Since leaving corporate America to start a business a couple of years ago, I have felt the pressure, insatiable thirst, and need to constantly convince others of my worth. This journey for me has been more difficult than I ever could have imagined, but for some reason, I cannot find many books or articles on the subject matter, so I'm gonna talk about it here.
For me, entrepreneurship isn’t difficult because of the risks involved or the financial pressure, competition, or work-life balance. Rather, it's the culture surrounding it. I feel constantly bombarded with messages and images that reinforce certain ideas and perspectives about entrepreneurship, where I feel my “success” as an entrepreneur is often measured by my ability to convince others of my perspective, gain social media followers, scale, and secure the bag.
In my attempt to adjust that for myself, I’m recognizing that the power to shape my own destiny as an entrepreneur lies within me. I understand that my own way of being and thinking about how to move in this place is valid and that I do not need to constantly convince others to see things my way or judge the way others move in this space. Instead, I can engage in conversations with folks who move differently, and I can do so with an open mind and heart, knowing that each of our perspectives around entrepreneurship is unique and valuable to the community. By reframing my interactions with entrepreneurship in this way, I can create a space for beautiful, eye-opening conversations without the risk of conflict. I can offer the gift of understanding, without feeling the need to convey a specific message or change minds. In doing so, I can unlock new doors and possibilities within myself, as we work to collectively create a more inclusive and equitable world by expanding the number of entrepreneurs in the world who offer new possibilities for this sector.
Pondering 1: How Can I Reimagine Entrepreneurship?
One of the biggest challenges I face as an entrepreneur is the emphasis on growth and profit. I noticed pretty quickly that success is often measured by financial metrics like revenue, profit margins, and market share. I can get down with the reality that these metrics are hella useful in assessing the health of a business, but they don't necessarily reflect the broader impact of entrepreneurship on society and the environment.
As an apparel designer, I am also highly aware of the impact my industry has on the planet. The fashion industry is one of the largest polluters in the world, generating enormous amounts of waste and contributing to climate change. As someone who cares deeply about conservation, it can be difficult to reconcile my love of design with the environmental impact of my work.
So, I've been turning to non-traditional resources for myself and my business. Books like, The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying by, *Sogyal Rinpoche, Leadership and the New Science by Margret Wheatly, and Black Quantum Futurism: Theory & Practice by Rasheedah Phillips. At first glance, the connection to entrepreneurship and the concepts of Speculative design, Noble Leadership, Black Quantum Futures, and Impermanence might seem like a bridge too far, but I'm finding that it offers me comfort and alternative ways of thinking about the future and the role of entrepreneurship within these concepts.
- Speculative Design encourages us to imagine alternative futures and explore new possibilities.
- Black Quantum Futurism is a theoretical framework that explores the intersections of science fiction, futurism and Blackness.
- Impermanence is the idea is that everything in the universe is in a constant state of flux and that nothing remains static or permanent. This includes not only physical objects, but also thoughts, emotions, and even the sense of self.
- Noble leadership is a commitment to serving others, a strong moral code, and a focus on creating positive outcomes for all stakeholders, not just the individual or the organization.
With these 4 approaches, I can begin to envision a more positive future for entrepreneurship and how I move within it. In this journey, I strive to prioritize, new possibilities, collective thinking, fluctuation, conservation, and nobility, over growth and profit.
I know this will require a shift in mindset from the entrepreneurship community, and as I said in my introduction. We can engage in conversations with one another even if we move differently in this space. We can engage with an open mind and heart. I truly believe that each of our perspectives is unique and valuable to entrepreneurship. And when we engage in conversations with folks who move differently, the potential benefits are significant, both for entrepreneurs and for society as a whole.
Thank you for pondering with me.
Wishing you Joy,
* Sogyal Lakar, a Tibetan Buddhist teacher was accused of widespread physical and sexual abuse. Sogyal Rinpoche, sold millions of books and was widely seen as the best-known Tibetan Buddhist teacher after the Dalai Lama. But allegations of physical and sexual abuse followed Lakar, although he was never found guilty of any crimes.
An investigation commissioned by his group concluded that some followers were abused by him. – BBC 2019