You know what is really scary?
No matter what pop culture tells you, if you want to do anything other than waste time and go broke, entrepreneurship is not all ping pong and free beer.
Instead, it's a roller coaster of emotion.
Like how sometimes I'm most scared when my firm has the most clients and is doing well.
Then I know exactly what I can lose.
At least that's a rational fear.
Sometimes I'm just irrationally scared. There will be a few days where I have a hard time sleeping, or where my heart inexplicably beats faster, or I just get tired and shaky.
Maybe that's weird, but I wouldn't really know. Entrepreneurs really don't talk a lot about fear.
Things are always great. Or if they are not great, they are about to turn a corner.
Can't find the corner? Pivot.
And if your pivots end up being one giant circular walk you can comfort yourself with the knowledge that failure is okay. Abraham Lincoln failed. Steve Jobs failed. If you fail, you're in good company.
Except my kids can't eat feel-good blog posts about failure for dinner, so sometimes I'm scared.
And that's the fear an entrepreneur would experience in a normal environment.
The last year and a half, which really encompasses the lifespan of my company, has been a pretty tumultuous time, and now we're hearing talk of another Civil War, or calls for a Revolution.
That is definitely not a normal environment.
And one way the media talks about this decidedly irregular environment is to use the following sentence:
"The country has never been this divided."
Granted, social media feeds these days can be pretty vicious. I know from personal experience that this post has a good chance of being interpreted a variety of different ways, and may cause me to avoid my own Twitter feed for a few days--like the time one of my posts compelled a reader to write to me and say my children should disown me.
So, yes, we are divided.
But more divided than ever before?
Maybe we are more divided than ever before--if you live in the universe of social media and cable news, where history is what happened around the time I started writing this article, and "Breaking News" is literally anything.
Maybe we are more divided than ever before--if you've never learned about 1968, or the time we had an actual Civil War, or the multiple decades both before and after the Civil War, or the time Thomas Jefferson's campaign called his rival John Adams "A hideous hermaphroditical character, which has neither the force and firmness of a man, nor the gentleness and sensibility of a woman."
That said, as a new entrepreneur there have been moments over the last 18 months when I've doubted the wisdom of starting a company in such an uncertain time--even if we aren't living in the most divided political environment ever.
When I feel that way, I comfort myself by:
- Remembering that life (and entrepreneurship) is always uncertain.
- The country has made it through far worse moments than what we are witnessing now.
- Unstable people have always existed; now they just have Twitter, and retweets do not qualify as an endorsement--or an insurrection.
As an entrepreneur (and human), it's a giant waste of time to worry about that which you cannot control. No matter who you're voting for, all you can do is vote, and then move on.
Move on to conquering the normal fear that comes with starting a business.
Move on to making a better product or service.
Move on to doing something that makes a positive impact on your community and the people around you.
Move on to building the business and the life you want, regardless of who lives in the White House.