By Jessica Macias Bochatay, MBA student and Founding Director at Adepicos.
The Entrepreneur Week was founded in 2009 as a global platform for early-stage entrepreneurs and $100 million revenue generators to share ideas and seize opportunities. Last week, they led the “Entrepreneur Walk” to promote successful entrepreneurs as the job creators, risk takers and the innovators, and combat the notion that entrepreneurs are part of the “One Percent”. Why? Because entrepreneurs “are not the 1%. They are not the 99%. They’re the difference”.
I was recently invited to participate at one of their premier Entrepreneur Weeks which took place in New York from 16th to 20th April 2012 to be part of a panel on “Embracing Your Inner Critic: The REAL Challenge of Entrepreneurship”. Moderated by Graham Lawlor, Founder of Ultra Light Startups, the other panelists were Peter Shallard, known as “The Shrink for Entrepreneurs”, Frank DiBello, CEO of American Material Handling (3rd generation business) and Priya Parker, Founder of Thrive Labs, and myself as Founding Director of Adepicos Ltd.
During the panel discussion I shared a couple of invitations to the audience and panelists. These generated the following 4 pointers to embracing your inner critic:
- Just embrace it! The inner critic is the internal dialogue that influences how people make decisions. This self-criticism is a form of resistance that may tell you not to take risks, or that something may be wrong. It is normal, it is human, and the reality is that you will neither be able to ignore it nor will you be able to lock the emotions it may generate. Instead, marry it with your intuition.
->Listen to it, accept it, leverage it, and embrace it.
- Find your “why”. Entrepreneurs and leaders are driven by their purpose. Ask yourself… What excites you? What inspires you? What is your core? Why do you care? Then go deep. And dig in. And dig deeper. Find your driver – your why. Answering these questions generates self-awareness. This will give you the capacity to locate yourself in space time – to know yourself. The more clarity, the more self-awareness. The more self-awareness, the greater the sense of purpose, direction and action.
->A clear self-awareness allows for effective self-criticism.
- Boost your inner genius. So much of what happens is how we think of ourselves. For example, I have very often been the ‘only young, white woman’ in a meeting room, particularly when working countries like Cambodia, Turkey and Pakistan. If I saw myself as the ‘only young, white woman’ in the room, that is exactly how I would be perceived and treated by others. When I no longer thought of my gender, my age, and felt confident about my skills and why I was there, I was being seeing as a genius.
->Value your inner genius, and you could be light years ahead of where you stand.
- Take time to reflect. We live in accelerating, complex, chaotic and changing world that generates emotions which in turn affect our internal dialogue. Our societies are spoiled with endless products and services we can purchase to cure physical, and even psychological, symptoms. If your inner critic is beating you, you won’t solve this by merely “purchasing” a remedy. Instead, take time out of work. Exercise, eat well, go on vacation, hang out with real friends, sleep. The most productive and creative individual is the healthy, rested, well-balanced, energetic, happy person. It is not the one that consumes finite hours staring at the computer, whether that is working or social networking.
->Pursue excellence in a creative environment.
These 4 pointers do not teach you how to be fearless. You cannot learn how to be fearless, but you can learn how to fear and do it anyway.