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12.12.2014 Sharon Spano, Ph.D.

How to Break “Curse” of the Entrepreneur

I’m an entrepreneur, so I get it when my clients talk about the “curse.”  There are obviously many great things about being an entrepreneur.  The negatives, however, can keep us from being effective. Entrepreneurs, it seems, are wired differently. We just can’t help ourselves.

In short, there are three components to this so-called curse. 

  • We seek too much information.
  • We have too many ideas.
  • We rarely have enough time to accomplish all that we’d like to do. 

The quest for knowledge and information can be a good thing. We’re the ones who regularly attend professional conferences. We read voraciously, listen to tapes, and basically do whatever it takes to maintain a competitive edge. All good unless this quest distracts us from attending to the business itself. 

Too much information can also result in too many competing ideas. I’m guilty of this one.  Seems the more I read, listen, and learn, the more ideas I have. Too many ideas, and I can become distracted and overwhelmed. When I get overwhelmed, my work pace slows down.  Next thing I know, I’m chasing time. I then lose focus and become frustrated.

As you can see, the curse reflects the dark and light side of being an entrepreneur. There’s nothing wrong with having a desire for more information. It’s a great thing to have a lot of ideas.  But, when we fall into the pit of overwhelm, we can quickly find ourselves muddled and confused. 

The danger here is that we settle for status quo and keep on doing business as usual whether it makes sense or not.

It’s a vicious cycle, but one that can easily be broken. Commit to two new actions in 2015, and I promise you’ll be free of the entrepreneurial curse.

1. Develop a strategic road map for the year.

I typically begin to map this out end of the third quarter.  My intention is to have a clear idea of short-and-long-term goals by the end of December if not before. 

If you didn’t read my recent blog, What’s Your Intention for 2015, check it out. 

Having a clearly-defined strategic road map is a vital tool against the negative components of being an entrepreneur.

2. Join a Mastermind or hire a Strategic Business Coach.

Either or both of these efforts will help you generate greater results in the upcoming year. The point is to surround yourself with some form of accountability. You want to build a support team that you can trust. These people should be individuals who care enough about you and your business to tell you the truth. People who will help you stay on track with your goals and help you make sure that they are intentionally aligned with your strategic plan.

In the case of the mastermind group, they should also be people with whom you have some kind of affinity. They don’t necessarily have to be in the same business that you’re in, but you must have some common bond with one another because mastermind encounters are a two-way street. You want to give as much as you receive.

As to finding a strategic business coach, buyer beware. Coaching has become somewhat cliche. Not everyone who says they are a “coach” has been trained. In short, the role of the coach is to help you clarify and define your business and/or life plan.  A good coach will also help you generate innovative solutions and hold you accountable. This is an important role, so seek recommendations from people you know or find someone who is certified by the International Coaching Federation. 

As a business consultant for many years, much of my own work centers around helping entrepreneurs determine their business and life strategies. I can tell you, however, that I’m often too close to my own practice to do this for myself. I have mastermind partners that I speak to on a monthly basis. I also have a strategic business coach to help me implement my goals on a consistent basis.   

Even if you’re great at developing long-term goals, you don’t want to operate in a vacuum. Being a sole entrepreneur can be a lonely space. Wise leaders understand the value of surrounding themselves with other wise leaders. 

The point is this. It doesn’t matter how long you’ve been in business or how much you know, each of us can benefit from some level of mastermind interaction or coaching.  If you’ve been mired by a cycle of confusion or frustration in your business or your life, go for it! 

Make a commitment to your own personal and professional development.  Starting now. 

Published by Sharon Spano, Ph.D. December 12, 2014