For years I carried out my day-to-day doings every day, then at night I went back to my room and went to sleep. In a bed. In my bed. I like beds, but I love MY bed. Anyway, I crawled into bed every night, and woke up where I fell asleep every morning. One morning, everything changed–I woke up in the wilderness.
The journey of an entrepreneur is weird. It’s exciting and invigorating. It’s liberating–the ultimate exploratory experience. It’s…cool. It’s also stressful, dangerous, disorienting, and filled with pressure. It punches you right in the psyche. I started the journey not quite two months ago, and I’ve loved the navigational challenges I’ve been presented with. The people that talk to me about it can tell–I don’t try to hide that. What’s not apparent, though, is the other side of the coin–the side where my anxieties lie.
The thing about going to sleep in your room and suddenly waking up in the middle of the wilderness is this: Regardless of how much you’ve liked camping and hiking and the smell of trees, there are no roads to walk on. There are no people waiting to hear you call out. There are probably wild animals. You know you need to find a road, but how do you know which direction to start walking in? You know you need someone to hear your calls, but how do you find those people? You’ll try things, and some of them will fall flat. MANY of them may fall flat. Being an entrepreneur is sort of like…being in the wilderness.
Prior to starting my journey building a small personal and professional creative development business, I spent many years collecting skills and experiences that would eventually form the roots of Be Gallant, not BECAUSE I wanted to start Be Gallant, but because I just wanted those skills and experiences. When I woke up in the wilderness, I was armed with these skills and experiences. Although I am confident in saying they are in fact quite developed, honed, and legit (pats self on back), when you suddenly wake up in the wilderness you’re bound to run into something you are not prepared for. In my case, it’s been many many things. I expect more. I feel like it’s taboo to say this, but it’s creates a heavy load of anxiety. Despite the fact that the joy and excitement outweigh the insecurity, the insecurity is still there.
I’ve had some successes on the journey, and I’m proud of those because I really enjoy what I’m doing. When people see the things I’ve been doing, they tell me, “That’s so cool! I’m happy for you! Really great job!” Etc. etc. My reaction? “Thanks a lot! I really appreciate that!” My thoughts? “How did I wake up in the [expletive] wilderness and how do I not starve, freeze, get eaten, contract rabies, or stay totally lost forever?”
We live in a society that glorifies entrepreneurism. We exalt our entrepreneurial heroes for their passion, motivation, innovation, charisma, and intellect. But that’s only half the real picture. The bright, fluffy, shiny half. The other half is definitely there, though. But here’s the thing about finding success in the woods:
You definitely will never survive unless you get moving, and no one will ever hear you if you don’t use your voice.
Keep on keeping on–it’s the only way–AND take care of yourself. Protect the asset above all else. The asset is you.