Entrepreneur psychology should be a course that every business school teaches.
Laura Scott, co-founder of creative engineering firm PINGV Creative, recently gave an incredible primer on what this topic means — or should mean — to the countless individuals trying to create and nurture their own businesses.
“Be prepared to manage your own psychology,” Scott explained in a Quora post. “There is no school for this. Ninety-nine percent of the ‘advice’ you’ll get will be wrong or misplaced or so vague as to be useless. People will love you undeservingly and they will hate you undeservingly. You will be a target for praise and vilification merely because you’re the boss. People will see genius. People will see conspiracy.”
Scott is right, and if you think about your life as an employee and contrast it with your life as the guy or girl running the show, then you’ll start to realize all the things going on behind the scenes of which you were previously unaware.
My Own Bad Example
My own experiences take me back to college when I worked at Hastings Entertainment Store. My boss at the time was under so much pressure that I couldn’t understand at the time. When I found out that an employee with less experience, who’d just been hired, was making a quarter more per hour than me, I flipped and behaved in the way all too many college kids do when they get riled.
I quit. Short notice. Turned my key over to the person making more money and said, “Here, take it. It’s yours.”
It was an unprofessional move, and it pretty much screwed me out of ever being able to use that job on a resume.
Regret set in about six months later when I was graduated from college and looking for work. I’d gotten a lot of great experience at Hastings and wasted it in one brash moment.
Only later when I got jobs that were worth more money and responsibility did I truly understand what my boss at the time was going through. At that point, I wanted to find her immediately and apologize.
Now I am a business owner, and the stress and responsibilities are off the chart. I wouldn’t trade them for anything, but it’s not easy.
As Scott states, “Every day is full of things to react to, things to decide, questions to answer, people to direct.”
“You will question your decisions, feel the pressure of everyone’s livelihoods on your shoulders, lose sleep. You will make mistakes. You will get lucky. You’ll be on a roller coaster of emotions. It’s easy to lose perspective. And nobody else will understand.”
Now that I know all that to be true, I feel like an even bigger jerk for doing what I did. Of course, she wasn’t going to be tuned in to what I was making when she had pressure from corporate, pressure from customers, pressure from employees, and all the myriad other things that go along with being the boss.
I was an idiot. But hopefully, an idiot who has learned.
“You have to sort it out yourself, get ahead of your moods,” Scott concluded. “It’s more than putting on a game face, it’s keeping yourself in an emotional place where you can deal with stuff effectively. If you’re not prepared for that, you’ll get flattened.”
A healthy dose of entrepreneur psychology would have saved me from making a really stupid mistake. Instead of doing what I did, I could have discussed the problem with her rationally. If I didn’t get the answer I was looking for, I could have just planned a more graceful exit than what I did. Behaving this way when you run your own business will ruin you. I’m glad that’s a lesson I’ve learned and thank Laura Scott for stating the importance of entrepreneur psychology so clearly.
What are some other things that you have to be prepared for psychologically when running your own business? Share in our comments section below![Image via Travvys.files.wordpress.com]