A couple of weeks ago I was asked to share my entrepreneurial journey to a startup accelerator in Oklahoma City.
These are always good times for me because it pushes me to really reflect, refine my thoughts and feelings and an outlet to share it.
So I wanted to offer only some of what I shared here because in reflection it’s meant a lot to me. (Slightly edited)
YOU BELONG HERE
First, let me say, Congratulations! You’re an entrepreneur.
I hope you fully own that, embrace it, step into that … you’ve built something that is special and successful and magic and it likely included a ton of hard work that no one will ever see.
You belong to a group of leaders and innovators that can change our world through work and business.
For most of my life I’ve felt like a misfit, until I found entrepreneurship, and met fellow entrepreneurs who are some of my best friends in this life.
And it’s likely that no one in your life will understand all you do, all you carry, day to day to day …
At first, I didn’t feel I even belonged here.
Now I do. I found a professional home as an entrepreneur.
So believe this …
You belong here.
Somehow, somewhere you were meant to be here. So settle in.
YOU’RE THE DRIVER OF YOUR BUS
Every entrepreneur and every business is different. One size does not fit all.
My tactics and strategies may not work for you. These are my experiences, in a time in history, in an industry likely different from yours with customers different from yours … and it was me and my team, not you and yours.
Also, my goals, values and philosophies might be different than yours. So a lot of what I share today is simply my blatant opinion sometimes but it doesn’t mean it is or isn’t true of you.
I say all of this because often times we entrepreneurs have some wins and hits, maybe a home run or two, some measure of success … and then we begin to BELIEVE we are home run hitters. I’ve been guilty.
But entrepreneurship will teach you deep humility.
So the best thing I could tell you …. is often what I need to remind myself of.
Find you. Discover you. Then be you. Do you. Trust you.
Because frankly, a lot of advice you’ll hear is simply bullshit from the cheap seats. They won’t ultimately know because they don’t live it like you do. All the nuances, all the details, all the history, and most importantly your vision.
Coaches who help you find clarity and confidence in you. Priceless.
But no one knows you or your business better than you.
You’re the driver. You are the leader. You are the authority on your business. Be open of course. Always be open. Listen. Learn. Seek counsel. Seek feedback. Surround yourself with great people who support YOU and your vision.
But somewhere deep within you, find and discover that instinct, that gut feeling, that thing as the center of your being that knows and believes and sees and prompts you and tugs at you and guides you … and trust it.
Find it, listen to it, and follow it.
PLAY THE CARDS YOU’RE DEALT
And then finally and simply … play the hand you are dealt as best you can.
Too many of us, myself included, spend more time on the cards we don’t have, then the ones we do. Or endlessly compare ourselves to someone, something else.
Today, after a 15-year run as an entrepreneur, all I can say is what means the most to me:
I made the most of my cards.
Sure, I spent lots of time wishing or complaining I’d had gotten better cards. Sure, I wish I had gotten a little luckier in some rounds. Sure, I’ve spent a lot of my adult life frustrated at the game and the cards and everything in it.
But in reflection, what means the most is that I made the best and most of my path, my opportunities, my successes and my failures and my experiences.
Sometimes I got insanely awesome cards I didn’t feel I deserved. Sometimes I just got flops. Sometimes, meh cards.
Sometimes I just literally flopped. Misread things, made bad decisions.
And I also had a great measure of luck.
But the ultimate outcomes aren’t up to you or me. It’s only how I played the game with the cards I had at the time.
And knowing I did my best with them …. that’s more than enough for me.