5 reasons entrepreneurship is the best personal development on the planet

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If you want to grow as a human being, you could climb really tall
mountains.  Or run marathons.  Or study the great written works.  Or
study yoga in an ashram.

Or … you could put your entire livelihood at risk and become an entrepreneur.

I don’t think running a business is for everyone.  But I do think that it is the best way on the planet to learn about yourself.

In this 9 minute podcast episode, I list 5 reasons why I feel so strongly about this.  You can find it here.

Listen in to see if you agree or disagree, then share your opinion here! 

Filed Under: Podcast

11 Responses to “5 reasons entrepreneurship is the best personal development on the planet”

  1. Danny says:

    I just heard this podcast and DANG!… it blew me away. And the Gibran poem what a powerful way to end the podcast.

    Your podcast was truly inspirational and touched me. Thank you. I’ve been an entrepreneur for 6 years and I can attest to the validity of everything you said.
    You said it truly eloquently.

    I just wanted to chime in and let you know what a treat it was.

    Thanks Danny! That makes me feel great that you got so much out of it.

    -Pam

  2. Hi Pam,
    For some reason I can’t open your podcast. When I click on the link, I just get a blank page.

  3. Now *that* is the truth. It’s a hell of a ride, and I must say it’s loaded with excitement, successes, fears, and growth. WAY different than the cubicle days.

  4. Pam,

    This podcast really struck a cord with me – particularly reason #4. Separating yourself from your business is, indeed, a paradoxical notion, particularly for those of us who’ve chosen to go into business because we view it as part of our larger purpose in life.

    I am a recent entrepreneur, and I happened upon your podcast just as I was emerging from a bit of a crisis that had its roots precisely in this problem.

    What happens, I now understand, is that, even if you are motivated in going into business by a higher purpose, the ego grabs hold of things real fast, and before you know it, it’s running the show. I call it the revenge of the ego. It’s as though the ego is saying: “Ok, I let you leave that nice job you had; I acquiesced to your going into this crazy venture; I went along as you went dipping into your savings account to finance your scheme. But now you better show me that you can make money with it, and you better do it fast, and lots of it. So no fun for you this week, or this month – or ever.”

    So instead of focusing on the substance of my work, I suddenly found myself immersed in endless internet marketing seminars, getting heart attacks over how unprepared I was to swim in this fast-moving world of e-commerce and wondering whether the world needed another career exploration coach, given all the other great coaches out there… After a couple of weeks of that, I completely disconnected from the main reason I was doing what I was doing and feeling worn-out and exhausted.

    The realization that even as a coach I must maintain distance from my business is astonishing – and it makes complete sense. For me, the solution is staying committed to the very same things that had kept me sane while I was an employee – yoga, meditation, regular walks, breathing, reading inspirational literature.

    Thank you, Pam, for validating my experience and for giving me permission to stay sane in this great entrepreneurship adventure πŸ™‚

    All my best,

    -Izabella

  5. Richard says:

    Thanks Pam and one final thought.

    For those who read the Ent. ‘Doomsayers’ take everything with a grain of salt. Try not to compare your situation or personality with what they write about. I’ve been working in the corporate world for 10 years now. In comparing myself with corporate peers I have determined there are people who are literally sheeple. They will blindly follow whatever the heard says or does. Yes they talk of a better life and winning the lottery, someday. I have always been conflicted with this mindset because my reaction is to do something about it rather than complain all the time.

    If you read the doomsayers and are still interested in owning your own business, then keep reading. You are probably on the right track to one day doing your own thing. If you get scared after reading about the first horror story then you might have a better piece of mind working for someone else.

  6. Richard says:

    Pam,

    As I’ve read about Entrepreneurship and Entrepreneurs I’ve seen two mindsets. 1) The mindset that seems to “scare” you into staying away from owning your own business. You know those who talk about the high failure rate, how it destroys families, finances, credit and lives. I personally know a true entrepreneur who advisees people to stay out of entrepreneurship. I also follow a blogger, who claims to own her own businesses and talks about past failures, once wrote about the virtues of being in business for yourself. But lately she has changed her tune and is not as brazen as she used to be.

    Then there is the other set 2) Those who see entrepreneurship as a path to enlightenment and personal development. These seem to sugar coat the nastiness involved in running your own business. Usually I get a warm feeling after reading this type. I also feel this mindset exaggerates the “good” part of ent. to get traffic and sell books and courses. Not all but some.

    Do you have any research as to which mindset is more successful, most accurate and which is full of BS?

    Great comment and questions Richard!

    The short answer is that no, I don’t have research as to which mindset is more successful or accurate. The “myths of entrepreneurship” book that I blogged about awhile back (with the associated quiz) may have more quantitative data. What I do have lots and lots of exposure to are personal stories of people that read my blog or send me emails, and of course my own life experience as an entrepreneur. And this leads me to give you the most chicken consulting answer to your question of which strategy works best:

    It depends!

    There are SO many factors which influence whether or not a biz will be successful … does the entrepreneur have the skills required to get it off the ground, is there a market for the services, is the timing right, are there the right amount of competitors … enough to demonstrate a need in the market, but not too many to make sales too challenging, do they have access to the necessary credit and or cash to keep their life afloat as they get the biz off the ground, etc.

    At the core of all of these tactical things is the question of mindset … is this person positive, with healthy self-esteem, able to handle challenges effectively, see failure as an integral part of the learning process, etc. In this case, I would say that mindset and attitude are very important — which is where some of the useful “atta boy or atta girl” motivation is helpful. But NOT fluffy “entrepreneurship is a piece of cake” stuff which turns my stomach as much as I imagine it turns yours.

    I think you need to walk the line of having your feet firmly planted on the ground, with a realistic assessment of the challenges of entrepreneurship (which is where some of the doom and gloom stuff is important to understand, at least to get a realistic picture of what can go wrong) while at the same time having a healthy gaze skyward at the dreams and possibilities available when you are open and creative.

    The other thing that I think is important is the way people feel when they have choice. Life as an employee can be VERY challenging for some people. Some even describe it as a tortured existance which makes them physically sick and very depressed. Trying entrepreneurship can make them feel in charge of their destiny and in control — which generally makes them feel much more positive and motivated. This was part of the point of my podcast — no matter what happens in your business, if you use it as a way to get to know yourself, even a “failed” business can be a great boost to your esteem because you willingly took on a challenge and gave it your best shot. Those that set out to scale Everest and don’t get all the way can still feel a great sense of accomplishment – if they look at the journey as being a huge part of what makes the task worth doing.

    The key of course is not to bet everything on the biz succeeding, and to have a good backup plan. There is nothing wrong with going back to be an employee for awhile if the biz takes awhile to get off the ground, or if you found that your assumption of what would be successful is not the best idea.

    I don’t know if my long-winded response helps.

    I personally try to walk the line of being realistic — ie not saying entrepreneurship is all roses and working in your pj’s 4 hours a week, because it is NOT generally like that. At the same time, I have to think that some risks are worth taking, so I encourage people to trust themselves and take responsible risks.

    My own journey has been so fulfilling and joyful that I know it CAN work, and I do get lots and lots of messages from people that launch successful businesses as well.

    And then there are those that struggle. So there are no promises.

    Thanks again for a good thought-provoking comment. It feels like a good subject for a future blog post!

    -Pam

  7. Thanks Pam. It’s great to hear your voice again. I am excited that you will be switching off between the old format and the interviews. Enjoy your little one!

    Michael

  8. Loved this podcast, especially the comparison of entrepreneurship to a full-contact sport.

    My business coach is also a Zen Master and he suggests running your own business as a spiritual path. It’s so exciting to hear those ideas from other sources.

  9. Dan Schawbel says:

    You learn so much with entrepreneurship because you can make mistakes and learn what not to do the next time around.

  10. Ideapreneur says:

    You know I too have been struggling with the whole “no benefits” thing when it comes to becoming an entrepreneur full-time.

    I am running my first marathon though πŸ˜‰

    Great podcast, I could definitely relate.

  11. Anne Z. says:

    What an inspiring podcast, Pam! I loved it. I couldn’t put my finger on why I’d rather continue down an entrepreneurial path instead of taking a full-time job with benefits, but your five reasons crystallized it for me.

    The poem you closed with was perfect. Hadn’t heard that before.

    Thanks!

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