No doubt about it, starting your journey to be an Owntrepreneur is daunting. There are so many reasons against it, the most powerful is the power of habit (breaking this “habit trap” is a subject of another post).
So I will provide one very powerful tip to help in this critical and difficult step. The trick it simple- find someone else who’s “done it” before, and try walking in their shoes- or, at least, be inspired by them.
But finding someone who inspires you is more difficult than most people think. The obvious choice is to find extremely successful people, some of them actual entrepreneurs, and choose these as role models. For example, few would argue Steve Jobs’s phenomenal skills and entrepreneurial spirit (I do recommend at least seeing the speech he delivered to the graduates of Stanford University www.youtube.com/watch?v=D1R-jKKp3NA- truly inspiring), as well as business and personal success. But how many would really want to BE Jobs? By all accounts the man was not a pleasant man, and reigned on his subordinates like a modern, Silicon Valley tyrant. Or Jeff Bezos, another dot.com maverick, who’s fiercely competitive and said on numerous occasions that to work on his company: “You can work long, hard, or smart, but at Amazon.com you can’t choose two out of three”.
I have tremendous respect for these two innovators, but I do not wish to be like them. Not one bit. So I’ve started looking for inspiration elsewhere, with the people I know and admire. I’ve thought about my teachers at school and professors at the university (some of which who’s pioneered new areas in research), about my commanding officers in the navy and current and former bosses. But the longer I thought about this the more the answer became obvious- the Owntrepreneur I should be following is none other than my later mother. My Mother, Dorit Gutman (who passed away nearly 7 years ago) was a true Owntrepreneur. After teaching Biology in high school for many years she decided she wanted more and was part of a very small group of parents who started a brand new school with radical approach- the Democratic school of Hadera. She’s done so to allow my sister and I to enjoy better schooling than what the orthodox schools offered. Shortly after she started being involved in this initiative she left her teaching job and started working full time on her new venture, and later was elected by the group (by then an NGO) to serve as the co-principle (and later sole principle), a position she held for more than a decade during which the school has grown from couple of dozens of student to several hundreds, winning local an international awards and starting a nation-wide trend of alternative schools. But eventually she grew tired of it, resigned from managing the school and focus on her new interest- coaching. In a short time span she cultivated quite a following and was delivering workshops, private consulting sessions and training other to become coachers and counsels.
While I love my mother deeply and admire her achievements, it only recently dawned upon me that amongst other things, she had true Owntrepreneurial spirit. She was highly respected within the boundaries of her profession, and when these no longer suited her she broke them and started something completely new, only to do the same several years later.
And the since I was close to her for most of this time (although too young to comprehend everything), I can use here tremendous experience and utilize this a source of inspiration for my own Owntrepreneurial journey.
Sadly, she died of cancer I’m not able to consult with her and receive her direct advice- a fact which saddens me deeply. But nonetheless I have a great example in front of me- someone I know, who’s embarked on a journey they had no idea will be successful, and manage to succeed through all the difficulties, while raising a family and being a genuine, loving and caring person.
If that’s not inspiring, I don’t know what is. So Jeff, Bill or Steve, please forgive me. While you are all great examples of Owntrepreneurship, I choose my mom over you any day.