Entrepreneurship isn’t just about business. There’s a human aspect of being an entrepreneur, too. It’s important that we don’t sacrifice our humanity for the sake of our bottom lines.
When we hear the word “humanity,” we probably think of philosophical ideas about the nature of humankind or our commitment to doing good in the world and showing benevolence toward our fellow man. All of these are true and good associations. But there’s another definition of the word humanity, and that is simply the quality or state of being human.
As humans, we each have unique strengths and talents, but, like every other human, we also have limitations and weaknesses. Our humanity, in all its various expressions (personal creativity and ingenuity, for example) is what sets us apart and what sets us up for success in business and in life. And this is why making sure that we’re constantly tapping into human side of entrepreneurship is essential. After all, businesses are just ideas until we the people enliven them.
From a very young age, I was a business woman. In my 20s, I didn’t have a life. After I graduated from college, I started my first business. A serial entrepreneur, I launched successful business after business, dedicating every ounce of my being, my health, and my attention to each one. For decades, this put-the-business-first/put-myself-last approach was incredibly successful. I kept my head down, I never looked back, I never looked up and, honestly, I never really looked ahead. I focused on earning, on achieving, and on buying the trappings of success (mansion, Aston Martin, Jaguar, etc).
But last year, I was forced to walk away from my business.
Walking away from the business that I’d created wasn’t easy; and I didn’t think I’d survive.
And, in many ways, I didn’t.
The old me, the me who didn’t have a life and who was always trying to play the traditional “business woman” role, didn’t survive. I excelled at the business part. But the woman/human part? Not so much.
Thankfully, when I lost a chunk of my prosperity, I gained back a ton of my humanity.
There’s a human aspect of entrepreneurship that’s too often neglected, and it begins with entrepreneurs grounding ourselves in who we truly are, and not just the work we perform.
As I launch my next venture, I’ve vowed to do things differently this time around.