How Entrepreneurship is a Lot Like Getting SoberJul 06, 2023
Today marks 1 year of Sobriety, and my life and business thank me!
But how did I get to this point, and why is it eerily similar to the journey of an entrepreneur.
Before we start, I want to say this was not my first attempt (so if that’s you in a sober journey or your business journey - hang in there)
The choice to stop drinking came as a result of a mentor asking me what I needed to let go of or what I needed to change in order to grow my business exponentially. For each person, this will bring up a different answer - for me I looked deep and giving up drinking was what I needed.
Now I had a lot of beliefs around this supporting the drinking:
- I’m Australian, it’s in my DNA
- I never have a hang over when I drink
- My drinking has not affected me showing up for my clients
- It allows me to relax (actually what I was doing was avoiding but that’s a story for another time)
And much like entrepreneurship we have beliefs that either hinder us or lift us up. We need to overcome the limiting beliefs to move forward.
With the help of some amazing people I began to realise that it had nothing to do with being Australian or what society considers to be an alcoholic, but about MY DESIRE to be sober for my myself, my life, my family and my business.
Here’s the journey and how it is similar to being an entrepreneur or running a business:
Sobriety: 5 Days in - A Sense of Pride and Accomplishment
I remember the early days vividly, just like an entrepreneur remembers the exhilarating feeling of starting a business. At the 5-day mark, I was proud of myself for taking the necessary steps towards this new goal. It felt like a significant achievement - a new beginning. The initial sense of accomplishment mirrored the excitement of embarking on an entrepreneurial journey. Both paths require courage, determination, and a willingness to step out of one's comfort zone.
Entrepreneurship: The Thrill of Starting a Business
When you decide to start your own business you’re essentially saying, "I'm taking control of my destiny." The initial stages are full of enthusiasm and anticipation. You have an idea, a vision, and the drive to turn it into reality. You take that first step, and it feels like a small victory. Starting a business brings a surge of excitement similar to the early days of sobriety, where every sober moment is a triumph.
Sobriety: 12 Days - The Pink Cloud Syndrome
Around the 12-day mark - there was a wave of disappointment. It felt like I was missing out on something, questioning the purpose of being sober. I discovered that this phenomenon is known as the pink cloud syndrome, where the initial elation and euphoria start to fade. The same can happen in entrepreneurship. After the initial enthusiasm wears off, doubts and challenges may arise, making you wonder if you're on the right path.
Entrepreneurship: The Search for Fulfillment
In the early stages of entrepreneurship, you may find yourself working tirelessly, yet feeling like something is missing. You might question whether your efforts are leading to the desired outcome. This search for fulfillment is comparable to the stage of disappointment during sobriety. It's important to remember that setbacks and doubts are a natural part of both journeys. The key is to stay focused and persevere.
Sobriety: 18 Days - Embracing Optimism
At the 18-day mark of my sobriety, I regained my optimism. I learned to take one day at a time, focusing on the present moment rather than worrying about the future. This mindset shift allowed me to see the progress I had made and the potential for continued growth. Similarly, in entrepreneurship, it's crucial to remain steadfast, taking small steps towards your goals, even when the bigger picture seems unclear or out of reach.
Entrepreneurship: The Power of Consistency
Entrepreneurship demands consistency and persistence. It's about showing up every day, taking action, and learning from the process. Just like in sobriety, progress in entrepreneurship is made by plugging away, one day at a time. It's through this consistent effort that you can overcome challenges and move closer to achieving your vision.
Sobriety: 31 Days - Breaking Old Patterns
Around the 31-day mark of my sobriety, I found myself away for work from my normal routine and environment. This change made it easier to resist falling back into old patterns and temptations. Breaking away from familiar surroundings allowed me to redefine myself and establish healthier habits. Similarly, in entrepreneurship, it's essential to break free from old ways of doing things. Embracing innovation and exploring new strategies can lead to remarkable breakthroughs.
Entrepreneurship: Challenging Old Habits
As an entrepreneur, it's crucial to recognise and challenge the old habits and patterns that may be hindering your progress. Just like in sobriety, entrepreneurship requires a willingness to step out of your comfort zone. By embracing change and pushing the boundaries of what's familiar, you open yourself up to new possibilities and opportunities for growth.
Sobriety: 35 Days - Celebrating Milestones with Mixed Feelings
At the 35-day mark, it was my birthday. I felt disappointed with this self-imposed rule of no alcohol - typically splurged on some new craft beers on for that day. It suddenly seemed like an arbitrary restriction, and to make matters worse, a broken finger prevented me from engaging in other activities I typically enjoyed on my birthday. Similarly, in entrepreneurship, there can be moments of feeling conflicted about celebrating small wins while desiring more significant achievements.
Entrepreneurship: Balancing Celebration and Ambition
In entrepreneurship, it's important to strike a balance between celebrating the small wins and maintaining the drive for further success. While acknowledging and appreciating milestones is crucial for motivation, it's also important not to become complacent. By channeling the mixed feelings of celebration and ambition, entrepreneurs can maintain a healthy sense of progress while continually striving for growth.
Sobriety: 41 Days - Confronting Anxiety
Between the 41 and 93-day mark, anxiety was hitting me hard and felt like I was sinking into a dark place. The journey became more challenging than I had anticipated, and doubts began to creep in. What I didn’t realise at the time was I had taken away the one thing that was keeping me from drowning in my thoughts. Drinking allowed me to numb the feelings and thoughts I didn’t want to think about. Similarly, in entrepreneurship, there are moments when the reality of the difficulties and uncertainties can lead to anxiety. It's during these times that resilience and self care become paramount - but we may not see it coming.
Entrepreneurship: Navigating Uncertainty and Anxiety
The entrepreneurial journey is not without its share of anxiety and uncertainty (especially in the beginning). It’s about acknowledging these emotions while finding ways to navigate through them. Seeking support from mentors, peers, or professionals can provide guidance and perspective. However, many entrepreneurs push through these times which can often lead to depression and burnout which are hard to come out of without support.
Sobriety: 94 Days - Seeking Additional Support
At the 94-day mark of my sobriety, I made the decision to start taking antidepressants to address the depression that was on me (I like to visualize depression as not so much a part of me but just weighing me down for a time). Getting additional support with this was a turning point. Similarly, in entrepreneurship, recognizing the signs of burnout and seeking support is crucial for long-term success. It's essential to prioritize self-care and mental well-being to maintain a healthy balance in both personal and professional life.
Entrepreneurship: Taking care of you so you can take care of your clients
Either burnout hits, or see it coming (often it's the former) and it's time to make a change. Taking a step back and figuring out what you and your business needs will be different for each person.
Maybe you hire a coach to help you overcome your overwhelm and create structure and flow in your business and life, or to help you scale to the next level.
Maybe it's time to hire a team or VA to help with the admin tasks weighing you down.
Maybe you join a community to get support and accountability.
Sobriety: 100 Days - Feeling Empowered and Strong
By the time I reached the 100-day milestone, I felt amazing. I noticed positive changes in various aspects of my life, including improved sleep, physical well-being, and much less desire for alcohol. I had developed a health routine and was prioritising self-care. The same goes for entrepreneurship. As you put in the focussed effort, your mindset begins to shift, and you feel empowered and capable of achieving your goals. The challenges you faced earlier no longer seem insurmountable.
Entrepreneurship: The Power of a Positive Mindset
In entrepreneurship, reaching a point where your mind starts working for you instead of against you is a significant milestone. This shift in mindset allows you to approach challenges with confidence and resilience. As you experience small wins and personal growth, your business becomes more streamlined, and your overall success is amplified.
Sobriety: 100-365 Days - Celebrating Progress and Nurturing Relationships
From the 100-day mark to the one-year milestone in this journey, I celebrated each month milestone I reached. Over time, I became more focused, and my relationships with family and life as a whole improved. The same transformation occurs in entrepreneurship. By consistently nurturing your business and personal relationships, your business flourishes, and you experience increased satisfaction and happiness.
Entrepreneurship: Sustainable Growth and Personal Fulfillment
In the world of entrepreneurship, celebrating milestones and nurturing relationships is vital for sustainable growth. As is prioritising your energy and reframing your mind to think more positively. That was you can stay committed to your vision, take calculated risks, and continue.
In both a sobriety journey and entrepreneurship support and accountability and crucial to success. This can take on the form of a medical practitioner, support groups, mentors, coaches
For me it was a combination of my wife, friends, a dear business acquaintance, a mentor who set it all in motion, a doctor and mental health nurse.
And throughout my business journey it is no different. I’ve use mentors, coaches and business support groups.
Because most things really do take a village. You don’t have to do either alone.