobs or begin again and again with your business ideas, but never lose sight of your ultimate goal. That tenacity is what makes or breaks an entrepreneur.
Did your best idea go up in smoke and leave you scrambling to make ends meet? You’re not alone. Failure and success are good friends, and the first often precedes the second. Practice appreciating both as you grow your entrepreneurial skillset.
You’ll quickly learn that it’s never all about the money.
When you boil your life down to the essential parts, you’ll see that money is only one piece of the happiness puzzle. So is waking up in the morning and feeling energized to start the day, knowing you’ve found your true calling, or living a life where your bank account doesn’t determine your confidence.
Financial struggles will make you more appreciative of monetary success when it does come. Make sure you love what you do, because no amount of money will leave you truly happy or satisfied if you sacrifice your passion to achieve it.
Also wrapped up in our personal and financial struggles are the expectations of our families. You want to live up to these expectations, but is it really possible or even a beneficial end goal?
Sometimes, successful older family members who tell you what you need to be doing can derail you from the path of success you’ve designed for yourself. Just remember that their guidance comes with strings attached, because it applies to their own personal and financial struggles, first and foremost. They most likely succeeded within the parameters of a different generation, a different business climate and a different market.
Listen to others’ advice, but remember that if you follow too closely in someone else’s footsteps, the best possible outcome is the achievement of the exact same results. Their results. Why not forge your own path to professional and personal satisfaction?
Why not do them one better?
Don’t let your family members influence your career decisions without carefully considering their advice. You have to find a balance between family and work that utilizes the best of both, and throws out the inessential.
Entrepreneurship requires a certain flexibility and spontaneity that can be stymied by too much misplaced emotional investment.
Whether you’re making mistakes within your personal life, your finances or your family life, make sure you’re learning and reminding yourself to be thankful for those struggles. Ultimately, they’re shaping the entrepreneur you will become.
Success may surprise you. You’ll look back, examining each characteristic that brought you to it, and realize it was your failures that often determined the successful outcome of your career.