Entrepreneurs need advocates. An advocate is someone who will be there supporting you as an entrepreneur and acting as your best champion. They will support and defend your actions and decisions as you learn to navigate through the trenches. This person can be a close (or even former) college, your best friend, your spouse, a family member or your psychologist. One attribute they all must have in common is they must be impartial, have the ability to listen, provide rational advice when asked and be on call when you need to talk.
I never learned how important an advocate was starting out. I like most entrepreneurs thought that only I could be my best advocate. Soon I realized that as problems arose, as they always do, I would begin to doubt my abilities.
No matter how strongly we as entrepreneurs believe in our product or service, there will always be doubt that will creep and linger in the back of our minds. That voice that grows louder with each failure, and there will be many failures. That voice with breathe self-doubt in our minds leading to self-sabotage -- making you your worst enemy.
Because let's face it, there is comfort in knowing the familiar and change no matter how big or small is always scary. An advocate is there to be your cheerleader providing comfort and support to battle through the pitfalls and failures that are inevitable.
My advocate is my psychologist, and I am not ashamed to say so. She gave me the best advice when I started out: “Fake it ‘til you make it.” Even if you feel like you are a failure, act as though you are a success. I would use her advice every morning before I started my day, repeating to myself: "I am a confident, capable, intelligent person who is worthy of success." Over and over I would repeat this day after day until I finally began to believe it. That advice helped me become more comfortable and confident when dealing with potential clients and it also allowed me to sleep at night without the worry and stress I was experiencing.
An advocate made the largest impact on my career and I hope it will make a positive impact on yours.
Monika Witek provides business litigation, intellectual property, forensic and fraud and business valuation services to attorneys and their clients. Her focus is on providing damage, lost profits and valuation calculations related to commercial and intellectual property litigation.