Vampires are pitiful creatures. Lost souls, floating between earth and the afterlife, no heaven, no hell. They can’t live a powerful story because without an end, the beginning and middle parts bear no relevance.
The beauty of this mortal coil.
Think of it. The drudgery of immortality would suck the mojo out of even the stoutest personality. You’d never convincingly cry, “This is it! Now or never!” but only endure the slow, monotonous march through time everlasting. I’d take up napping, too.
Of course there are the lesser consequences of vampire existence, more annoying and creepy than dangerous. That bit about not casting a shadow, or being able to enter a home without the owner’s invitation. Awkward!
However one particular vampire trait plagues fleshy humanity, too.
The inability to see your reflection.
That one is truly scary because it’s one we humans understand.
Not literally of course. If a vampire lives today, the “selfie” trend would negate any inconvenience. Need to check your make-up? Post a picture to Instagram and see if your friends approve. Want to change your hairstyle? There’s an app for that.
No, I’m talking about the near tragic flaw of most entrepreneurs: not being able to see yourself for who you really are.
Nothing will suck the life out of you and throw you off course more than this one painful trait. And yet it’s oh-so-common.
- Why is it so easy to see the speck in someone else’s eye than the plank in your own?
- Why do so many people find it easy to do for others what they can’t do for themselves?
- Why do so many professionals end up teaching what they themselves most need to learn?
- Why are we so easily see the gifts of others but fail seeing our own? It’s that reflection-averse ego that gets in the way.
If you’re lucky, you have a friend or loved one who will remind you of what you can’t see: your value, your goodness, relevance, beauty and folly. And a really good friend will gently point out your weak links, too and nudge you toward your better nature.
It is possible to get a good objective look at yourself? It takes some work and a little discomfort (sometimes genuine pain), but the results are worth it. There are only two ways…
How Successful Entrepreneurs See Themselves More Clearly
View yourself through others:
Join a Mastermind Group. A mastermind group is a small group of like minds with a common objective, to challenge each other to set goals and grow. When you surround yourself with people who are focused on improving some particular aspect of themselves in business, you’ll find that you can’t help but address the complete picture of your life. Your spiritual, social, professional, and physical reality is brought to light. In learning to ask questions of others in the group, you also develop a good sense of where your value lies. You also reveal your own myopic tendencies and gain insight into other alternative ways of acting and thinking.
Get in the habit of asking difficult questions of yourself and others. Dig deep into subjects and people who interest you (and even those that don’t. You’ll not only get invited to more parties and improve others’ opinion of you; you’ll develop your critical thinking about ideas you wouldn’t normally encounter. Don’t ask questions just for conversation’s sake. try to gain real understanding. If you push through, what you find on the other side often says more about you than the line of reasoning by which you pursued it.
For example, you may discover after thinking and sharing ideas, that you have rather strong opinions about matters you never considered before. Or your eyes may open to a tenet that you assumed was part and parcel of who you are, turns out to disconnect on a fundamental level.
Read a lot.
View yourself by turning in:
Keep a journal. Your thoughtful consideration of your life, feelings, goals and activities, recorded over time, allow you to see some repetitive themes running rampant! This clarity may suggest you tweak and monitor what you see about yourself. But there’s a catch.
Recognize truth when you get glimpses of your real self, but don’t get too attached to the picture of yourself. Your story is continually unfolding. It will change as your circumstances change. Even your beliefs and values will evolve.
Don’t be afraid of failing. Fear of failure may be the most disastrous feature of an entrepreneur who can’t see herself clearly. How can this be? When they hear the word “Entrepreneur,” many people envision the intrepid, self motivated leader who builds businesses with confidence. But the flip side of this “success at any cost” mindset is that in a lot of these highly energetic business people see failure as a setback. Failure is simply not a possibility.
True optimists, however, see no distinct line between success and failure. Failure propels them forward by allowing them to course correct as they go. Failure is simply “the way.“ Successful entrepreneurs go with the flow of failure. They accept and even embrace failure because in failure there is freedom. Not perfect? Great! Dig deeper. Push on.
Discernment. There will be thousands of causes, questions and ideas that you have no more than topical interest in. Accept that you will skate the surface of those things and move on. For example, you may understand the basics of calculus, but have no interest in thinking deeply about them. Although there are many fields that use calculus concepts to describe phenomena, it’s just not how your mind frames and solves problems. Appreciation and understanding are not the same as really internalizing what’s important to you. Give those ideas a nod and pursue your the ones that resonate with you.
This can be difficult for someone who loves to learn. The other day I encountered an article about big brands using Twitter. While interesting to me, I had to admit that taking ten minutes to read an article about big brands — when my copywriting and content creation service is geared toward entrepreneurs and smaller brands — was probably not a good use of my time and focus. By leaving the article unread I caught a clearer glimpse of who I am and how others see me.
“The unexamined life is not worth living.”
Entrepreneurs are prone to examining their beliefs and goals because the same self-motivation required to start a business and run it successfully, moves deeply into personal territory. For many entrepreneurs, this reflection can’t be helped.
But it’s easy to get so busy with your work that you assume you’re the same type of entrepreneurial person as that guy over there, or that successful woman you met recently. In haste, we assume an idea of who we are, while our true appearance and gifts don’t correspond to some altered version of reality we’re chasing.
Remember the vampire. He probably never stops and glances in a pane of glass because it holds no interest for him. He lacks substance, can’t even cast a shadow with his form. He is a whiff of a person because he can’t see his own reflection. He must rely on his senses and someone else’s version of reality.
We consider the undead on Halloween because it’s fun to imagine being monsters. It’s the one day each year to laugh at death and other things that scare us.
Behind the fun, though, are some serious questions that cut to the heart of our fears. The cruelest of human flaws is also one of the most common — never seeing our own face in the mirror.
Entrepreneurs, unlike vampires, are grounded. Gravity, light, weight, a finite but unknown number of years – all give our lives meaning and value. Spend at least a little time every day really seeing your reflection.