Zak had a great post yesterday about the unique challenge overachievers face when confronted with non-conventional career and life paths. I got to thinking a bit more on the topic.
One of the things that keeps some of the smartest people from the entrepreneurial path is a lack of clear ways to “win”.
Smart, competitive people are good at winning. Give them the parameters, rules, and expectations, and they will meet them faster and better than their peers. They can dominate in a well-defined game. But entrepreneurship is totally unlike this. The question so many achievers are quick to ask in any new setting – “How do I win?” – is the very question entrepreneurs are trying to figure out in real time. No one knows how to make a new venture win, or how to bring a vision to life. No one knows how to please customers, create value for investors, and gain a hold in the market.
The question, “How do I win”, is exactly what drives someone to launch a project or venture. No one is providing an answer, so they have to go test out different approaches and see. This can be scary for high achievers who want to know when the assignment is due, how many pages, and what will ensure an A.
Don’t fear. Winning isn’t always about complying with the rules and meeting known expectations. Sometimes it’s about creating new ones. And even if your idea doesn’t succeed, you still can. Failing while taking a risk is often the best way to succeed.