A dear friend of mine recently sent me a link to a blog post about the uncertainty involved in entrepreneurship. The post was so moving that I just had to reach out to its author about featuring it on my site. The author, Tova Payne, offers coaching services for creative entrepreneurs.

When I read her post, I felt like she was expressing all of my feelings about starting my own business; the doubt, the fear, the certainty and uncertainty of it all. Tova gave me permission to re-post the text, so tell me your thoughts on it (click on the title to go to the original post):


The Mystery in Entrepreneurship

The Mystery in Entrepreneurship: 

We want to know that if we work hard we’ll receive compensation

We want to know that if we put our self out there we’ll be seen

We want to know that if we invest we’ll get a return on our investment

In other words–we crave certainty.

And not necessarily mundane certainty–having the same schedule everyday (though that may be your preference) but the certainty that if you do good work that good will come back to you.

It’s kind of like the law of karma: What you give you receive.

But there’s a problem there. Karma isn’t that simple.

In other words, just because you spend 3 months creating a program or putting together a retreat, doesn’t mean that your event is guaranteed to fill.

There are no guarantees. There are mysteries.

And for most people mystery is uncomfortable, but it’s the one thing you can count on.

I’ve been reading Further Along The Road Less Traveled by Scott Peck, M.D. and I love what he says about mystery:

Ultimately what we search for is the truth. We want to know the answer, we want to know why things work the way they do. After all, our culture relies on science to determine the truth.

That’s what science is: a regimented method to discover the truth.

But medicine is still full of mystery. Dr. Peck talks about how often when there’s a diagnosis, the patient will ask why? And although the physician can often explain to some extent what is happening in the body, at the end of the conversation the ultimate reason is “I don’t know”.

There’s never a surefire reason why one person gets lung cancer (and never smoked a day in their life) and why a heavy smoker will never get lung cancer.

As much as science and research has discovered how things work in the body and there’s growing knowledge on ‘risk factors’ and ‘preventative measures’ there’s still an overarching mystery: absolute certainty does not exist.

This is so important in the world of entrepreneurship and creating innovative work: there’s a mystery to it.

There’s a mystery to creativity and the creative process. It’s not something you can boil down to a “How to Blueprint”

And (all marketing aside) there’s an element of mystery to why some offerings make a lot of money, or get a lot of recognition, and why others don’t.

You might create something that you think is mediocre at best and it goes viral.

Then you’ll create something that you think is your best creative piece yet and hardly anybody recognizes it.

This is why entrepreneurship is one of the greatest personal development journey’s you can go on. You’ll get confronted with mystery and uncertainty every step of the way.

Even people who’ve been in business for a long time or have a large following are not guaranteed a successful financial result every time they launch something new.

It’s always a risk.

The risk is your time, energy, heart, and sometimes financial – depending on if your project requires money to get it off the ground.

But the more you welcome mystery and the more you can flow with riding the wave of uncertainty, the more enjoyable the ride will be.

Not every risk will give you the result you think. But stay on the ride long enough–and you’ll find that opportunities and compensation that you never expected will come your way.

Remember: karma works in interesting ways.