I love a good metaphor and today's is one that I have thought about a lot in conjunction with my all time favorite topic, entrepreneurship. As I have spent the last 7 years intensely researching the subject, I have found the most interesting and most lacking information to be surrounding the core of entrepreneurship itself, the entrepreneurial spirit. So, I have looked to religion, in this case, the one in which I was raised, Catholicism, and made some comparisons.
Entrepreneurship is a spiritual endeavor at its core. Everything begins , continues and ends with the power of the entrepreneurial spirit.
Like, other spiritual endeavors, it demands faith, commitment and a practice. It is a journey from the person you are to the person that you will become, based on how the experience of the endeavor forms you. It will demand many things of you, the greatest being, the commitment to continue when the journey no longer seems possible. It will challenge you to believe in the unknown and unpredictable. To have faith in the entrepreneurial spirit within you and to trust that it will guide you to where you want to go. Its power is often incomprehensible, however, nothing can be accomplished in its absence.
The 10 Commandments of Entrepreneurship
1. Have respect for the "Life" above anything. Have nothing that you prioritize over this.
Entrepreneurship is a lifestyle. It is not something that can be engaged upon lightly. Because, by its nature, it will come to permeate all you do. It will be demanding of your respect, attention, commitment and dedication. It will provide you with joy, contentment and transcendence on the good days and test the very core of your faith in yourself, on the bad. It is for some, a calling, for others a choice. However, the commitment to the lifestyle will need to be the same, if you are to succeed in following this path..
2. Do not focus on the trappings of entrepreneurship. Focus on the work.
In recent years, there has been an increased focus on entrepreneurship in the media with a disproportionate display promoting unyielding fame, fortune and power. However, the truth is that entrepreneurship has and always will be about the work. The investment for the entrepreneur is great and to create any sustainable venture the demand will be to pay attention to the details of the task at hand.
3. Frame thoughts and words positively in communicating about your endeavor.
Thoughts and words create reality. The energy that you put into your venture will be directly related to your mindset. Positive thoughts are empowering and give you momentum in good times and keep you from giving up when things get tough.
4. Remember to rest.
Entrepreneurship is a challenging endeavor. It will constantly call upon your resources. To remain sharp, you must ensure that you take time to replete, rest, recharge and get distance from your project. This will provide you with added insights and additional perspectives, especially during difficult times.
5. Honor your partners and clients (relationships).
Entrepreneurship can not exist in a bubble. Following the power of the entrepreneurial spirit is the power of relationships in the entrepreneurial world. Respect and honor those with whom you work, do business and service. This will provide you with the support, added input and additional resources you need to succeed.
6. Don't get ahead by doing harm. This includes people, animals, plants and the environment.
Living in an enlightened age, we can no longer ignore the inequalities and dismal facts of the state of the world. As an entrepreneur, forming the new, it is your responsibility to use your power to improve the world we live in. Create a sustainable business that is socially, environmentally, culturally and economically responsible.
7. Stay dedicated and committed to your entrepreneurial venture.
Engaging in an entrepreneurial endeavor is first and foremost a contract between you and yourself. It is personal development journey that will constantly tease and test. At times it will demand every fiber of your being. Focus will make the process easier while tenacity will be the difference between success and failure.
8. Do not steal from others. This includes not stealing from nature.
The entrepreneurial spirit is pure and unique unto us all. Its innovative abilities are infinite. There is neither cause to take from others nor reason to unnecessarily take from nature.
9. Work from integrity. Be truthful.
The entrepreneurial spirit is pure and neutral. It is therefore, the task of the entrepreneur, herself, to be honest to her own values and authentic to her own beliefs.
10. Don't be jealous of the accomplishments, material worth or lifestyle of others.
No one has more than you have the potential to have, achieve or be. Don’t waste your time worrying about anyone else. Work to be the best version of yourself and to do the best work that you can do.
I believe that better understanding the entrepreneurial spirit is the core of creating better entrepreneurial education, government and peer to peer support programs. It will change the way the entrepreneur environment is created and maintained. And it will help everyone (within and outside of the entrepreneurial culture) to better understand the personal and social investment involved in embarking upon an entrepreneurial endeavor. Over the last few years, a dialogue has begun surrounding this area, however, there is still a long way to go. Today, I am simply more fervently adding my voice to the conversation. What about you?