Entrepreneurs: Please Don’t Puke On Me. Love, Ashley.

IN: Business 101

First Day of the Week:

Could life BE any better?
Somebody bring me champagne.
Feed me chocolates.
Tickle my toes in all the right places.
And send a memo to the president alerting him to the fact that I AM A GOD DAMN GENIUS. This whole me-running-my-own-biz-nass thing is really going to work out after all!
Jumps! Up! And! Down!

Second Day of the Week:

I suck.
Suck, suck, suck!
The whole world sucks.
Happy people and their stupid little dogs especially suck.
I can’t even make myself go to the gym, let alone have the discipline to run a business. Who did I think I was kidding? I need to come back down to earth and just get a real job like everyone else, and just accept reality like everyone else. Remember that little thing called RESPONSIBILTY? Yeah, that.

Third Day of the Week:

People love me, they really do!
Everything’s going to work out just fine, I’m going to make tons of money,
and Danielle LaPorte will finally invite me to dinner, except instead of eating dinner, we’re totally going to drink 7 bottles of wine instead.  Scratch that – we’re going to box it, and it’s going to be AMAZING.
I’ve got this whole biznass thing under control, and I wouldn’t give it up for the world. Not even if Brad Pitt asked really, really nicely.
Okay, well maybe if Brad Pitt asked really, really nicely. (Don’t judge me.)

Fourth Day of the Week:

I suck.
Suck, suck, suck!
The whole world sucks.
If I see one more cheesy, feel-good, self-righteous tweet about “believing in myself” or the “power of my dreams,” I swear I’m going to reply and tell them to shove it. Annoying positive thinkers. We’ll see how perky they are when no one’s hired them for DAYS, and they’re convinced that the days are going to turn into weeks, and the weeks are going to turn into months, and before they know it, they’ll be the laughing stock of the whole internet, because they had to shut down their biz, because they had to sell their laptop, because they had to, you know, EAT.   *BIG DISGUSTED SIGH*  Grumble, grumble grumble.

Fifth Day of the Week:

Man, I’m awesome. Did we get the memo out to the president yet?

Sound familiar, dahling? We’ve all been there. I spent most of 2009 there. Sometimes I still wander over there. And it is NOT always the most comfortable place to hang out.
I’ve been contemplating the whole rollercoaster whirlwind that inevitably comes hand-in-hand with the entrepreneurial experience.  It can be a maddening cycle of elation, followed by self-doubt, followed by elation, followed by severe uncertainty, followed by elation, followed by despair, followed by elation, followed by HEAVY DRINKING.
And if you don’t know what I’m talking about, you need to X out of this site right now, never to return again, and go write a feel-good, self-righteous tweet so I can be justified in my rants, thankyouverymuch.
That was harsh. Can I get away with a “to know me is to love me” here?
Anyway, MOVING ON.
Rollercoasters. You know – real ones. Their big, shiny silver steel beckons to you with grandiose promises of excitement and adventure, luring you close until you finally give in and decide to take a ride. Then, as you’re bulleted through the air, the excitement builds when you’re about to reach a high point.  But then, out of nowwhere, it suddenly and haphazardly jerks you in the opposite direction and throws you for a loop (no pun intended, muah ha) spiraling you downward, replacing all feelings of excitement with new feelings of pure nausea – namely when you come thisclose to smashing face first into the pavement and plunging toward your sudden and immediate death.
They’re so much fun, aren’t they?
Yet, while there might not be any impressive steel beams involved, this is the same rollercoaster we entrepreneurs ride every single day.  Except, it’s an e-mo-tion-al rollercoaster. (And if your emotional rollercoaster DOES happen to involve steel beams, let me know, because I’ll be incredibly jealous.)
As independents, entrepreneurs and budding small business owners, we’re oftentimes drawn to the thrill, the excitement and the adventure of launching and running our own businesses. Then, when we give in and go for it, and we’ve finally reached a high point, out of nowhere we’re suddenly and haphazardly jerked into the opposite direction and thrown for a loop, spiraling us downward, replacing all feelings of excitement with new feelings of pure nausea – namely when you come thisclose to smashing face first into financial and/or emotional ruin.
If only there were a questionable man in a flannel shirt operating this ride, so at the very least you could blame any and all tragedies on him. Unfortuantely, there is not. Unless you, yourself, happen to be a questionable man in a flannel shirt, in which case, you should ALSO X out of this site right now.
Yet, as entrepreneurs, no matter how nauseous you get, there’s just no getting off this ride. Because WE ARE ENTREPRENEURS, and we’ve got the clingy, fussy, stubborn entrepreneurial gene etched into our souls, forcing us to create. Forcing us to build. Forcing us to make our mark. Forcing us to ride the ride.

Oftentimes, we are entrepreneurs because we have no other choice.

We are called to create, and so create we must – at any and every expense.
I realize that sounds a tad woo woo (seriously, forgive me), but I’m actually not making this up – the entrepreneurial spirit actually IS in our blood. Or, that’s what John Gartner claims, anyway, and Gartner is the man, so I’m gonna back him up on this one.
In his book titled, The Hypomanic Edge (have you read it, have you read it?!), he argues that America’s unique entrepreneurial character and spectacular achievements are due to a high incidence of hypomania – a mild form of mania that produces elevated levels of creativity, energy and risk taking.
Why do we have so much hypomania? Well, because we’re a nation of immigrants, and immigrants are not typical people, usually displaying high levels of hypomania. Only about 1 of 100 people emigrate out of their native country, and those people tend to be gifted with special ambition, motivation and aptitude.
In other words, we’ve got some damn good genes rolling around these parts.

I mean, just check out the traits of hypomania below. Can you relate or CAN YOU RELATE?

  • Filled with energy
  • Flooded with ideas
  • Driven
  • Restless and unable to keep still
  • Channels energy into the achievement of wildly grand ambitions
  • Often works on little sleep
  • Feels brilliant, special, chosen, perhaps even destined to change the world
  • Can be euphoric
  • Becomes easily irritated by minor obstacles
  • Is a risk taker
  • Overspends in both business and personal life
  • Acts out sexually; sometimes acts impulsively, with poor judgment, in ways that have painful consequences (psh, not I.)
  • Is fast-talking; witty and gregarious
  • Charismatic and persuasive
  • Prone to making enemies and feels he is persecuted by those who do not accept his vision and mission
Yep–sounds like an entrepreneur to me.

So here we are, this nation of ambitious entrepreneurs, each riding our own personal rollercoaster, delighting in the thrill of the ride some days, and painstakingly dreading it others. And it makes sense that it would be this way, because as entrepreneurs, we’re not only investing our time, and our energy, and our ideas into the process, but our entire identity into it as well.

We ARE what we create, and the moment it’s rejected, or doesn’t turn out the way we had hoped, or someone offers up the slightest bit of criticism, or tells you that your hat is crooked, it’s deeply personal. And as human beings, when things get personal, we’re susceptible to experiencing a whole host of emotions – thus the rollercoaster that we can’t seem to get off of.

And if we can’t simply get off at any given time, there seems to be only one other option:

The next time we get thrown for a loop, we must close our eyes. Hold on real tight. Have faith in the ride. And remember that after all of the downward spirals, and the nausea, and the swearing, and the Jack Daniels, there’ll be no other place to go but up.

Just try not to puke.