Entrepreneurship is a constant uphill battle rigged with traps, snares, and obstacles of all sizes. It’s a battle that rages tirelessly in the six inches between your ears.
Most people never realize that the biggest obstacle in entrepreneurship is themselves, that it’s their own self-doubt that keeps them up late in the night or talks them into walking away from the big contract they know they could win.
This is where community comes in. A healthy inner-circle provides a vital aspect of entrepreneurship — belief. By surrounding yourself with those who believe in you, you give yourself a distinct competitive advantage. Community allows you to split the burden, reminds you to look up, take a breath, and reminds you what it’s all for.
Identify Your Community
As an entrepreneur it’s far too easy to surround yourself with the wrong community. Entrepreneurs are a rare breed. We think in ways that intimidate others and take risks that can’t be justified by the average Joe. Because of that, we need other entrepreneurs in their lives, ones that won’t get intimidated or scared. Ones that believe in the vision and push them to pursue it at all costs. Most importantly, they need those who have done it before.
As an entrepreneur, I’m extremely picky about who I let into my community . The wrong person can sink ships in a heartbeat. Here’s how I identify who can and cannot come along for the ride:
- They see your vision and believe that you are the one to make it happen.
- They are hopelessly optimistic but never lose track of reality.
- They have been or are successful entrepreneurs.
- They are not afraid to push you past your fears.
- They are motivated to take on dreams as big or bigger than your own.
What Community Looks Like
Community can be one of the most elusive ideas when it comes to practical execution. This is because community depends on two or more people taking the initiative to have community. It’s not found, it doesn’t just happen, and isn’t built by a thought leader. At the most basic form, community is an agreement. It’s an agreement to do life together, to pursue relationship in the great and horrible times, to be there for one another even when it’s inconvenient. Community is speaking the truth, when it hurts and taking responsibility when it’s not yours to take.
At the end of the day community looks a lot like entrepreneurship — it requires hard work, perseverance, and intentionality. I wish I could give you the magic potion for skipping the grind in building great companies, but with community the load is lighter and much more enjoyable.