Success is not final; failure is not fatal. It is the courage to continue that matters.
I recently found myself talking with two people with several years of successful self-employment behind them, and asking about the secret to their success. I wondered about the precarious nature of self-employment, particularly in the consultancy world in which these people operated. My perception is that my two friends operate in a zone of the consultancy sphere, between the zone populated by high-charging consultancy firms and the zone populated by charlatans. Yes, there does seem to be a proliferation of self-proclaimed ‘experts’ out there, and I would hasten to separate people of the ilk my two well qualified and highly experienced/professional friends from said charlatans.
Their answers focused on the fact that they had built reputations whilst working for a previous employer which enabled them to have something of a head start with approximately six months of work booked. The trick they had both managed was to maintain this comfort zone and thus be booking work in months ahead.
Ok, that sounds like a straightforward challenge. However, anyone who has ever had their livelihood built on the income from self-employment will know there is an implicit risk involved, so an individual’s risk tolerance is at the heart of the matter.
What is risk tolerance? Where does it stem from? Our friend Wikipedia defines risk tolerance as the degree of variability in investment returns that an investor is willing to withstand. In this case we are referring to the investment of our own professional labours in exchange for return, specifically in an environment of self-employment where the probability of return is variable/unpredictable. So, it is reasonable to suggest that a core factor in this context is self-belief.
Of course one of the determinants of self-belief is the presence or absence of approval/reinforcement from significant others in the individual’s life, both at childhood stages and later. Who would have thought it, there may be a link between the level of approval/reinforcement one gets from others and one’s preparedness for the world of being an entrepreneur.
So what has the title “Lopping the heads off daisies” got to do with this blog posting? Well, we have all encountered people who are looking to “clip the wings” of those over whom they have authority. Not conducive to enabling those people to be successful entrepreneurs, either in terms of “going for it” or in terms of the essential resilience skill of bouncing back after a disappointment. However, for those who can maintain their perspective and see that – “Success is not final; failure is not fatal. It is the courage to continue that matters” – the environment is positive and the possibilities are many. After all Winston Churchill did guide his country to victory in a world war.