Myth #4: You Have to Have Your Life Figured Out
If you’re a highly motivated young person, you’ll probably think I’m crazy, but let me tell you a secret: no, you don’t have to have your life figured out. Take a breath as I tell you again for good measure. Really, you don’t have to have our life figured out to start a business, enterprise, platform, or non-profit.
Let's dive into this.
“Wow, how do they always know what to do?” This was my thought toward any parent, teacher, or other adult that I had met while growing up. In my young and naive mind they seemed to know everything. They clearly had their lives together if they had a job, a house, a child, and/or other responsibilities. I distinctly remember my 22nd Birthday, the day I considered myself to be an actual adult. Confusion came over me as I looked around the dinner table at my friends who, by my definition of anyone over the age of 22, would also be classified as “adults.” I didn’t feel any more responsible than before, and neither did my friends. I was still a young girl with a lot of questions and didn't "always know what to do" like how I imagined most "real" adults.
What was I going to do for work? Is what I'm studying in school going to determine the rest of my life? What was my calling? Can my calling change? Where would I live? Who would I marry? What are my life long passions? My college friends and I asked ourselves dozens of questions. In fact, because there were even more choices I had to face in life, I became less sure of myself. I began to realize I didn’t have my life figured out and perhaps I never would.
I relived this discovery process in my entrepreneurial journey. In college I had researched and even met a number of successful entrepreneurs. I remember attending large networking events and seminars and thinking to myself that they had something I didn’t. That their life was figured out, that they could answer every question, and they were some how more equipped than I was to take on the challenges that come with developing a business.
However, there’s a difference between seeing an entrepreneur on stage and actually getting to know one. Recently, I’ve been taken back by the humility and honesty of the entrepreneurs I’ve met. I have yet to find an entrepreneur that has it "all figured out." Even successful leaders in tech companies, real estate ventures, and health lines continually question what the next move is, how to reach a work life balance, and how they should reach their goals, and what their goals even are.
So, think about it. Entrepreneurs are starters. They are the fist. They are trail blazers. So, can you really know what you’re doing if you’re embarking on a journey that’s never been done? The rational answer to that is no. So don't put the irrational expectation on yourself that you should have everything figured out before you take a shot at running your first start up.
This simple article might not change your perspective. The odds are that you still have pent up feelings of stress from questions and insecurities that occur in life if you've been believing the lie that you have to have your life figured out before creating your first business for years. That's okay. However, I encourage you to reach out and connect with other entrepreneurs to hear additional encouragement and stories from those who have been in your same position.
Want to hear more entrepreneurship stories from successful leaders? Check out the Global U Talks podcast here.