Urgent optimism is the singular critical trait I believe all entrepreneurs share. It’s more than glass half full; it’s more than seeing the world in a positive context. There is momentum, a drive to impact and to impact now.
This is annoying to many; they don’t seem to understand this intensity. We see it as passion. To others we are relentless. It’s an entrepreneur’s DNA. Entrepreneurs cannot help themselves; they are born this way. No intervention can help us. And believe me, friends, family, and colleagues all have offered us advice to slow down, be logical. Great counsel but a tough mission to accept.
There is a risk that this optimism could inadvertently turn into tunnel vision. It’s like getting caught in a vortex of fast spinning energy.
My client, a CEO of an ad agency, put it best: “My family welcomes my business travel. It’s their chance to refuel. I burn them out. I know I do. My leadership coach encourages me to share, be transparent, get just in time feedback. So I do. I get why I need to and I see my family as huge supporters. This coach of mine tells me, ‘You know, sometimes you’re just too plain hyped up.’”
There is a risk that this optimism could inadvertently turn into tunnel vision. It’s like getting caught in a vortex of fast spinning energy. You may steamroll ahead, make quick decisions without considering factors such as determining risks, employing the right metrics, ascertaining whether the market wants what you’re selling, identifying top talent, correctly evaluating the necessary capital, and a host of other potential liabilities.
So what is the right equation? Of course you feel time is of the essence and if you don’t hurry up someone will beat you to the punch. Last time I checked that doesn’t feel too good. Like all sprinters who are racing to the finish line you need to understand what it takes to keep you in peak performance. This means you must get outside of yourself no matter how smart, savvy and prescient you think you are. Find an advisor, coach, or mentor. Someone you respect, or someone who has a great track record of not just success but enduring tough times. Of course we want to surround ourselves with heroes, but you need these heroes to have made mistakes. It’s the only way you will be guided with real wisdom.
Just like there is danger in thinking you know everything or have all the answers, there are risks in working in isolation or at warp speed. But guess what? This all comes down to one thing, and that’s the size of your ego. You must have a sense of humility. You could be wrong, you might require course correction or you might even have to start all over again. So being open to feedback from those who care and have domain expertise is invaluable. If you regard yourself as an eternal student along with being an innovator then you will attract the right resources. I strongly believe in surrounding myself with benevolent experts. When I rebelled and sometimes railed against their wise counsel I of course fell down, learned to dust myself off and eventually demonstrated a modicum of maturity. They know who they are, they know I am truly grateful and they know they have shaped who I am. I am not sure what your definition of cool is, but for me it’s surrounding myself with sage advisors. They’ve got the right mojo and have worked hard to set me straight.