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Anxiety, sleepless nights and ambition walked into a bar...

Updated: Sep 3, 2023

*Disclaimer – this post is an honest look at entrepreneurship. It has no bearing on accounts or finance*

I was listening to a podcast today.

Diary of CEO.

Flip me. His story was both incredibly motivating and devastatingly heart breaking at the same time. The life of an entrepreneur is never a smooth road.

But Steven Bartlett asked him the question: with all the panic attacks, anxiety, distracting thoughts, sleepless nights, why be an entrepreneur? Why?

I was tinkering away with work, thinking ahead, envisioning what comes next for MPAS but this question stopped me in my tracks. Stopped me dead. Fingers stopped typing. Attention now fixated on how Mark would respond. And also feeling the familiarity of the conversation as Luke and I were speaking about it the day before.

This episode, might I add, was from 2017. I am way behind on this podcast. But I love it, because I feel this pulling, this affinity to these feelings which a lot of people mistake for arrogance, ignorance or just blind ambition. No thank you. I appreciate I can be all 3 of those things from time to time. However, this podcast asks the questions everyone else is afraid to ask, but entrepreneurs ask themselves at least 3 times a day. Maybe even 3 times an hour.

Anyway, getting back to the subject in hand.

My friends don’t understand. Even Luke sometimes doesn’t get it. The anxiety, the stress, the sleepless nights. Why would you subject yourself to that? Why?

It’s an addiction. It’s visceral. It’s a “nobody puts baby in the corner” attitude. It’s “if I fall, watch me come back stronger”. It’s the joy and satisfaction from solving the impossible. And yet it’s more.

It’s about being willing to take risks and becoming resilient in the face of challenges. It’s learning how to utilise the anxiety and stress to make improvements and change the way business is done. It is about innovation. It’s about envisioning and dreaming big even if those dreams seem miles off or even out of reach. Being an entrepreneur, you pull them toward YOU. Not the other way round. It’s about continuous learning. And never giving up. Yes, you fall a few (hundred) times, and yes, you shed tears over endeavours and opportunities lost but you use that to push you forward and propel you further than you have ever been before.

So whilst some people may describe the addiction as being perverse, it has untold benefits for the economy, community and individuals who are involved in getting the entrepreneur where they want to be. Because ultimately, doing it by yourself is boring.

So the answer is simple. Why be an entrepreneur? Why do I continue to be an entrepreneur for all of the hardship and graft it takes?

Because overcoming hardship, grafting to make something better and solving problems no one else has yet, is the most satisfying feeling ever. When it stops being satisfying, that’s when I know it’s time to hang up the entrepreneurial belt. The next question is, will I ever stop looking for entrepreneurial opportunities? Well now, that is an entirely different blog post.

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