Last post, I talked about what the “entrepreneurial spirit” means to me, and how it’s not just about owning a business. It’s so much more than that, and honestly, it’s so much cooler than just that.
See, I love entrepreneurs. I love the mindset, and the outlook. I think it’s a fantastic way to be, and I think the increase in entrepreneurial individuals in our world is the sign of a global shift, a change in awareness and a change in our direction as a species. A good one!
If you’ve resonated at all with what I’ve written here, it’s very possible you have an entrepreneurial spirit, even if yours is, as of yet, underdeveloped.
Here are some characteristics of entrepreneurs:
- Easily bored by routine
- Eager to learn (but completely unwilling to do tasks that don’t light them up)
- Prone to depression, frustration, and emotional distress when feeling trapped and powerless
- Wants to do things their own way (even if sometimes it’s harder)
- Has a strong desire to contribute something meaningful to the world
- Possesses a great sense of purpose (even if that purpose is completely unclear to them)
- Incredibly creative in areas where they have interest
- Often diagnosed with things like ADD or ADHD
(This is not to say that just because you’re moody and rebellious that you’re an entrepreneur. I dislike when people use high intellect or unique personalities to excuse rudeness or actual laziness—there are some genuinely lazy people who don’t contribute to the world, and that’s not where you want to be.)
It took me until I was in my twenties to realize that I was an entrepreneur, even though, when I looked back, it was painfully obvious that I’d always done things my own way.
Entrepreneurs want different things from life than most others. “Freedom” has a different definition for them, and they’ll brave all manner of unusual and uncomfortable circumstances to get what they want.
They’ll work incredibly hard on what they believe in.
They’ll go without things others wouldn’t dream of going without if it’s in service of their dreams.
They’ll make sacrifices that seem impossible to others, because they know what they want.
An entrepreneur who isn’t in touch with their passions and desires suffers. They can be morose, lost, and unfocused. This often looks like flakiness, lack of motivation, lack of goals, and general patheticness.
This was me for a few years. After college, I just kind of hung around for a while. Don’t get me wrong, I worked hard. I just felt like I was stuck in the mud, spinning my tires at full throttle, but going nowhere. I was working non-stop, but I found I had nothing to show for it, and I was quickly sinking into depression and a general disdain toward life.
I knew who and what I wanted to be, but getting there felt impossible. Even starting felt impossible. I’m a big picture person, so while I can see things from a detached perspective and keep my goal in sight, I also have a bad habit of becoming overwhelmed by everything I need to do. This can be paralyzing, and for a few years, I was. I let fear and doubt keep me frozen in place, not knowing how to even begin.
The good thing about that time was that, while I didn’t feel like I was moving forward, I was still trying things. I wrote books, I freelanced, I read and read and read, devouring everything I could about making money, or publishing, or spirituality and finding inner peace, or even things like inventing and law. I read and watched and learned everything I could find that struck a chord with that hollow place inside of me that was eating me alive.
And I hate to disappoint you, but I don’t have one of those stories where I had a big “AHA!” moment that fixed my whole life in one fell swoop. I certainly did have a lot of “aha!” and “Oooh, I GET IT!” moments over the years, and I continue to have them now, but those kinds of things don’t change your life alone. It’s everything together that alters the trajectory of your future.
I used to seek out those defining moments, those singular days that would stand as a turning point for my entire existence.
But the truth, for me, at least, is that life is just a collection of ordinary, run-of-the-mill Mondays and Tuesdays and Wednesdays and Thursdays, spiced up by a few Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays.
We have to take out the trash and clean the kitchen. We have to do laundry and finish assignments. We have to run errands and write emails, and it’s all awfully boring.
And we have to work really, really hard. A lot. Sometimes for a very, very long time with virtually no return on our overwhelming investment whatsoever.
We have to do all this, all this Normal Life and Dream Life stuff, all mixed together, while being told over and over by people on all sides, whether they live in our house or in our screens, that we can’t ever do it.
They tell us we can’t have what we want. We can’t be that person. We can’t do those things. We can’t change this life. We’re stuck. They’re stuck. Everyone’s stuck. They tell us to give up and live a Normal Life full time, and let the Dream Life be just that—a dream. They tell us that’s normal and healthy and right.
And the only real difference between the entrepreneurial spirit and the ordinary soul is this: The little voice, sometimes so quiet we can barely hear it, that whispers, “But I want this.”
It’s hard work, but it’s worth it. And for people with a dream, with a purpose, there’s really no other option.
There will be big moments, but they’re rarely game changers all on their own. Much more powerful and important are the millions upon millions of little moments. Little, ordinary moments, where you choose to be big and extraordinary. Start adding those up, and you’ll start to see some remarkable results.
Everyone has this potential in them, but not everyone listens to the little voice. Not everyone holds fast to those dreams. Most people let life steer them, rather than steering their lives.
And the truth is that it’s not actually harder or easier to do it one way or another. Life is hard, period. It’s just a matter of what kind of “difficult” you’re willing to put up with: Working hard to get what you want, or regretting your decisions and wishing you had more.
So if you know what you want, don’t ever let it go. I’m going to talk a lot more about this in the future, so stick around. There’s a lot to cover on this topic.
If you don’t know what you want, still stick around. One of the purposes of my life is to ensure that others find their passion, so I’m going to be talking a lot about that, too.
But more than anything, keep being you. You can improve you, and be the best you, but make sure that no matter what, you’re always you. As they say: Everyone else is taken.
So, would you classify yourself as an entrepreneurial spirit? You can be broke, businessless, and completely at a loss for what you want to do in life—that doesn’t mean you aren’t an entrepreneur!