The Entrepreneur’s Conundrum

By Elliot Begoun

Canva.com

Canva.com

Did you ever watch the movie “A Man with Two Brains” starring Steve Martin and Lily Tomlin? If not, don’t. It’s terrible and won’t help to make this article any more meaningful. However, as a survivor of that movie, I can’t help but think of it as I write.

I had a conversation last week with a founder about how she wants things to go faster yet, at the same time, understands that things take time. That’s the entrepreneur’s conundrum. You must have a dogged sense of urgency while simultaneously accepting that things don’t move all that fast. How do you balance the two? In my opinion, you don’t; you compartmentalize them, one in each brain.

If you accept that things move slower than you’d like, you risk complacency and inaction. However, if each time that things don’t happen as quickly as you’d like, you get mad or frustrated, you’re heading down the road to burnout. Neither is a good option. As I said, it’s a conundrum.

I’m not sure I have a solution. I can only share how I deal with its reality. When I seize a new opportunity, I do so with my hair on fire, with the mindset that “now” really matters, and I go hard. When it inevitably takes longer than I want, I don’t get dejected. Instead, I take a few deep breaths, recognize the truth in it, tuck it away in brain number two and push forward again. I rinse and repeat this process until I reach the finish line.

I don’t know of any other way to make it work. Time is the enemy of a startup. You have to move forward faster than the others vying for the same consumer. However, buyers, consumers, team members, contractors, don’t share that same sense of urgency, and you can’t expect them to. You must accept that as a fact and need to keep pushing the boulder up the hill.

There are no easy answers here, sorry about that. I hope by at least giving this voice I can let you know that you are not alone. I’ve had many calls with tearful entrepreneurs who are disheartened, even a bit broken. They call wondering if they are pushing too hard or not hard enough. They want to know if they are unrealistic in their desires and demands. All I can offer them is what I’ve shared with you, keep pushing. Do so, however, with a bit of understanding tucked away in your second brain, things are going to take time. Grab that nugget of wisdom to bolster yourself when needed, then tuck it away and start the climb again.

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