In the personal and professional development field, we often focus on the end game—the goals that hang over our horizon—and the abundance that's located there. It's a great way to motivate yourself to keep moving forward and, frankly, it's the only way to truly achieve what you want in this life. We only have so much time and energy in this lifetime. You need to focus it in a specific direction to achieve results.
However, sometimes we focus so tightly on the end game that we get frustrated with the journey.
"I spent 20 hours on that sales page. Why hasn't it converted yet?"
"I took that JV partner out to lunch twice. Why hasn't he delivered on his promises?"
"Why aren't I there yet?"
"Don't I deserve this after all the work I've put in?"
Look, we've all had these thoughts. Being an entrepreneur is a calling that's rife with questions and doubts, and that's not going to change.
What's dangerous, though, is when these thoughts become what we call "entrepreneurial entitlement." Entrepreneurial entitlement happens when you feel like you have the right to get what you want—when you feel like you deserve it, over and above everyone else.
It's not the same as confidence or assurance. It's bean counting. It's adding up your contributions and weighing them against your achievements like Scrooge McDuck.
It's a mindset of pettiness and scarcity and it's a particularly dangerous one to cultivate for two reasons:
1) Entrepreneurial entitlement kills gratitude.
If you allow entitlement into your life, even when you do achieve that thing that you have a "right" to, you're not going to feel that rush of joy and abundance. You're going to feel a small flash of petty satisfaction—and that's it. In other words, you're simply not going to enjoy what you've worked so hard to achieve. It happens more often than you think. It's simply a shame, one we wouldn't wish on you or our worst enemies, for that matter.
2) When you're mired in a sense of entitlement, you miss the lessons in your struggles.
Every conflict, every setback can offer you new wisdom—and strength. If you're willing to accept these lessons and the way they shape you, you'll arrive at your destination truly transformed by your experiences along the way. We believe you'll even be better-equipped to enjoy what you've created.
And that's the point—of your life and of your business.
It's not about the things you achieve. It's about the emotions you feel when you achieve them. What is a trophy, but reminder of the way you felt when your high school basketball team won the championship? You don't look through photographs of your children to check their hair color when they were younger, but to remember the pride you felt when your son took his first steps.
Every moment, you have the very real opportunity to create your own reality. The classic phrase is right: it's not about what happens to you. It's about how you react to it. You can choose entitlement, or you can choose fulfillment. It's up to you.
As you continue your journey of entrepreneurship, we encourage you to give yourself this gift:
Take a moment to enjoy where you are right now.
Develop an appreciation for the journey, pitfalls, hairballs and all.
Cultivate your gratitude for everything you receive.
And guard yourself against entrepreneurial entitlement.