“When we were children, we used to think that when we were grown-up we would no longer be vulnerable. But to grow up is to accept vulnerability… To be alive is to be vulnerable.” ~ Madeleine L’Engle
Entrepreneurship takes a bit of unbridled confidence. Part of an entrepreneur must remain a child forever. Go into a kindergarten classroom and ask students to raise their hands if they believe they are fantastic singers. I bet everyone would not only raise their hands, but also start to belt out their favorite tunes. Ask the same question to a room full of adults and you’d be lucky to get a hand or two. That hand or two belongs to people who are innately entrepreneurs. If we really want to make it with our own ideas turned into businesses, we need confidence more than we need anything else.
And while all entrepreneurs need confidence, they also need to put the very best of themselves out there everyday, knowing that some days they may come home empty-handed. To put our own personal brand out into the world without hiding behind another company’s name leaves us equally open to praise and criticism. People will constantly ask us how it’s going, and we have to sometimes buck up and say “could be better”. We have to remain hopeful and vulnerable all at once. We have to keep knocking on doors to keep discouraging thoughts at arm’s length.
A few months ago, I put together 27 interviews from my Examiner.com column about entrepreneurship into an e-book, Hope in Progress. Each of those entrepreneurs exhibits that perfect balance between remaining vulnerable and confident at once. I learned so much from them, and am grateful that they took the time to share their stories with me. Each of them lives by Madeleine L’Engle’s edict, expressed so beautifully in her quote at the beginning of this post: to be truly alive, we have to put our deepest desires out there into the world, listen to the response, and remain grateful for the opportunity to fully express who we really are.