Celebrating the Entrepreneurial Journey: Lessons and Insights
By Katerina Kanelidou, Associate Director
In March I was invited to speak at the Women Techmakers launch event in Thessaloniki, Greece, to share my experience in entrepreneurship.
My goal was to inspire and motivate the audience but at the same time shed some light on the not so pleasant sides of entrepreneurship. While I was drafting a speech, I discovered that the achievements of those years weren’t the roles and positions or any other fancy titles that I had obtained along the way. The achievements were the lessons learned, some of which I shared with the audience at the event.
- It is never too late. When it comes to your life, to what makes you feel fulfilled and whole, it is never too late to start doing whatever you were meant to or have decided to do.
- There are no straight lines on the road to success. It is going to have its ups and downs, its peaks and valleys. Do not get stuck in any of the downs because any point on this road is momentary. Pass through them and you will move on.
- Know thyself. Entrepreneurship requires a lot of management. But all management is ultimately self-management and we cannot manage what we do not know.
- Define your values. Take some time to explore and identify your values and what they mean to you. Then enjoy the benefits such clarity will bring to your decision making.
- Define your vision. Vision, together with the mission, will form your compass, show you that you are on the right track and from there your goals will grow. Have a vision. Define it and boldly go after it. And remember: Some times we must let go of who we are in order to become who we can be.
- Start with what you have. To use Theodore Roosevelt’s words: “Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.” And you always have what you need: yourself.
- Find your people. One of the best investments I made during my journey was in people: the right professionals who would provide me with the tools, knowledge and insights needed. Find your tribe: your mentors, teachers, peers, friends, who will be there for you.
- Find your Question. We are often seeking the answers but it is usually the right question that is going to give us what we truly need. As a coach, this is the treasure hunt that I have found to be most beneficial both for my clients and myself: the hunt for the perfect question. In my case, it has always been “What can I do?”.
- It’s ok to say “no”. We are not only judged by the things we do. We are also judged by the things we refuse to do. Learn your needs and standards and learn to say “no” to anything that goes against them. No opportunity comes from any such compromise.
- Celebrate. It doesn’t matter if you haven’t crossed the finish line yet. It doesn’t matter what the circumstances and conditions are. Nothing needs to be perfect, completed, or in the best conditions to celebrate. Every step of the path we take is worth celebrating and giving the people around us the opportunity to celebrate with us.
What about you? What are your lessons that you would like to add to the list?
Which of these lessons seem more important to you?
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