I had long cherished the idea of entrepreneurship as a salvation; the thing I was meant to do that would lift me above the discontents of normal life. After industry internships, I longed for the flexibility and autonomy that being my own boss enabled. This past summer, I worked as a Technology Transfer Entrepreneur for DOE. Actually working as an entrepreneur changed how I thought about almost everything. Every person I met became a potential customer, investor, or brand crusader. My passion as a spoken word artist became something that I thought about less and less.
As the number of stakeholders increases, I foresee my induced stress, feelings of frustration, and levels of self-doubt, also increasing. My definition of “success” will become a volatile critique based on a myriad of other’s voices. My juvenile notion on great company culture, a vision of considerable growth, and a worthy exit is no longer controlled nor affects just me independently.
I empathize with James Freeman’s decision (Blue Bottle Founder and CEO) to pursue his business over his artistry. After scouring the Internet for statistics on professional clarinet players, the most optimistic estimate placed all independent musicians at ~1.4% of the total U.S. workforce. While it’s highly unlikely to reach the status of acclaim in either profession, the relentless believers ultimately surpass the rest.
Healthy Brain Food for Thought: Luckily, the brain isn’t static. Rather, our environments and deep emotions constantly rewire it. Entrepreneurship is a creative endeavor that delves into our most intimate selves—and I’m sure his art heavily influences his leadership.