We all know life’s events fall into two, basic categories: things you can control, and things you can’t.
Though this is true of all aspects of our lives, today we’ll talk about why it’s important for those testing their hands at the board game of entrepreneurship.
But the game of entrepreneurship isn’t exactly a game in the usual sense.
With most games, like chess, you follow an “I go, you go” structure. In other words, as soon as one move is made, you stay within the boundaries and limitations of the gameboard to make your own move.
And that’s where the entrepreneurial game differs.
The entrepreneurial game is dynamic, fluid. Every time you (or anyone else) makes a move, the dynamics have changed – you’re no longer on the same game board.
Some people might actually feel more comfortable if the entrepreneurial game were bit more like chess and had some board constraints to guide them. But the fact that entrepreneurship isn’t like chess is part of what gives you the chance to take charge and earn your own successes.
By not being like chess or most other games, you don’t have an opponent you’re waiting on as an entrepreneur.
This mean YOU always have the power to go ahead and make your next move. There’s no waiting on anyone but yourself.
But the key here goes right back to the very first sentence: there are things you can control, and things you can’t.
As an entrepreneur, you definitely need to recognize this to avoid being held back by things that are outside of your reach.
Here’s an example: let’s say a new startup is struggling to get straight answers from producers (or who we’d consider to be their game “opponents”) about production costs.
While the startup might use this as a reason to put their business on brief hold (“well, we can’t move forward until we have these answers”), I can guarantee there is always a move they can make despite the wait on their opponent.
This move could be:
- Working on marketing research
- Batching out blog content
- Surveying potential customers
- Or plenty of other useful things!
The thing about entrepreneurship is that it’s a highly personal game. Many entrepreneurs are afraid of taking risks and will happily jump on an excuse (such as waiting for their “opponent” to make a move) to avoid action.
But on the other side of the coin are those who are ready to take action but still need to realize what they can’t control. In the example above, this could be the response from those producers about the production costs.
If entrepreneurs don’t realize that something is out of their control, they’ll find themselves pushing up against a brick wall that they just can’t move. But what they really need to do is work around that wall.
So, what can you do to make yourself mindful of this important difference?
You can start by writing down the answers to these questions:
1. What is one thing that is stressful or needs to get done in your entrepreneurial life?
2. What aspect of this task can’t you control?
3. What aspect of this task can you control?
4. How can you act and move this task forward despite other factors? (answer this question using “instead of X, I can Y.”)
Here’s an example of my own list to give you an idea:
1. I need to publish more podcasts.
2. I can’t control the amount of time it takes to for post production to finish before each podcast episode is launched.
3. I can control the creation of a lot of content and ideas on my end.
4. Instead of waiting for post production to finish, I can create lots of podcast content to use later on. That way, I’ll keep this task moving forward and myself ahead of the game.
What it all comes down to is mindset. Know what is outside of your control, know what is inside your control, and use that knowledge to your advantage.
And remember, in the game of entrepreneurship: the next move is always yours.