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The Entrepreneurial Paradox

By definition entrepreneurs undertake to build whatever they are building at considerable risk to themselves. They do what humans are not naturally evolved to do, which is break free from the pack to try something different—something that might not work and may leave them exposed and on the edge, away from the apparent safety and security of the pack.

Mostly entrepreneurs take these risks not because they have to put food on the table, but because they are driven to and because they sense opportunity. When you break away from the pack a lot of your support mechanisms fall away. There is no hiding, no camouflage, there is only truth.

The truth scares people, but it turns out that the truth is at the heart of every opportunity that is realised. Once you’ve gone deep enough to really understand the problems you are trying to solve and once you have found a way to ask and answer the right questions with honesty you are that much closer to realising the potential of the opportunity before you.

I was working with a group of clients recently and we came to some hard conclusions together about the direction their startup was headed and the story they were telling. To their enormous credit they immediately embraced the pivot, understanding that their business would be stronger for it in the long run.

The paradox of course is that it’s even harder to be honest with yourself when you are out there on the edge, exposed and vulnerable, but going to where the pack fears going is where the opportunity lies.

Image by Nathan Rupert.

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