It’s easy to feel stressed about where you are in your career. This is certainly true for those of us who are entrepreneurs at heart. Since a young age, I have known that I would run my own business; I just haven’t quite figured out exactly what that perfect one will be yet. Ambition can be a double edge sword, it’s great to be determined for success, but when you don’t feel that you have achieved that yet it can make you feel quite the opposite: a failure. It’s like you are searching for something that you haven’t found, and as the search goes on it becomes more and more frustrating.
I’ve had my own businesses as well as worked for other people, dabbling in a wide range of industries including real estate, events, hospitality, technology, pharmaceuticals… the list goes on. Sometimes, friends will say ‘What do you even do for work’ because my answer is never as easy as someone who has a consistent job title. Though this can be discouraging, I just remind myself that everything that I am doing I choose because it is adding to my personal business ‘tool belt’.
If you look at successful entrepreneurs, many do not have a career path that would look ideal on paper. However, they probably didn’t care about the perfect CV with impressive job titles at big companies. They took on positions that added to their skillset, ones they were passionate about, or those that helped finance their ‘side’ project that eventually became their key to success.
You often hear from entrepreneurs that they failed at earlier endeavors because they lacked the knowledge and/or experience in a particular area needed to make their business a success. I am sure they were frustrated, as many of us are, but they continued to add to their tool belt and eventually had the skills they needed to build the one that was a success.
When I reflect on my past jobs I realize that I have gained at least one thing from each that has added to my skill set. I used to hate talking on the phone before my first sales job. Two weeks into it, I could have had to call President Obama and I wouldn’t have flinched! Running a luxury loft that I rented out for photo shoots, events and vacation stays gave me excellent customer service skills. It also gave me a backbone. I’m never one for confrontation, but I learned to stand my ground when people were trying to negotiate down a price. Not to mention the many people that I have met along the way – bosses who I aspire to be and those who I remind myself I will never become.
Now, in my current position working as a consultant I have learned ins and outs of a wide range of industries, and continue to add clients who give me a taste of something new. With each new experience I gain skills and knowledge that are of immeasurable value.
So fellow entrepreneurs: next time you find yourself frustrated or feeling unsuccessful, remember to slow down. It takes time and patience to find all of the tools you need before you can successfully launch your business.