The Power of Practice

September 17, 2007
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There is a commonly held belief that one becomes an entrepreneur simply by going into business. I don’t subscribe to that belief. 




There is a commonly held belief that one becomes an entrepreneur simply by going into business. I don’t subscribe to that belief.  In fact, you’ll discover that I hold strongly to the opposing belief (with overwhelming evidence to support my position!). This belief that going into business qualifies one as an entrepreneur will result in tragic consequences of the greatest magnitude. In short, it’s a very, very bad idea!

So what exactly is an entrepreneur? I have a different context for that. Let me share my view with you and then give you three exercises to awaken the entrepreneur within you to help this part of you emerge and begin to work for you to create your new and astonishing world.

An entrepreneur is not a person but a personality. It is the personality living inside of each and every person on the face of the earth, the personality who dreams. The entrepreneur is inside of you, me, your children, your spouse, parents, friends, and relatives of every shape, size and dimension. No matter what they do for a living, how bold or shy, what their location or education level, the entrepreneur is inside each and every human being. It is the dreamer within: the dreaming soul in each and every one of us who sees life as it could be, not as it is. It is the visionary who can see beyond the beyond – he sees mountains on flatland and sees great buildings and cities and countries arising in empty space. He sees the sweet juice of opportunity around every corner, in every nook and cranny, and beyond every square inch of misery. He sees what others don’t or can’t and he knows there is an entrepreneurial personality living in each and every human being. It is 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, and a lunatic of the most profound dimensions. It is the inconsolable pursuer of the impossible who sees visions where others only see work.

The entrepreneur within each of us is truly holy, and in most cases, will not be believed by others. This says that Walt Disney knew who his entrepreneur was, as did Sam Walton, Ray Kroc, Steve Jobs, 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 reached the summit. They each had to hold up his hands and head and scream, “I’m here!” to all those who didn’t see him or her until they came into view.  There was no ‘here’ until they said it. There was no ‘there’ until all the others saw it. And there was no summit until they created it.

That’s what the magic of your entrepreneurial soul does when you invite him or her to go climbing. By embarking on this journey, you can tap into the recesses of your entrepreneurial self and find out what is there, waiting to be created.

Awaken Exercise 1
Stop thinking about what you want to do and stop doing what you are doing. Go to a place 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, and no action plans whatsoever. Go within to such a place to empty your mind.

That’s it. That is the first exercise to awaken the entrepreneur in you…to empty your mind. In order to dream and create there needs to be both space and energy. There is nothing in this space for you to do. The entrepreneur in us wants to play with the ideas of things, without constraint. It wants to write without purpose, to imagine without an end game, to live fully and completely in the moment of his or her experience, right here and now. Not in the past, nor in the future, but now.

To prepare yourself for this exercise, sit down right where you are, close the door, tell anyone 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, get comfortable, place your hands in your lap, breathe deeply, and just stay there, quietly. Just like that! You’ll see immediately what I mean, and why that is important.

You must do this first exercise every single day!

Awaken Exercise 2
 Get a blank piece of paper and empty your mind. Sit with the blank piece of paper and let whatever comes to mind flow onto the paper. It may it be a sentence or just three seemingly unrelated words. It may be an entire paragraph, a thought, a concern, a conclusion, a memory, a vision or a poem. Let ‘It’ write itself down. The key here is to let ‘It’ speak.  Let ‘It’ say what ‘It’ wants to say.  Let ‘It’ have the room to breathe and express ‘Itself.’

Years ago my saxophone teacher said to me, “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 ‘Its’ music, create ‘Its’ creation, and dream ‘Its’ dream.

You will be amazed what appears on the blank piece of paper as you do this second exercise.  Do this for 10 minutes once a day. Save those pieces of paper and date them on the top right hand corner. Save them in a box or a file folder. 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.

Awaken Exercise 3
Maintaining an entrepreneurial journal is a daily process, and I highly recommend it. Buy yourself a rich-looking journal with a leather cover. This journal impresses you because it looks so important, so permanent, and so significant.  Write in that journal what you learned each day, what you felt each day and anything that came to mind that day. As you sit with a blank piece of paper in your chair, facing the wall for 10 minutes with absolutely no interruption at all, write what you feel as your feelings come up. These may be feelings of shame, excitement, despair or even feelings of being blocked. Whatever comes up, record it. Let go of any thoughts or feelings of not being a writer. 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. It will further your first two exercises in amazing ways, and you will know it.

By starting these processes you are opening up the communication with your inner entrepreneur. The intention is to give voice to that part of you and find out all the creative ideas you have waiting to be birthed. The intention is also to give voice to the fears, anxieties and blocks that may be holding you back.  In knowing all of this, you begin to sort things out within you. By opening this dialogue, you begin the process to know your entrepreneurial self. From there, the sky is the limit.

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