An Entrepreneur is a Mountaineer

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I came across an interview by Cathy O’Dowd, the first lady to summit Everest from both south and north sides, and featured in Everest – and, was inspired to share these thoughts with fellow entrepreneurs:

Scale Summit. Success as an entrepreneur opens many doors. Successful entrepreneurs have to be at the top of their business segment – there is simply not much room at the top for many. They get more investors interested in them to fund their vision, to influence government policy and consumer behaviour to continually expand their vision.

Fall through Cracks. It is a deeply unpredictable environment. A lot of very small mistakes are made – and, I believe that is not a huge negative against us. We are human. It is almost impossible to make no mistakes. Some particular set of mistakes in specific market conditions makes it a perfect storm for things to go wrong. Few are lucky to not have made such mistakes – some did.

Experience. The biggest risk that entrepreneurs face is their own experience. We have heard from airline pilots – the most dangerous is the first 200 hours flying alone. After that once you cross 1,000 hours you are so good you are doing it automatically. Something similar happens to entrepreneurs. Over confidence from past successes leads to “know it all” attitude, forgetting the supportive ecosystem that made us successful before – and, we underestimate recreating a similar supportive ecosystem to be successful entrepreneurs.

Wiser. Entrepreneurship is essentially effective project management. It is high risk, high stress, big egos, big goals but it is also reasonably simple. Key issues are simple and exaggerated – it is usually quite easy to see through. The biggest problem is not the “storm”. The biggest problem is “us”. The challenge, therefore, is to bring together all the small pieces of business ecosystem to take care of those “very small” mistakes which otherwise get together to create a “storm” against us.

The Journey – continues! None of us knows what life is going to be. Our challenge, therefore, is to make as much as we can with the potential we have, with each new day. We do not “climb these mountains” to prove something to people – being an entrepreneur is not about trying to be superior. I am interested in the process. I am interested in what I learn by taking part in the journey. I have learned so much – about myself, about teams, about a challenge – not just from the success but failures too. Failing at things is an interesting experience and there is a great deal to learn. I have found myself enriched as a person. I have found deeply heartfelt friendships out of these shared experiences. My life is better for having been an entrepreneur. My attitude towards business, my confidence in every aspect is better because of the challenges I have succeeded. So for me yes, there is risk involved but it is worth it.

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