by Michael Gerber
There is a commonly held belief that one becomes an entrepreneur by going into business, or going out on one’s own.
I don’t subscribe to that belief.
In fact, as you and I get to know each other better – and I trust we will over time — you’ll discover that not only don’t I subscribe to that belief, but I hold strongly to the opposing belief (with overwhelming evidence to support my position!) that to go into business, or out on one’s own, in the belief that by so doing one is an entrepreneur, will result in tragic consequences of the greatest magnitude.
In short, it’s a very, very bad idea!
So then what – writing as I am on Entrepreneur.com – is an entrepreneur?
Let me share my view with you, and then let me give you three exercises to do to awaken the entrepreneur within you to come out and begin do her work for you to create your new and astonishing world.
Hear me, an entrepreneur is not a person, but a personality. The personality living inside of each and every person on the face of the earth… the personality who dreams.
The entrepreneur inside of you, of me, of your children, of your husband or wife, of your father or mother, of your friends, of your relatives of every shape, size and dimension, no matter what they do for a living, no matter how bold or how shy, no matter where they live or what their education may be or not be, the entrepreneur in each and every human being is the dreamer, the dreaming soul in each and every one of us who sees life as it could be, not as it is; who sees mountains where only flat land lives; who sees great buildings and cities and countries arising with enormous energy where as of yet no buildings or cities or countries live; who sees the sweet juice of opportunity around every corner, in every cranny, nook and claptrap yard, in every square or rounded inch of misery, there is, to the entrepreneurial personality living in each and every human being a life larger than life, a beauty larger than beauty, a promise larger than any promise could hope to be.
The entrepreneur in each and every one of us is the inventor, the creator, a lunatic of the most profound dimensions, the inconsolable pursuer of the impossible who sees visions where others only see work.
The entrepreneur in you and in me is holy, truly holy, and not to be believed.
Which says that Walt Disney knew who his entrepreneur was, as did Sam Walton, as did Ray Kroc and Steve Jobs, as did Debby Fields and yes, even, as strange as it might seem to you, did Einstein and Chopin and Rumi and every “imagineer” (Disney’s word!) who ever dared to climb a mountain that wasn’t there, and to reach the summit, and to hold up his hands and head and scream to those who didn’t see him or her until they came into view…not even the mountain!…”I’m here!”
And there was no ‘here’ until they said it. And there was no ‘there’ until all the others saw it. And there was no summit until they created it. And that’s what the magic of your entrepreneurial soul does when you invite him, when you invite her, to go climbing.
The First Exercise
Stop thinking about what you want to do. Stop doing what you are doing. Go to a place, any place will do, where activity ceases, where there is no itinerary, no schedule, no agenda, no responsibility, no work of any kind, no expectation, no result you have set for yourself, no goals, no objectives, no action plans whatsoever, go to such a place to empty your mind.
And that is the first exercise to awaken the entrepreneur in you… to empty your mind. To dream and to create there needs to be both space and energy. With nothing whatsoever you intend to do.
The entrepreneur in us wants to play with the idea of things, without constraint. To write without purpose, to imagine without an end game, to live fully and completely in the moment of his or her experience, now. Not in the past, nor in the future, but now.
To prepare yourself for this Exercise, try sitting down where you are, closing the door, telling everyone who might bother you, to give you ten minutes without disturbance of any kind.
Unplug the phone, turn off your computer, sit down, face a wall, close your eyes, place your hands in your lap, breath deeply, and just stay there, just like that. You’ll see immediately what I mean, and why that is important.
You must do this First Exercise every single day!
The Second Exercise
Get a blank piece of paper. You have nothing in mind. Sit with the blank piece of paper and let whatever comes to mind go to the paper. Whether it be a sentence, or just three seemingly unrelated words.
Whether it be an entire paragraph, a thought, a concern, a conclusion, let it write itself down. The key here is to let ‘It’ speak. To let ‘It’ speak. To let ‘It’ say what ‘It’ wants to say. To let ‘It’ have the room to breath.
My saxophone teacher once said to me, years ago, “Michael, you don’t make music, music finds you.” You need to let ‘It’ play its music. That is what the entrepreneur in you wants more than anything, to play ‘It’s’ music.
You will be amazed what appears on the blank piece of paper as you do this Second Exercise.
Do it for only 10 minutes.
Do it once a day. And save those pieces of paper, with the date on the top right hand corner. Save them in a box, or a file folder, and know that that box or file folder is a sacred place. Because your dreamer has created it. Your entrepreneur has become vulnerable. Your creator has expressed himself, herself, and you have been a witness to it.
The Third Exercise
Maintaining your entrepreneurial journal is a daily process, and I highly recommend it. Buy yourself a Journal, preferably with leather covers, a rich looking Journal, a Journal that impresses you because it looks so rich, so permanent, so significant. Write in that Journal what you learned that day. Write in that Journal what you felt that day.
Write in that Journal anything that came to mind that day, as you sat with a blank piece of paper, as you sat in your chair facing the wall for ten minutes with absolutely no interruption at all, as you felt your feelings come up, your feelings of being blocked, your feelings of being ashamed, your feelings of excitement, your feelings of despair… whatever came up that day, record it, even though you may not think you are an accomplished writer, or even if you think you are, your entrepreneurial Journal is not about the writing, it’s about the recording.
This is your life, someone once said. This is your life, and if you don’t take it seriously, who will? This is your Third Exercise, and it will feed your First Exercise and your Second Exercise, and you will know it.
Believe me, you will know it.
Copyright © 2011 Soulfully Living. All rights reserved.
Michael E. Gerber is the world’s #1 small business leader. He is the author of The New York Times bestseller The E-Myth Revisited: Why Most Small Businesses Don’t Work And What to Do About It, and 12 other books about entrepreneurship and small business management. The E-Myth Revisited has been translated in 29 languages, is taught in 118 universities as a foundational entrepreneurial textbook, and forms the foundation of the Michael E. Gerber Companies, which is dedicated to “bring the dream back to small business worldwide.”