Chapter 6: Practice Detachment…The Rider
The simplest way I can think to describe the Misfit Entrepreneur’s journey to practice detachment more is that you have to go for it with passionate impartiality. You have to care a whole lot. Your efforts need to be rooted in something bigger than yourself. You need to be clear about those roots and the rest you need to let go of. Allow it to be as it will be, have faith, believe in your deeper purpose.
After all, the misfit entrepreneur believes she has the power to determine her destiny and the grace to let things unfold as they are meant to be. Discerning between the two in practice proves quite the challenge at times. I often find myself asking, what is it that I ultimately hope to achieve here? Or simply, what is really important here?
What are you holding onto that is no longer serving you?
In what ways may you accomplish your dreams while letting go of the outcomes you desire?
What is the chief aim of your entrepreneurial endeavors?
Letting Go of Your Ego
The best way I have heard the presence of your ego described is that there is a little a and a big A Ariana. The little a is my ego and values the things that make me feel important or worthy but have no substance. The big A is my deeper self, my inner genius, my purposeful self and recognizes that my self-worth as a person is not tied to my business success but to the integrity with which I live by.
It is really helpful to understand how your ego plays a role in your entrepreneurial endeavors. When you let rejection ruin your day that’s your ego taking control of things. I have definitely encountered those scenarios myself on a number of occasions. And it is largely because I entered the situations with certain expectations and in anticipation of positive outcomes that would benefit me.
When I was neck deep in my, I have to invest in your business stage I was making decisions based on the belief I had to do this or I would fail. Little did I now that the two were not so mutually exclusive. That one thing was not going to make or break me. And taking that approach in and of itself would mean I encountered a failure when I did not experience the results I anticipated.
I would go to coffee meetings with someone that was well connected and expect it would result in valuable introductions. Only to be disappointed that this well accomplished individual did not want to be my angel. Not only that, they seemed to completely miss the mark, not understanding me or what I am about. Instead I would get disjointed feedback in their vain attempt at being helpful.
That was not working for me. Choosing to join different networking groups, setting up meetings with heavy hitters and investing in new marketing materials with the expectation that it was going to be my big break only led to disappointment. And if my ego, my gremlin, was feeling extra feisty and in control I would let it derail me. I would let valleys turn into pits of despair. I would let the crickets after a new marketing campaign become a sign that I am not good enough.
At the End of the Day
It remains a struggle. I do not want to give the impression that I have effectively learned how to let go and detach my sense of self from my endeavors. However, I have ways of coping now. I have learned to identify what instigates my ego and how it behaves. I have learned to shift my expectations from wanting to accomplish a certain result to focusing instead on what matters most at the end of the day.
What matters most for me at the end of the day is being of service and connecting with others. So now, when I am meeting someone for coffee or going to an event I strive to make real, meaningful, genuine connections. I enter the conversation or experience with an openness I did not have before. And that openness allows me to be a better listener; to be of service.
And when I truly listen to other people I can see different perspectives. I see how a lack of interest in what I am doing has nothing to do with who I am as a person but how I am behaving. Just because we as entrepreneurs think our idea, our solution is so important, so great, so wonderful and so needed does not mean it fits into the lives of our customers.
Not so ironically, those genuine connections may lead to something more, in some instances they have led directly to paid work. Other times they offer insights into ways I can improve my messaging or my services. And than there are those instances where I connect with someone on a deeper level and realize, they are not my target audience. I may like this person and enjoy their company but I do not need to convince them that we should work together. Even though I may have not gotten their business, at the end of the day I can feel good knowing I strove to be of service and make a meaningful connection.
Be True to You
The stuff that matters most to you at the end of the day will likely be different than what matters most to me. I am not saying you have to find fulfillment in being of service and connecting with other people. Find what deeply and truly fulfills you. Which is not usually the stuff that makes you feel good.
Not surprisingly, the ego also comes out to play when we are having positive experiences in our businesses. I noticed this just the other day. Someone expressed a desiree to read my book manuscript and I was so elated at their interest I started telling him what to do instead of listening to why he wanted to read it. My ego got the best of me and I missed an opportunity to truly connect!
It is many moments like those, moments where I let my ego and my business smarts get in the way of being true to me, that I have felt the most lost, unsure and disappointed in my business. Sometimes I made money when that happened. Often times I did not. Either way, losing myself to little a is always less satisfying and fulfilling than being true to me! And when I am true to big A, it is a lot easier to let go because it turns out that little a is the one that holds on to things that do not serve me.
The Icarus Deception: How High Will you Fly? by Seth Godin
This recent book of Godin’s is a must read for the innovative entrepreneur. At points, you might feel uncomfortable, as he calls many shared assumptions about the rules of life, work and happiness into question. However, you must embrace the discomfort! Despite the fact that I had a strong desire to edit significant portions of this book, it remains one of the most quotable works I’ve ever read. By the end you’ll be feeling inspired to do that crazy thing you can’t help but do: “Your biggest failure is the thing you dreamed of contributing but didn’t find the guts to do.”