Entrepreneurship is more than just a career choice. It’s a way of life. Because it consumes your personal life as well as your professional one, it typically changes you as a human being. Your approach to problem solving will change, you’ll learn new skills and become more familiar with new industries and markets. You’ll undergo a personality change -- for better or for worse. But perhaps most importantly, during your course as an entrepreneur, your perspective on life will undergo a dramatic shift.
Within a year or two of being an entrepreneur, you’ll more than likely find your world views changing in one or more of the following ways:
1. Everything becomes subject to evaluation.
Entrepreneurs are business commanders. They’re responsible for overseeing everything, from operations to management to accounting to sales and marketing. As a result, you learn to see things from a high-level perspective, and become adept at making flash judgments and fast evaluations in demanding circumstances. In the course of a given day, you’ll be forced to evaluate the strength of your financial models, the productivity of your team and the feasibility of your latest deadline projections.
As a result, you’ll start evaluating everything in your life. When deciding which restaurant to eat at, you’ll make a mental pro/con list. When you go see a movie, you’ll think about all the strengths and weaknesses of the picture, and evaluating each situation in terms of its risk and reward in the context of the film. It will feel so natural, you may not even notice it.
2. Decisions seem less consequential.
Everyone makes dozens of decisions each day, ranging from what color socks to wear to whether or not to move to a new city. As an entrepreneur, you’ll be making even more decisions, and most of them will seem more significant than “ordinary” decisions, yet you’ll come to realize that bed decisions can sometimes yield decent results and good decisions don’t guarantee victory.
After several months of helming your business, you’ll see decisions as essential, but less consequential. You’ll no longer be intimidated by the potential fallout of a bad decision; instead, you’ll make the best decision you can as quickly as you can, and you’ll move on.
3. Problems are less intimidating.
In startups, problems seem to arise out of nowhere. Every day, there’s at least one new fire that needs put out and at least one major change you never saw coming. Throughout your stay as an entrepreneur, you’ll become better at handling these problems as they come up, and all the other problems in your life will become less intimidating, too. Rather than seeing them as show-stoppers, you’ll see them as simple puzzles that are unavoidable and demand to be solved.
4. People become more important.
Entrepreneurship helps you see the importance of other people in your life. Your family and friends will be there to support you during your most stressful times. Your investors and mentors will help guide you to making the right decisions. Your partners and team mates will help you see your vision through to success. Your clients will make or break your business. Human relationships will dictate your success, and as such, you’ll learn to value them more.
5. Ideas are no longer fleeting.
During the course of a given day, I’d wager the majority of ordinary people come up with at least a half dozen ideas. Those ideas may be large, like an idea for a new business, or small, like an idea for a new dinner dish. They may be good or they may be bad. Regardless of the quality or scope of these ideas, the majority of them are released, never to be thought of again.
As an entrepreneur, you see first hand the value of an idea. Even bad ideas, if worked on, can become good ideas, and even ideas that never manifest in reality can be learned from if they are properly explored. After your course as an entrepreneur, you’ll never let another of your ideas go immediately. You’ll hold onto each one, explore it and consider it for application. Similarly, you’ll be more willing to hear and explore the ideas of others. You never know when or how your next great venture will begin.
Don’t let these perspective changes intimidate you. It’s true that entrepreneurship changes you, but in most ways, it changes you for the better. Besides, if you aren’t prepared to take a risk for a potentially monumental gain, you might not be cut out to be an entrepreneur in the first place. Your time as a business owner will be a challenging, rewarding and exciting journey. Whether you fail hard or become a massive success, you’ll be grateful you took it.