This post was inspired by Brenè Brown's book, Daring Greatly, and can be interpreted as what it not only takes to be an entrepreneur, but also a leader, linchpin and lover. In her book she discusses in depth about the importance of following six traits, why we act the way we do and how to build the courage to lead the life you deserve to live. It's been my most favorite book read this year! I've even gone on to read her other books as well, Rising Strong and The Gifts of Imperfection.
As a self-funded entrepreneur, I’ve built Sweet & Spark from the ground up, teaching myself the skills I need as I go, which has required a lot of "putting myself out there". This book especially resonated with me because it’s these same traits that gave me the courage to look my fear in the face and tell it to, ”Shut the fuck up! I’m following my gut and quitting my day job to start a company. I don’t know what I’m doing but I know that I’ll figure it out.” And while that same fear is still around today, I've chosen to co-exist with in a healthy way. Today, I'm proud that I allow vulnerability to pave my path. Here's what Brenè Brown (and I) believe you need to dare greatly.....
1. Shame Resistance. The first step to becoming an entrepreneur (leader, linchpin and lover) is learning how to let go of your ego. Realizing that right here, right now you are enough will allow you to quiet the noise in your head. You’re going to need a lot of energy for the mind to dream wildly and then to actually do all the hard work. You’ve got to learn how to be happy with nothing because as in life, there is no certainty. Practice self-compassion by staying positive. Nobody is going to believe in you and your idea as much as you do. So go ahead and, pump yourself up, you deserve it!
2. Vulnerability. Defined for an entrepreneur as the ability to show up every single day, even on the days that you’re feeling uninspired and discouraged, and let your truest self shine through creativity. It is a muscle that will become stronger with practice. It is in utilizing this muscle that will help you overcome your fears of sharing your unique Spark with the world. It’s okay to start saying,
“I don’t know what I’m doing.”
“I want to learn how to…”
“I will figure it out.”
“What do you think?”
“How should I start?”
“What if I fail?”
“Will you help me?”
Engaging with your vulnerability will determine the depth of your courage, clarify your purpose and let your strengths shine. It’s the fuel that keeps you moving forward to experiment with new ideas instead of worrying about what everyone is going to think. As an entrepreneur, vulnerability is your compass, leading you right where you need to go next.
3. Wholeheartedness. You can’t love others until you love yourself. Honoring humanity through a spiritual practice, knowing that we are all here trying to do the best we can on our own journey, will soften your heart.
In this industry, taking things personal can extinguish your fire. Realizing that love is not something that is mutually exclusive is one of the most freeing realizations there is. It's okay to love someone (or something) and know they are (or it's) not the right fit.
Sometimes you have to give more than you get but that’s okay because there is enough success to go around. If we just keep leading by example, we are winning. Master this trait by paying it forward. Make time to meet someone that admires you for coffee or tell a friend about an inspiring article that you know they would appreciate reading.
4. Gratitude. The ability to be grateful allows you to experience the highest of highs, from even the smallest of wins. Being grateful is how you celebrate the joy in everyday and know that you already are and have enough. In this business, there won’t be one single, game changing moment. It’s all of the little things together that make it fulfilling every single day.
If you’re an entrepreneur, you know there isn’t one destination. Practicing gratitude is the only way you will survive the most uncertain moments.
5. Courage. The more you can be vulnerable, the more courage you will have.
Courage is the ingredient that will take you from where you are to where you want to go. It’s the ability to sit with fear and take the time to listen to your intuition while you’re learning a new skill. Courage is about allowing yourself to make mistakes and seeing all challenges as opportunities. It's knowing when to quit and that it doesn't equate to failure. If you are comfortable, then you aren’t living up to your highest potential.
It is contagious, so spend time reading inspiring books/blogs, listening to podcasts and hanging out with those people that fill you up. Check out Jess Lively’s podcast, Seth Godin’s daily blog and The Desire Map by Danielle LaPorte (which I wrote a book review on here).
6. Hope. Hope is actually a product of struggle. Gaining experience with tenacity and resilience allows you to understand that there is no, one best plan. Having the ability to see the big picture, gives you the flexibility required to venture into the unknown. You can’t let one little set back get you down. Knowing that you can change your mind at anytime is powerful; you always have options.
Not everyone is born to be an entrepreneur but we all yearn for some sort of belonging. We can only find out what that means for us personally if we can allow ourselves to continue growing into each of these six traits. And there’s only one way to do that- everyday we must practice sharing our light.