The journey from corporate career to your dream entrepreneurial business (particularly in a completely field) is often not an easy ride for many reasons but there are some things I noticed on the way that I found utterly intriguing.
For the last 4 years as I’ve worked on my own business with business mentors and coaches I’ve seen the same symptoms popping up for myself and fellow sojourners over and over again as we tried to get ‘lift off’ on the business of our dreams and kiss our Corporate careers goodbye. It's like trying to get a tiny boat out to the ocean through the rough break water: with people giving up or changing tack when potentially only ‘3ft from gold’,
procrastinating and not taking action or just not getting the results (number of clients, amount of income) they want.
So why is it so hard?
For those of us moving from the Corporate World into entrepreneurship in particular part of the problem is that we’ve been well trained by the education system and then the corporate world to be a “workerbot”. A workerbot is a term coined by John Williams, author of Screw Work Break Free, for someone who knows how to do good work but still believes outdated myths about careers, business, creativity and success a few examples he cites are
‘I need to write a business plan to start doing something of my own’
‘I need to quit my job before I start anything’
‘If something has a lot of competition there is no point in getting into it’
‘Jobs are the safest option; 8 out of 10 businesses fail’
‘I should keep my idea secret in case someone steals it’
In my view, workerbot thinking extends further than this, these systems and hierarchies shape and influence almost everything: the clothes we wear and how we behave to ‘fit in’ and align with what’s expected of us at work, it shapes what we believe to be possible for ourselves and how to go about getting what we want, our relationship with money, how we work, how we make decisions, how we connect to and work with others. Even our identity.
Like it or not, our ‘workerbot’ view of the world is what is familiar to us, and our minds love what is familiar! Which is why we keep recreating it (unconsciously) over an over again.
A workerbot is someone who knows how to do good work but still believes outdated myths about careers, business, creativity and success.
Entrepreneurial World can feel very different. You are the visionary, the strategist, the ‘sign-off’, budget holder and action taker. You are the face of your business (the you behind the workerbot mask that is).
And this may not be familiar - at all! The rules are different - actually the whole game is different.
What it means is that inevitably things feel difficult and hard sometimes and there is real resistance when you are working on your business and the tendency will always be to default back to our ‘workerbot’ mode and apply workerbot thinking to overcome entrepreneurial problems because that is what is familiar to us, it feels safe.
Such is the dynamic equilibrium of our programming that has us springing back to our original position. It is how we are hard-wired to behave, our ‘baked-in’ survival mechanisms…...and not in millions of years we have we been able to change that.
Our minds are hardwired to recreate what is familiar simply because it is safer.
Our mind doesn’t care if we are happy, by the way. It doesn’t care if we get our dream home, or the life, business, money that we want: it just cares that we are alive.
Whilst this modus operandi may not be congruent with what our hearts truly desire it still RULES many (most) of us.
What it has us doing is retreating and waiting:
Retreating to the safety of our jobs
Waiting until “it’s” perfect.
Waiting until you have x clients, y income
Waiting until you have saved enough
Waiting until you feel ready.
And it has us continuing to reaching for solutions outside of ourselves:
The next shiny tactic, strategy or course to tell us another way to launch ‘this thing’.
Someone to give us permission or tell us what to do.
The next level of qualification
The feeling of ‘being ready’ to magically appear.
All the while the trying, the effort, the 2 steps forward and 3 back is weakening, draining and depleting our mental resolve and stamina to keep going for it.
Some of this stuff is absolutely right to think about and plan for. The question of whether you can cover your bills if you leave your job IS important.
But what I am saying is just notice.
Notice when the goal posts are forever moving and your leave date keeps going back
Notice when the savings in your bank account still aren’t increasing
Notice when you aren’t doing the things you know you should be doing to get out there and build your business.
Ask yourself "who do I want to be most":
Entrepreneur OR Workerbot?
And make whichever your answer is is the more ‘familiar’ one.
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