The One Thing That Holds Back Almost Every Entrepreneur
The Entrepreneur Insiders network is an online community where the most thoughtful and influential people in America’s startup scene contribute answers to timely questions about entrepreneurship and careers. Today’s answer to the question, “What are some tips for maintaining a successful startup?” is written by Neil Powell, co-founder of Mugnacious.
I realized, and sadly not very long ago, that my ability to predict my future is not so good. In fact, I’m embarrassed by how often I’ve been wrong. I’m not talking about thinking or preparing a bit for what might lie ahead either. That’s what a good business person does. I mean habitually trying to predict what will happen to you and your business in the future. I’ve spent God knows how many of my precious little life hours obsessing about all kinds of ways things could play out for me and my small business.
The senseless string of questions, worry and doubt:
What if no one calls me for projects next month, even when I’ve had a banner year thus far?
What if that art sale doesn’t happen?
What if they change their mind?Then what would I say?
What if …
And while all this fortune telling was going on in my head, I was never really paying attention to the now part of my business — remembering or noticing all the little signs that life presents to you over and over during the course of a day, a week, a month or a year.
Because while I was racking my brain trying to calculate all the things a client might say during drinks Friday, life had been driving a big dumb clown car down Happy Street passing out new opportunities. But I couldn’t see any of this. I was always so fixated on the future. By trying to predict my future, I would inadvertently make decisions based on fantasy. Most of which played to the conservative side of things and led to predictable behavior. Offering up only opportunities that led to more of the kind of work I wanted to move away from in the first place.
It wasn’t until just last year that I started to change. Career-wise, I was at a crossroads of sorts. I worked as both an artist and an interior designer. Just when revenues from my two roles were starting to even out, I started getting more fine arts projects.
In the past, I would have resisted turning too much of my attention toward my art and away from design. After all, it was the design channel of revenue that was allowing me the freedom to pursue art. But now, I was starting to give in to the fact that people love my art, and when I really focus on it, it flourishes.
Now I was turning my attention away from trying to predict my business’s future and turning it toward spending more time nurturing to what I really want my business to be — a magical place of making and wonder.
In March I decided to make a bold move. I opened a workshop and show space in Brooklyn and it’s given a whole new life to my small business. It was a decision that has transformed the way I work and approach my business. Admittedly, I was a tiny bit scared but nonetheless excited.
I feel reborn as an entrepreneur. All because I stopped trying to predict the future and started to take notice of now.