I am far from a “techie” (someone who is technologically proficient) but I was fascinated by an NPR story I heard recently entitled, “Failure: The F word Silicon Valley Loves and Hates”. The story focused upon entrepreneurs in the Tech field in Silicon Valley. According to this report, failure is glorified in this Valley of technological start up companies. Interviewees in this story said things like, “the fear of being a failure drives you.”. One person noted, “Failure means you just haven’t gotten your success yet.” Another reported that “failure is mandatory; it’s as pervasive as the weather”.
I was stunned by the optimism of these statements. My husband and I consider ourselves entrepreneurs. I think we must conceive of new business ideas every other day. The process of conception (much like in the other kind of conception process) is the fun part– the brain storming process; the excitement of a new idea; the hope of making the idea an income producing one…
I’ve dreamed of making my Be Brave. Lose the Beige concept an income producing business. I create art, write books/journals/blogs, and conduct Lady Boomer workshops and retreats on the subject. Endeavors producing a sustainable source of income are such a point of validation. Everyone around you affirms your idea is a success once you begin making money from it. If not, it’s a dream, a silly notion, or worse yet, a failure. Aside from the obvious drawbacks of failing to earn money from an endeavor consuming significant time and focus, there is the added burden of disappointing family members and friends. That fear of humiliation is what drives entrepreneurs says Joe Kraus of Google Ventures. “Threading that idea from the “vision” stage to the “execution” stage is a necessary step in the march to success.
I know what that feels like. I turned 60 last year. I can’t believe it. I feel like I might run out of time at any moment without fully realizing by dreams (although it’s not from a lack of trying.) I spend an inordinate amount of time writing, researching and sculpting. I have often hidden these endeavors from my linear lawyer friends out of fear they may say something like, “Why are you wasting your time doing that?!”. After all, there has not been any kind of a guarantee I’ll make money from all these efforts. But creativity is funny. It’s kind of like breathing. I can’t fathom living without it. So I loved hearing this story. I found it encouraging; a virtual support group for creative people. Remember- Thomas Edison was asked if he was frustrated at his lack of success after his 1800 attempts at inventing the light bulb. “No”, he replied, “ I now know a 1000 things that won’t work.”
So, if you feel alone in your quest toward entrepreneurship, share you experience here. We can commiserate.