Elephants are some of the most amazing beasts on the planet. They are the largest land mammals currently roaming the earth. With the turning of their head they can destroy buildings, tear down trees and kill people. They possess titanic strength.
They are also known for their memories. These giant behemoths never forget anything. For example, when an elephant is a baby, handlers will tie a rope around their leg and to a nearby stake. After days and perhaps weeks of tugging against that rope, the elephant will eventually learn that it cannot break the rope. As it grows into adulthood, the handler continues to tie the same rope around its leg and the now stronger elephant will never again try to break the rope—even though it can, because it remembers that it cannot.
Mind Over Body
Our mind has incredible influence over our body. For many entrepreneurs the hardest thing to overcome is our past. My life story is riddled with failures, starts and stops, people’s disbelief, bullying, name calling and so many other things that would hold me back.
In 1999, I tried to start an Internet shopping portal that was manufacturer direct. It sounds pretty straight forward now; however, when you go back to 1999, Amazon, Buy.com, Shopping.com were just getting started. While some of them had been founded as early as 1994, the Internet shopping industry was still very new and untested and none of them were manufacturer direct. All of them used major distributors to provide warehousing and shipping. So, when I went to market suggesting that manufacturers ship direct to consumers, I was laughed out of office after office. Eventually the effort failed miserably because I could not get the necessary support to make it work. It took another five years for manufacturer direct shipping to become commonplace.
Most entrepreneurs have a history that includes being told, “It will never happen.” The question is, how will you respond?
Like the elephant, as an entrepreneur, you have grown strong and powerful.
Your ideas challenge what is.
You think outside the box.
You question normal and look for better.
The Key to Breaking the Stranglehold
You have everything you need to destroy and rebuild. God has designed you for the purpose of making new, for overcoming and for having the uncanny ability to look past what you are experiencing in your everyday life in order to mentally live in the context of what could be.
That reality is what drives people like us.
The problem comes when our early life failures keep us from trying. We have all of this opportunity built inside of us but we get held up by life circumstances and our memories of failure.
The key to breaking the stranglehold of the past is quite simple. You need to revision your past. Your past is not about failure. There is not a college of entrepreneurialism that can teach you what real life does. With each entrepreneurial event, you will gain a few bumps and bruises, that is true; however, they will heal. The wisdom you will gain will never go away.
Writing Exercise: Where are you getting stuck?
Make a list of your entrepreneurial ventures, regardless of how far they got. Even if they were just ideas and never went beyond the idea phase. We can begin to identify obstacles that are holding us back when we peer into our past ventures or ideas with the intention of gleaning from our patterns. Fill out the following chart: