Decisions Aren't Made in a Vacuum

Much of the entrepreneurial life is spent in solitude — whether you’re working just by yourself or just with your handful of other employees. Whether they’re telecommuting or there in the flesh, there is an us versus them mentality you can’t get around.

There are so many clichés and exaggerations entrepreneurs end up using to describe what the lifestyle is like. It’s a roller coaster. It’s hell. It’s the best. It’s the worst. It’s a rejection of the way the rest of the world works in favor of blazing your own path, and even if you aren’t making a ton of money it’s still better than being a wage slave like everyone else tends to be.

I think it’s great to be proud of what you do and even a dash of braggadocio can be good for you, too. But what all these behaviors create is a mental separation. You can start to think the rules of normal business conduct don’t apply to you. You’ll start to think you’re better than administrative, housekeeping emails. You’ll start to think you’re better than a few, and then you’ll start to think you’re better than most.

That way lies disaster, unless you don’t mind being known as a reclusive jerk who’s out of touch.

All of this to say, when you are in a crisis as an entrepreneur, it may be temping to go with your gut, but you need to be strategic. Keep tabs on your feelings and what your first instinct was, but you don’t need to honor that necessarily. Why? Because all those people you’ve separated yourself from — even those on your team, or others in your community — can be crucial allies in defining moments like that. They will share what they might do and why, and you can take that under advisement.

Frankly, it’s part of being an adult. We aren’t children at the mercy of our whims, just screaming and crying and gloating. Maybe that’s some of what took us to that first point of entrepreneurship, but you can’t run a business like that and you can’t run your life like that. And yet, I find that many of my colleagues seem to forget that the moment they get their back up against the wall about something. Don’t let that happen to you.

David Wolinsky is a freelance writer and a lifelong Chicagoan. In addition to currently serving as IFC’s comedy, film, and TV blogger, he's also a comedy-writing instructor for Second City and an adjunct professor in DePaul’s College of Computing and Digital Media. 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. His first career aspirations were to be a game-show host.

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