We tell our entrepreneurs at the Hub to not disconnect from the networks they have built through our programs, even when we send them out to actively launch or scale their businesses, and we stop seeing them as often as before. When people alienate from their support networks, especially when they have made public the fact that they are pursuing an entrepreneurial project, they run the risk of drifting into self-consciousness, and cannot succeed as entrepreneurs. When trying to advance your venture as an entrepreneur, concentrating your mind’s energy on worries about what other people may be thinking about you can become your startup’s death sentence. Self-consciousness is the enemy of the resourceful mind. I have recently come across this idea repeatedly, in things that I read, in people I listen to or observe. Activities related to validating or growing your startup can be brutally time consuming, and when approached the wrong way can be alienating. The more focused you become, the higher the risk of wanting to go it alone, because of worries about what others may think about you when you need to ask for help. We have all heard the cliché, “it’s me against the world”.

When you hit a bump on the road, your own self-consciousness may overly assign blame to your capacity to work hard or think through challenges intelligently.  If you are reading this, I’d like to tell you that most probably, regardless of your background and natural abilities, the fact that you decided to pursue entrepreneurship already sets you apart in a group where drive is unique to its members. Drive requires force, which is something that pushes you towards a goal. That force could also be the one you use to pull yourself up, like with a rope, to climb a slope; or to bounce off something to correct your trajectory as you speed past it.

What I’m trying to illustrate is that in many cases, or most, the force is external to you. In reality -not figuratively, like in the examples above- this force comes from your network. It comes from the relationships you have built by becoming an active member of the entrepreneurial community, which is exactly what we encourage. Becoming active in the community means continually seeking the help and support of likeminded colleagues who want to help you, who want to become one of the reasons you become successful. And believe me, they do, because that is what drives them.

Make their drive to see others achieve become the external force which will keep you active and course corrected in the pursuit. Passivity leads to the self-consciousness pit, and eventual further alienation. When you go to informational events or community building events around entrepreneurship, don’t sit around in the periphery, don’t be passive. Engage the people there, especially those who are sitting around the periphery – that is the antidote to the contagion. You may have a little piece of a large puzzle that might help them move one more tiny step forward, or may help them surpass an obstacle in their course.

And that is how it works, entrepreneurship is an obstacle course, and like in the ninja TV shows, mostly everyone who’s looking at the daring participants from outside is rooting for the contestant, and you can tell that by the loud cheers from the observing community around them when any of them succeeds in getting to the end goal. Your network wants to see you win, but you must actively engage it. It will remove obstacles, or clear the path, or provide a path suggestion for you, and you can do the same for them.

Our View from the Top (August 21, 2018)