Reflecting on Entrepreneurship, Life & Risk
Posted on 6th September 2021 at 09:16
When my buddy Mike Duffy Jr. asked to interview me as a research participant for his doctorate on Entrepreneurship, I didn’t expect what it would reveal to me about my motivations and choices. I got so much out of the conversation, I asked for a copy of the interview transcript after! A key theme that arose was how entrepreneurship has made me face myself in ways that has fundamentally expanded who I am. To quote myself from the interview:
‘the struggles of entrepreneurship, if you can frame them that way, are a gift because it can be easy to hide in the safety and certainty of life’.
I worked in the business of risk for nearly 20 years. A foundational concept of investment is that without risk there can be no growth. And, of course, when we accept this risk, we must also be willing to accept the potential for loss. It is the same personally. Research tells us that taking risk can build greater self-esteem regardless of outcome. We learn we can cope; win or lose. So, in some ways, we always win. I have ‘failed’ at more things in the last 4 years than the previous 38. But I have grown exponentially. During the interview, I realised the biggest outcome of embracing the risk of entrepreneurship has not been business related. It was more personal. I am more myself than I have ever been.
It is alleged the great Abraham Maslow said;
‘In any given moment we have two options: to step forward into growth or to step back into safety’.
He noted that one of the characteristics of self-actualising people is a greater tolerance of personal uncertainty. Running my own business has forced me to face my fears and embrace my vulnerabilities in a way I had not expected. It has not just been about financial risk which I had, indeed, expected. It has been about embracing the fear of being truly seen. To show myself more openly and take the risk of whether I would be accepted for all of who I am.
This is not a call for everyone to embrace entrepreneurship but rather a call to embrace life as risk. You choose how you use your life. Every person, event, business decision, difficulty between line manager and employee can be a tool towards becoming the person you are intended to be. The choice you make is whether you see it in that light. That you understand your life to be your personalised vehicle for growth.
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