The Accidental Entrepreneur

 In Empowerment

Up until now, I shuddered at the thought of being labeled as an entrepreneur.  The reality is that my friends and colleagues who are entrepreneurs do not embody what I consider to be the “negatives” of entrepreneurship. However, there are many examples in the media and in my everyday encounters which have led me to disassociate myself from the role.

I have been happiest in my many careers when working with others. I loved the feeling of belonging to an established organization, and having interactions with an abundance of teams and individuals who are associated with an organization. These experiences included playing in a string quartet, performing in a symphony orchestra, working in a software development team, working as a consultant for PriceWaterhouseCoopers, and working as a leader of more than 800 technology professionals in a Fortune 100 company. There, now you know how many careers I’ve had thus far!

However, in 2007 I made the decision to leave as a leader in the world of large organizations and return to school for a doctorate in Human and Organizational Development, with a desire to move into leadership in academia or a nonprofit organization. During my years in school, I supported my family as a consultant and coach. The work came to me without my having to do any marketing. I made a good living while I was in school.

I became an “Accidental Entrepreneur”

I never considered myself to be an entrepreneur. However, I have been a consultant and coach for many years now, within a large consultancy (PWC), in my role within a bank in the 90’s, and as an independent professional for over 10 years. During the past few years since I completed my doctorate, I applied to and interviewed for several positions within academia and the nonprofit sector to no avail.

Time to re-frame my definition of entrepreneur and set clear intentions for my work.


Yesterday, I conducted a personal exploration of my beliefs about entrepreneurs. The words circled in red are the ones that gave me a negative charge. The words I highlighted in yellow are the ones that I can embrace. I let the page sit overnight and returned to it this morning.

Next, I listed the words that resonated with me on a new piece of paper.  Entrepreneurs 3





As a third step, I took the words circled in red and began to draw new associations and words in order to capture essences and find completely different ways to express these concepts so that they resonate with me personally. I surprised myself. This exercise helped me to open the door to a completely new relationship with the concept of “entrepreneur.” 

Entrepreneurs 5

Moving from Accidental to Intentional Entrepreneur 

As I move toward an intentional approach to my work as an entrepreneur, I now have a clearer definition of how I want to be as an entrepreneur and of the people whom I’d like to serve. I would like to serve emerging young leaders who want to make a difference in the world through their entrepreneurial work, whether it be for-profit or non-profit. These individuals desire to become more consciously aware within themselves and of the world. They desire to show up with authenticity and integrity. My ideal clients and I strive to exemplify the qualities that emerged from my re-frame process. Onward in this journey we go!

Here are my draft vision and mission statements for my business, DCL Associates Inc (I hope to come up with a better organization name in the future). I take the risk now to ask for your feedback on both so that these statements are clear, strong, and resonant.

Vision: A World of Emerging, Authentic, and Conscious Leaders Making a Difference

Mission: Like ripples on a pond, we generate a positive impact in the world by helping emerging leaders to deepen self-awareness and broaden organizational awareness, so that their organizations fulfill meaningful missions.   

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  • clearspaces60

    I LOVE this!! What a great exercise for any perceived label or title. Many times we are the very thing that we resist, like knowing someone is a born salesman but they despise the term and cannot see it as a compliment or accept it as a talent. I am going to do this in my role in our company. Also, I don’t think I have ever known anyone who felt like I did about the term “high energy”, I can’t wait to reframe that term either. Excellent article!

  • allahkayi

    Reblogged this on Allahkayi1.

  • Barb Buckner Suárez

    Dorianne: you know how much I love a reframe! And being a somewhat reluctant entrepreneur myself, I found all of your reframes to be especially helpful. Your process was really thorough and it shows your intention. Great work, great post!

  • Jack Finnell

    Great article, Dorianne. You asked for specific feedback. Vision is perfect. Mission: instead of saying “fulfill meaningful mission,” which is somewhat redundant, you might want to end on “achieving meaningful outcomes.”

    • Reply

      Thank you Jack for the feedback. It’s great to hear from you and I hope you are happy and well.

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