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Facing Ignorance, Emptiness & Loneliness
I recently participated in a discussion with entrepreneurs at 42. At some point, a young fellow asked me if he should join an accelerator or an incubator.
I had been asked this same question dozens of time and it had always puzzled me. In an attempt to come up with a more truthful angle to a question that felt simply inaccurate and incomplete, I realised that accelerators and incubators were before all groups of people, and that rightfully composed, they could play in instrumental role in helping entrepreneurs.
Every single entrepreneur, especially at the beginning of their journey, must face conscious and often unconscious feelings of ignorance, emptiness and loneliness. It’s part of what they must go through in their search for peaceful struggle, as I like to call it.
Ignorance often comes as they are just getting started with lots of things to learn, uncertainties to overcome and convictions to build. Even though they are optimist and confident, their self-esteem is like a new born in need to be nurtured.
Emptiness is the result of navigating through the entrepreneurial journey without any referential points, like a vessel lost in space with no stars for guidance. They know they must progress but they don’t know where they actually stand and which path to take.
Loneliness is a mental state that comes from living a never-ending, intense and vivid experience that can’t never be properly shared, explained or expelled, even with our closed ones. It’s a mental charge that piles up and compounds, without warning nor instructions to handle it.
No one really talks about those elements that are at the foundations of any entrepreneurial journey. And even though they tend to fade away as founders learn, progress and surround themselves with great people, they never really disappear.
As an entrepreneur, you absolutely must not only join a group of people but make one with a purpose, composed of individuals with whom who can develop fully truthful, compassionate & thorough relationships.
To face ignorance, surround yourself with people who have already overcome the phase you’re in or about to enter. Make sure you get access to knowledge, resources and opinions that are thoroughly distilled in a way that you understand the full extent of the what, how, why of each of them.
To face emptiness, build relationships with people who are in the same sector, who develop a similar model, execution or organisation. Trade information and make this group of people evolve as your company grows and as you grow up.
To face loneliness, you must develop friendships outside your intimate circle of friends and family. Find fellow entrepreneurs or even investors with whom you can share your mental state, talk about your issues, feel listened and understood. In a genuine and truthful way, without judgemental pressure.
As you keep moving through an uncertain path towards no final destination, you must cope with a moving and unstable equilibrium. Problems keep arising, unexpected issues keep hitting, unfairness keep ruling the world.
While achievements are temporary marks of successful commitment that don’t last forever, your mental state is the only thing that you fully own. It must be an absolute and constant focus.
Serve it with awareness and attention as you progress in your search for fulfillness.