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How To Treat The Side Effects of Entrepreneurship

For some people, becoming an entrepreneur occurred through inheritance, ambition, by accident, or incident. No matter how a person became an entrepreneur, one fact holds true for them: they want to succeed!

As a new entrepreneur, I thrived on “glass half full” optimism. In the beginning, it was enough to keep me committed. The optimism continues to thrive until the first roadblock occurs and produces the first inkling of doubt. Most entrepreneurs shake it off and tell themselves that it is not a big deal. However, the doubt does not disappear. Doubt is one of the side effects that can be a limiting factor in succeeding as an entrepreneur.

When I first started my business, I too wanted to succeed. I had several side effects to discover and treat. Below is a list of my personal side effects:

  • Fear of failure and rejection
  • No paved roads
  • Misconceptions
  • Lack of balance
  • Loss of friends and family
  • Constantly changing belief in myself

Have you taken a moment to consider and write down your own personal side effects? Most doctors weigh the side effects against the benefits of treatment. I have come to realize, after much dialogue with my colleagues, that the list of side effects can be different for everyone. It is important that you discover what your side effects are as an entrepreneur. It is the only way to treat and eliminate them.

How can you focus on being an entrepreneur when you don’t know what blocks you from succeeding as an entrepreneur? Recognizing your side effects early on will help solidify your conviction to keep developing as an entrepreneur. Robert Kiyosaki said, “The first few years in business you don’t make money, you develop.”

What if I told you that you could treat these common side effects with the following three steps?

  1. Recognition
  2. Developing three Guide books
  3. Conviction

Recognizing your side effects means identifying what hinders you, what causes you distress, doubt and loss of balance. Recognizing your side effects helps you develop both a strong defense and offense, which will ultimately lead you successfully through the developmental stage into a prosperous and viable business. Similar to doctors, coaches develop (treatment) playbooks, which will lead them successfully through the season.

When you develop your list of playbooks, think of them the same way you think about a coach’s playbook. A coach’s playbook is a compilation of strategies. It reflects personal beliefs, outlooks, optimistic views, a depth of knowledge that solves for every “what if,” and delivers the real value behind hard work and preparation. Let’s review how each book can help treat the side effects of entrepreneurship.

  • The Offense Guide book should contain all the scoring plays that help you reduce or eliminate your side effects. For example, when I wanted to tackle my fear of failure and rejection, I did the one thing that was paralyzing to me. I made myself available to present to large groups in my industry of focus. After countless failures and endless rejection, my determination to continue, helped me grow and become comfortable. As an entrepreneur, you must become very comfortable with failing and rejection.
  • The Defense Guide book is your plan to stop your side effects from defeating you. When you’re dealing with the brutal realities of life, you won’t always have someone there to guide you through. Dealing with the brutal realities of life is tougher if you haven’t planned for how your side effects will affect you. You need a Defense Guide to help you stay mentally strong, determined, and uncompromised. Your Defense Guide is your energy booster when everything seems to be collapsing around you. You must have a plan to keep yourself motivated when nothing is encouraging you. This plan starts at the beginning of becoming an entrepreneur long before the realities of being an entrepreneur set in.
  • The Special Guide book. In football, the special team is who they call for kicking situations. Your Special Guide book is like the special team in football. This guidebook contains a recovery system that helps you in “kicking” situations. As an entrepreneur, I guarantee you that you will have some “kicking” situations that you need to be prepared for. Kicking situations are the known and unknown side effects that make you want to quit on yourself. They are the side effects that are stronger than your passion, drive, and motivation in times of difficulty. The guide books are tools to help you recognize, learn how you’re affected, and alleviate the side effects of entrepreneurship.

John Madden once said, “Coaching isn’t work. It’s more than a job. It’s a way of life…no one should go into coaching unless he couldn’t live without it…Football is what I am…” You shouldn’t become an entrepreneur without your own set of convictions. John Madden coined the term “YAC” (yards after the catch). He knew that the best receivers did more than just catch the ball. Great receivers kept running despite being hit, grabbed, or roughed up. They didn’t hit the ground or run out of bounds. As an entrepreneur, you may feel lost, have fear, lack of finances, and unpaved roads to cross. But, are you going to hit the ground, run out of bounds, or YAC when challenged as an entrepreneur? If you choose to treat your side effects instead of dismissing them, you are more likely to gain yardage after the catch, take a hit at the most inopportune time, and stay inbounds for the longevity of your career as an entrepreneur.

Lee Woods, CRCST, MBA, of LSP Resource Consulting, is involved in business and strategic planning, education, training, and compliance for healthcare facilities.

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