Entrepreneurship is not about business. It is about self-transformation. It is about becoming who you have always wanted to be. It is a 180-degree shift in perspective and mind-set -- then living everyday in that mindset. You stare at yourself everyday, see your weaknesses close up, and find new ways to overcome them. If you're approaching entrepreneurship correctly, it is transformative. As an entrepreneur, you should be in a constant state of personal growth. Launching yourself out into space with nothing but a wing, a prayer, an idea and a business plan. Being this far outside your comfort zone, will change who you are and how you live more completely than any self-help program, religious conversion, or psychotherapy.
One day I would love to poll entrepreneurs who fall into two groups: the wildly successful and the ones who gave up after a short while. I'll bet you that 90 percent of the wildly successful ones spent more time working on themselves than their companies. They have cultivated their passion, their self-belief and their ability to inspire others everyday. They spend less time working on balance sheets and fine-tuning marketing plans and more time finding new ways to overcome their fears and bring audacious new ideas to light. That's what entrepreneurs do: they change the world by changing themselves first.
Ideas aren't just about product development or financial success; they are part of your identity. You show the world who you are through expression and development of your ideas. When I talk to aspiring entrepreneurs who never got their idea off the drawing board, I hear the same sad story: it's not the idea they don't believe in, but their own ability to make it work. They don't believe they have what it takes to be a Tommy Hilfiger or a Jeff Bezos or a Mark Zuckerberg, the college kid who created Facebook. But do you know the only quality separating these moguls from other people? Self-belief and the willingness to shove the fear back in the corners of their minds and trust their ideas.
The first question to ask yourself when you think about taking the entrepreneurial leap isn't "What kind of business do I want to start?", it's "Who do I want to become?" The first thing you must change before you can realize your dream is yourself. Call it the spiritual path to entrepreneurship if you like, but ask anyone who has built something great from nothing and he or she will back me up. When you start there, everything else falls into place.
To find out more, check out my new book What if? & Why not?: How to Transform Your Fears Into Action and Start the Business of Your Dreams