“As an entrepreneur, I’m blessed with 100% autonomy over task, time, technique, and team. Here’s the thing: If I maintain that autonomy, I fail. I fail to ship. I fail to excel. I fail to focus. I inevitably end up either with no product or a product the market rejects. The art of the art is picking your limits. That’s the autonomy I most cherish. The freedom to pick my boundaries.” – Seth Godin
Seth Godin’s words could not be more true. Knowing your boundaries and choosing your limits as an entrepreneur is a key way to set yourself up for success. If you want to produce your best work, you have to learn how to optimize your well-being first. This of course is easier said than done, as entrepreneurs we often suffer from financial, physical, or emotional setbacks. But the point is that that’s okay, as long as we acknowledge our “breaking points” and then pick ourselves up faster the second time around. We have to recognize and accept our limits and then pick our boundaries, or it’s seldom likely we’ll create anything worthwhile.
So, beneath the surface of Seth Godin’s wonderful quote is the concept of ACCEPTANCE. Accepting that we are human, and as humans we are innately vulnerable to the myriad of circumstances life throws at us. Many entrepreneurs try to hide this vulnerability or work through it, equating it with weakness. But suppressing the emotion is not the answer – not for yourself or for the success of your business. Because in the end, the more you accept your vulnerabilities, “leaning into them” instead of away from them, the better outcomes you’ll have. Entrepreneurs who have achieved greatness in business accepted their vulnerabilities, altered their boundaries / limits along the way, focused on their well-being, and ultimately learned how to produce their best, most successful work.
If you haven’t heard of her yet, I highly recommend checking out Brene Brown. Her Ted Talk on the power of vulnerability is incredibly important. People want to help and support those who are courageous enough to show their imperfections. By being vulnerable you are opening up to many opportunities and connections, increasing your happiness, and subsequently opportunities to grow a successful business.
This process of accepting your vulnerabilities as an entrepreneur is not an easy one, but if you think about it, the very first step for many entrepreneurs is leaving the safety and security of a traditional 9-5 job. Vulnerability is in the nature of becoming an entrepreneur and lasts throughout the process of building a business. The faster we learn our “weak points”, course correct, and focus on our well-being, the easier the entrepreneurial journey, and the more success we’ll achieve.