I recently came across a great post by Jeff Haden on ‘excuses for not being an entrepreneur’. I know there are lots of these ‘how to be a success’ lists around and they can often sound rather tired (although they always seem to have the ring of truth about them!).
What I liked about this list was that it was just so to-the-point as well as being extremely positive.
What comes out very clearly are the themes of: honesty-with-oneself, discipline and the benefit of the long view. Self-knowledge if you like.
Being an entrepreneur may not be for everyone, but it’s still helpful to think this through just in case the holdup ia a barrier that can be easily overcome and thereby lead to a much more satisfying life.
I give the main points below, together with some brief sample extracts:
1. I’m too scared.
So you have a choice: Let your fears hold you back… or use those same fears as fuel to do whatever it takes to succeed.
2. I don’t have the right connections.
3. I’m too late.
4. I can’t get anyone to listen.
People will listen to anything that is entertaining, interesting, heartfelt, amusing, shocking, informative, titillating, stupid, satirical, controversial, sad, silly, sexy…
If you can’t get anyone to listen, the problem isn’t them. The problem is you.
5. I don’t have the money.
6. I don’t have the time.
Everyone has the same amount of time. The only difference is what you’re willing to do with your time.
7. I don’t have the skills.
No problem. Go get them. Go to school. Read a book. Read 10 books. Talk to friends. Get a part-time job at a small business. Get a part-time job in a completely different industry.
8. I can’t think of a great idea.
9. I can’t take that risk.
Any risk you take today is a risk you can recover from. In time you can overcome almost any setback, stumble, or failure, and emerge stronger and smarter and better equipped to succeed the next time.
10. I’m better at planning than execution.
Every successful entrepreneur I know can and does, when necessary, roll up his or her sleeves and outwork everyone else nearby. (That’s one of the reasons they’re so successful.)
You don’t need some undefined innate quality to be good at execution; all you need is discipline.
11. I can’t stop until it’s perfect.
Sure you can. You just don’t want to.
Maybe you’re insecure. Maybe you’re afraid. Maybe you fear rejection or criticism.
Do this instead. Do your best. Then step back. If a little more work will result in a markedly better outcome, go for it.
12. I’m not comfortable doing it that way.
I was raised to be humble and self-effacing, so I hate to say I’m good at anything. But sometimes I have no choice; taking advantage of certain opportunities requires confidently describing my skills, experience, and accomplishments.
But if you’re not comfortable doing something simply because it will take you out of your comfort zone, you’re just rationalizing.
And you’ll never be more than you already are.
13. I can’t find anyone who gets it.
Oh, they get it: They get that it sucks.
Truly great ideas can be described in a few words. Truly great products can be described in a few words.
When no one seems to get it, the only person not getting it is you. Let go of your pride and agenda and “unique point of view” and figure out where you’ve gone wrong.
14. It’s too hard.
15. I’ll be too embarrassed if I fail.
Failing in public can be embarrassing, especially since some people love to talk about the misfortunes of others.
Those are the same people who would never dare try something themselves.
Don’t worry about them.
A whole other group of people will respect you for taking a shot. They’ll recognize a kindred spirit. They’ll empathize. They’ll encourage. They’ll pick you up. They’ll know what it’s like to try and fail and try again.