Of course if that fails, the big giveaway is that they’re the ones who aren’t in suits, but still step out of the restaurant to take a conference call at 10pm. The way I see it, anyone can be an entrepreneur, what marks out the real deal is the restless energy, constantly calculating angles and reassessing plans of attack. In fact a long time ago I came to the conclusion that this is a compulsion, not quite a disease, but with many signs and symptoms which sometimes make it look like one.
The evidence is out there and called the serial entrepreneur. You’ve seen them, made more money than Croesus but still putting in 16 hour days and trying out new ventures. You’d be forgiven for asking why, in the name of all that’s holy, would anyone choose to work like a dog when they could be bobbing about on a yacht in the Caribbean. With drinks and err, great company?
The answer is they can’t stop; they’re compelled to keep doing it. Whatever personality trait carried them to success previously can’t be shut off and there is the need to do it again. But why? What is there left to prove? I’m not sure they’re trying to prove anything, but we get into the realms of theory, because I think it boils down to winning, and the endorphin hit you get when you’ve won the prize that can’t be bought. Even though you go through all flavours of hell to get there, there will be pain and misery- you KNOW there will be, you’ve done it before for heaven’s sake- but you still can’t stop yourself from doing it again. The hit you get is so damn intense, so enveloping, just so damn gooood, you just have to and that’s the end of it. You will win, you know you will, it’s a matter of when, not if.
That prize is simply worth it and no-one can buy it, it has to be taken. Put that intensity of living against an aimless, drifting existence of the ‘young’ retired, or worse, a 9-5 desk job, and just the thought of it is horrifying. That focus and expenditure of energy on the prize comes at a cost. Of course it does. Most of my entrepreneur friends are either single or divorced. There just aren’t that many people out there willing to accept that they’re not top priority in the lives of these driven individuals ; and the truth is they may actually be far down the list behind your co-founders/management team/investors, never mind being absent from the number 1 slot.
This is a very high price. My children are now used to their fathers’ inability to settle down with one person, and I think I preferred it when it warranted comment from them. These days, while I’m no more able to resist the business pull than I was 20 years ago, at least I can moderate it, a little, and enjoy other sides of life. My children are number 1, regardless of what’s going down in business. Whatever the prize is, it’s simply knocked out of the park by their wellbeing.
My other main interest outside business is cars, and I’m fortunate to have some very desirable cars in my garage. Even when I’m out in the cars, you can’t get away from business; one sentiment I’ve heard many times in one form or another is ‘what is it you do, because I’d like to do it too..’ I wonder, really wonder, Mr Happy Domesticity, if you’re willing to pay the price.