As leaders, we’re expected to help others meet their next challenge. What about keeping our own entrepreneurial spirit going?
Entrepreneurs typically share traits of creativity, courage, and tenacity. But that doesn’t mean we don’t feel the pains of meeting challenges like fear of failure, or uncertainty about having the right ability.
The purpose of tapping into your entrepreneurial spirit once again (or as many times as it takes) is to find that resistance—even in the face of failure—and to get past it.
For the moment, let’s look a little deeper at what that resistance or obstacle really means and rationalize it. What happens to many us is that we attribute a failure or setback to our ability, even if it is temporary. Carol Dweck, Stanford psychologist has said, “The fallacy comes when people generalize it to the belief that effort on any task, even very hard ones, implies low ability.”
Dweck found a solution that had culminated through many years of her research. How we attribute the cause will determine whether we become better problem solvers. One solution, when we get stuck, is to try attributing our approach to learning, rather than emphasizing our performance.
Alas! I’ve discovered this for myself countless times. Have you ever spoken this expression?
“If at first you don’t succeed, try and try again.” – William Edward Hickson
Well, Dweck suggests we take a step further and change to a growth mindset. It is not easy to change something fixed in our minds, but if we are trained to think differently, anything is possible. We will learn to grow from experiences and build new resilience along the way.
I’d like to offer you three helpful tips to blast through those difficult tasks or even moments where you may get tempted to scrap your idea or project.
1. Start with a rough draft
In the field of design, writing, product development, or even sales, think about starting with a rough draft. Jessica Jobes, founder of OnTheGrid says, “it’s where you create a rough draft to get started, collect data to learn what is and isn’t working, and then you improve the [website] over time.”
As a writer, I have approached the rough draft as a learning tool. A rough draft helps me see the gaps where I need additional research or key points to develop my thesis further. However, I have found many people have difficulty creating a rough draft since it seems imperfect. Rough drafts require successive revisions and understanding of this iterative process.
Let’s try another approach. How about using a rough sketch to help with getting your project plan or idea off the ground? The premise for developing a rough graphical sketch is to help communicate ideas with colleagues and collaborators. This is done with imagery and feature and benefit statements. I can guide anyone in this technique, so reach out in the comments or use the Contact form if you’d like further information.
LinkedIn Learning has a course available called The Rough Sketch by Craig Smallish, expert in Concept & Creative. I highly recommend grabbing a cup of coffee and listening to the short video segments to look at design as a vehicle in formulating your ideas.
2. Beware of self-doubt
When you don’t do what you say you will, you create confusion and self-doubt. You undermine your sense of personal power.
Sheryl Sandberg, COO at Facebook, wrote in her book, Lean In that while she was in college, no matter how well she did academically, she always felt like she was about to get caught for not really knowing anything. It was not until she heard a speech about self-doubt that she felt that the real issue was something more deeply profound — that she could be completely wrong.
It is amazing to think we could become blindsided to our own lack of confidence. In fact, Sandberg believes lack of confidence is the stumbling block and holds people accountable to become more encouraging, promoting, and championing, which I call the learning curve.
3. Turn your vision into a measurable goal
A while ago I had written about change and the pace of change that has many of us fearing whether we can keep up. John P. Kotter, who had taught leadership at Harvard Business School for 29 years, developed an approach for accelerating teams at work.
Based on his teachings, Kotter advocates a dual network system wherein a traditional hierarchical organization operates that can be advantageously supported by a new network system to rapidly guide decisions and implement change. He wrote about his approach in Accelerate: Building Strategic Agility for a Fast-Moving World.
A method of accelerating change in your professional or personal arena that I have developed involves turning your vision into a measurable goal. In roughly 30 minutes, I facilitate a discussion of this concept, demonstrate a few relevant examples, and then have you engage in interactive exercises. The purpose is to help you get better in touch with your goals and take action.
Keep your entrepreneurial spirit