Entrepreneurship is a gamble. It’s a high-stakes game where the odds are against you and you’re betting on yourself even when nobody else might be. This is nothing new. I’ve said on this blog before and you guys all know it. You live this life, too.
But I’ve been thinking about the inertia a lot of entrepreneurs live in. We are betting so hard on ourselves that we won’t allow “failure” or for our ideas to adapt and change and take us somewhere else. It’s sort of like those articles that pop up every once in a while that tell us we should get up and walk around once an hour. We all know we should but I have never ever seen anyone actually do it.
I think we should do something slightly similar but also slightly different: Maybe once a month do a gut-check on yourself, your project, where it’s going and where you want it to be going. Are you losing your passion? Can you sense the exciting things around the corner? Or are you completely baffled and unsure where things are going?
It can be easy to dig yourself into a trench with your business and assume if you just keep pushing and pushing and pushing, things will go your way. But what if you’ve been pushing the wrong direction and the reason you’re meeting so much resistance is because you should take a slight detour?
It happens in stories all the time, or even in scenes of movies. It’s called a beat. You’ve probably heard of it before. I’ve always thought of beats as a momentary detour in a character’s trajectory and goals.
Let’s say you really want a sandwich. You go to the fridge and there’s no bread at all. Well, you still want a sandwich, that’s your end goal, so there’s a beat of rifling through the fridge to see if there’s anything else you can substitute for bread. A pita? A bagel? A flat-bread wrap?
Nope, there’s nothing. Then, you know what? You decide you want a popsicle or something. Oh, look: You have ice-cream sandwiches. So, you got a sandwich after all, and it’s not quite what you were looking for, but it also was.
Be open to the possibility that the sandwich of your entrepreneurship may actually be an ice-cream sandwich instead. Be open to it.
David Wolinsky is a freelance writer and a lifelong Chicagoan. In addition to currently serving as an interviewer-writer for Adult Swim, he's also a comedy-writing instructor for Second City. He was the Chicago city editor for The Onion A.V. Club where he provided in-depth daily coverage of this city's bustling arts/entertainment scene for half a decade. When not playing video games for work he's thinking of dashing out to Chicago Diner, Pizano's, or Yummy Yummy. His first career aspirations were to be a game-show host.