Startup Diaries: Stepping into Success, One Stiletto at a Time

Kristie Kennedy looks at why the first step into entrepreneurialism is the hardest, and examines the traits you’ll need to make it a successful one.

The Power to Start

After thirteen years of self-discovery, daunting disappointments, delightful adventures and personal dream fulfillment, I have accumulated a wealth of wisdom to share as an entrepreneur.

According to Chinese philosophy, “The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.”  In other words, even the longest journey must begin from where you stand.  For many dreamers, this first step seems to be the most painstaking yet it is the most vital of all.  This bold step into the unknown appears to be the main barrier of one’s progress towards success and achievement. 

The underlying apprehension rests in the thought that a vision so massive could not possibly be accomplished by our own hands.

When you possess within an unwavering faith in limitless possibilities, there is no mountain too high or valley too low to prevent you from achieving your goals. The power of momentum rests in the fuel to move forward in spite of paralyzing fears, insecurities, self-sabotaging beliefs, old fashioned excuses, limited resources which include lack of time, start-up capital, knowledge, experience and man power.

The Courage to Stand

As I was preparing to leave my job to focus on entrepreneurship full time I penned candid thoughts in my journal on leadership. 

“Tonight I went shopping for décor to put in the building.  If I have to go at it alone for a season, I am willing to give my all. It’s been over a month and two weeks since I signed the lease for my business. I have been preparing mentally for the transition.  I just checked out 10 books on leadership.  I really want to be the best leader that I can be.  I don’t focus on the fact that I’ve never been an upfront leader.  I am willing to learn how to demonstrate exactly what I desire others to duplicate.” As you begin to courageously pursue your deepest dreams, there may only be a handful of supporters. In actuality that is a fair amount due to the extensive hours you will be logging in just to make a print in the sands of time. 

The Fears to Conquer

Recently, I was asked how do you overcome fear? We must first define fear. If you can clearly perceive what it is, you can identify it upon arrival in your mind. The only way you conquer fear is with truth because it always speaks behind the prison bars of falsehood. It is perfectly normal to experience this fleeting emotion but we must move through fear with bold confidence if we expect to behold our loftiest aspirations.  In the silence of my own struggle to keep treading forward I noted, “I am taking it moment by moment.  Sometimes I ask myself did I make the right decision?  Did I step out too fast?  Should I have saved up more money? A multitude of thoughts bombarded my mind. 

Yet, if I didn’t take a leap of faith I would be asking myself, Should I leave this job? Should I work part time?” Wherever we are in life, human nature demands questions and answers.

The Passion to Persevere

In the words of Benjamin Franklin, “The things which hurt, instruct.” I will never forget the pain of watching my dream dissipate right before my very eyes.  There was no valid explanation acceptable during the height of my emotional tidal wave that could comfort me. After being in my new building for two months, I found myself having to close the doors from a financial deficit due to lack of sales, proper marketing and planning, etc. Launching out into the deep waters of entrepreneurship is risky business and is the main reason individuals never stretch themselves beyond what they can see. As I glance over the chronicles of yesterday, my heart is filled with joy knowing I survived the seemingly insurmountable pain of hardship.  Initially, my focus was in the wrong place as I was determined to build a business when all along the business was building a leader.

If you are afraid to make mistakes you are simply not ready to learn and evolve into a person of influence.

It doesn’t matter how many times you fall flat on your face when you are passionate about your dream it will catapult you from the pit of failure into astronomical heights of success.

The Discipline to Focus

During an extended financial drought I was becoming extremely cloudy in judgment. Honestly, I don’t know how I garnered strength to keep going while financially hemorrhaging. On one particular day I took advantage of a complimentary business coaching session from a married couple. The sound advice they gave me provided death shattering light.  My challenge was to focus on what it was I truly wanted to do and assess my natural strengths.  As they spoke into my life and urged me to get crystal clear saying, until I gained clarity I would not be able to compel others to partner in my vision. Lastly, they emphatically asserted, “The confused mind always says no.” In this busy world we live in clarity is often difficult to achieve because it is born from a deep place overshadowed by stillness. Countless entrepreneurs fall into the snares of distraction at the hands of shiny new opportunities.  Those who innovate and thrive on a consistent basis have harnessed the discipline of focus.

The Rewards of Labor

The call of entrepreneurship requires selfless service to others and an undeniable sacrifice of time.

On days when I feel as though I have nothing left to give, out of the blue someone shares with me how my life has touched them in a significant way. At that moment I am gently reminded every tear drop and bead of sweat is worth it.  One night, I began to jot new tales of a spoiled princess, “Wow! This has been some weekend! I have been working non-stop! I didn’t know I could work so hard.  I don’t have a lot of help but the help that I do have, is good help from people who love me dearly. I have never worked so hard in my life.” When I sat in a workshop on entrepreneurship, my desire was to be able to make loads of money and have the freedom to enjoy it.  I never knew the extent of the work involved behind the scenes. To put things in perspective, imagine working five jobs at once.

As you delve into the ever changing seas of entrepreneurship remember we were not created to watch from the mainland and “a smooth sea never made a skillful sailor.” 

Kristie Kennedy, Women's Empowerment Speaker, Small Business and Entrepreneurial Leadership Coach provides simple success strategies to overcome everyday challenges, internal conflicts, and confidence killers.

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