The Intentional Entrepreneur
In my last blog post, I illustrated the process I used to re-frame my belief system related to being an entrepreneur. I have additional work to do in this process. My next step is to set intentions regarding how I want to BE as an entrepreneur, how I want to think and speak and how I want to act as an entrepreneur.
When all of these aspects of entrepreneurship are congruent, I will have set clear intentions for my business.
How I want to BE as an Entrepreneur
I start with three of my re-frame characteristics: impulsive, charismatic, risk-taker:
Instead of being impulsive, I intend to be spontaneous and at the same time mindful. Spontaneity opens the door to creativity, being mindful means I observe my actions and thoughts and use inner wisdom and discernment to make decisions for the highest good. I also choose to use my intuition when it feels strong and “right” to follow a certain path, even though my logical mind might not agree.
Instead of being a big risk-taker, I stretch beyond my comfort zone to take appropriate risks, while using both facts and intuition to make decisions. I let go of fear of failure to accept that I can make mistakes, learn from them, and move on. As Thomas Edison said, “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.”
I do not consider myself to be a charismatic person. That is not required to be an entrepreneur. I show up as my authentic self, enthusiastic about people and the work we are doing together, able to laugh at life’s absurdities, and open to appropriately express my interests and emotions. I show interest in others and acknowledge, affirm, and support them. I do not hide my talents behind a barrel – I take my place in the spotlight with humility.
How I Intend to Think, Speak, and Act as an Entrepreneur
I am not “in it to win” or for purely for the money. Nor do I love “making the deal.” Success for me means that I have a positive impact on the world because I help emerging leaders to have a positive impact on the world. At the same time, what I have to offer is valuable.
I think of money as a form of energy (as everything literally is in the Universe). Therefore, I intend to provide value (energy as a coach and consultant) and gratefully accept value (energy as money and stock in my clients’ companies). I already have a practice of circulating 10% of my gross earnings to charities. That will continue, with input from my clients. It’s called “sharing the good.” Instead of “hunting the deal” I am happy when a prospective client’s needs, values, and context are congruent with my offerings, values, and vision/mission. If they are not congruent, I am not afraid to say “no” and if possible refer colleagues who are a better match.
Marketing and Sales With Intention and Attention
Despite the fact that I have been an independent consultant for over 8 years and a consultant with PWC for 7+ years back in the 1990’s, I never considered myself to be in sales or to know anything about marketing.
Perhaps this is one of the biggest shifts in my self-realization process.
To see myself as having something to offer the world and be able to articulate it in ways that are inviting and compelling to others. By listening deeply to understand emerging leaders’ needs, I can determine offerings that are helpful to emerging leaders. I will not attempt to provide every type of service and solution that is needed.
By limiting the scope of my offerings, I can provide depth and greater value.
I have learned that besides becoming visible through marketing, I need to articulate what I stand for and stand against so that potential clients can decide for themselves if they resonate with my principles and approaches.
Finally, though I have no intention of making “cold calls,” I can learn some lessons from the people who do that. Namely, not to let rejection deter or deflate me, learn from each conversation, ask thoughtful questions, and don’t be afraid to ask for a referral to a more appropriate person.
I find all of these intentions to resonate with my internal values and sense of who I am. Yet truthfully, the thought of fully living the life of an entrepreneur as defined above is still quite daunting (read as: scary). I am moving forward anyway – with courage, and the support of my colleagues and friends.