Mentoring and the Ultimate in Personal, Entrepreneurial and Business Coaching

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Facing the firing furnace of Entrepreneurship


Published on 17/12/2015

I confess that my inspiration to write this article hinges around a sermon I recently heard from a motivational speaker at my local church in Melbourne.  

I found her message powerful, thought-provoking, energising, inspiring, and so relevant for my profession as an entrepreneurship coach.  For this reason, I decided to use her knowledge and wisdom in Christianity, and her frequent use of the words 'facing the firing furnace', as a way of defining the very difficult journey that successful entrepreneurs take to achieve their goals in business. 

I know too well that achieving business success is a very tough undertaking.  I spent my first ten years of my career chasing my dream, and eventually building a multi-million dollar business within the retail industry. During this journey however, I faced ridicule from sceptics, financial strain, extreme risk, many set-backs and failures, and an avalanche of day to day issues.  Essentially, I faced the 'firing furnace' time and time again, before I could smell victory at the end of my Mission to Mars.  

I faced the 'firing furnace' time and time again, before I could smell victory at the end of my Mission to Mars

Many aspiring entrepreneurs that I have come across within my coaching practice, are typically young at heart; full of passion and energy; unaware of the turbulence that lays ahead; and simply willing to try 'anything' to make it work.  The unfortunate truth however is that after they kick-start their business, and experience a little bit of turbulence,  the majority of such 'wannapreneurs', will quit after two or three years, long before they get a taste of success. 

the majority of 'wannapreneurs' will quit after two or three years, long before they get a taste of success

The core issue at hand is that they have severely underestimated the complexities, challenges, and realities of what it takes to build a thriving business, and the actual timeframe it takes to reach the 'peak' of their business.  They also lack the skills or right mindset to best handle the ups and downs of a growing business.  

So how do you best prepare for this mission impossible, without being tempted to abort the trip prematurely ?

1. Make Fast, Effective Decisions without the Angst

Use your gut feeling or intuition when faced with difficult decisions and simply move on. Don't get stuck on trivial matters, and keep focused on the big picture. Use your past experience or hindsight to help you make the best decision going forward.  Don't have regrets about failed attempts, and be true to yourself. 

2. Never lose sight of the BIG picture

Keep focusing on the final destination, and don't be discouraged by the smallest set-back.  A mountaineer climbing Mount Everest knows the emotional reward of reaching the summit, despite the physical punishment.  He or she will not be discouraged by a snowstorm at base camp or frost bite on their toes.  Fame, recognition, resilience, and accomplishment of reaching the peak is an experience they wish not to compromise. 

3. Leverage on your Passion and Core Strengths

There's no point trying to do everything in your business, even if you think you are good at it.  Focus your activities and efforts around your core strengths, and particularly what drives and builds your enthusiasm and passion, especially during dark and turbulent times.  Think of 'passion' as the fuel in your car.  A vehicle with a full tank is more likely to reach the final long-term destination.

4. Surround yourself around like-minded People

Avoid the sceptics like the plague, and be around people that are objective and encouraging no matter what mistakes or challenges you face.  Absorb the positive energy of successful people.  A good coach may be a good option for you to consider, to help you handle the ups and downs of business.  Reading books, listening to podcasts and videos, and absorbing the wealth of material available online and in stores, could be a very powerful drug.  

To further re-iterate this point, a skilled mountaineer will always rely on his 'sherpa' on his journey up to the peak.    It's about team effort. 

5. Grab the Bull by the Horns

Don't be afraid to confront the raging bull, and take control of the situation.  Never turn your back on your issues, and handle them proactively and as best as you can. The sooner you can resolve or deal with the problem, the sooner you can dampen the problem.  You can then re-focus on new opportunities without the interference of your obstacle ahead of you. 

No matter how many issues and failures you experience on your mission, a true entrepreneur will not be discouraged by the heat of the firing furnace. 

No matter how many issues and failures you experience on your mission, a true entrepreneur will not be discouraged by the heat of the firing furnace.

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This article has been exclusively written by Federico Re for 'CEO magazine' for the online December, 2015 edition.

If you have an interesting story, an innovative product or service, and you would like to be interviewed by Federico, for an exclusive editorial piece for CEO magazine, please submit your enquiry via Federico's email: federico@creativeentrepreneur.com.au, or contact him on his mobile +61 408 510 378.

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