It seems every article you read about an entrepreneur talks about risk. They talk about how entrepreneurs love risk and how they have high risk thresholds. I’ve started and built four companies to date, two with million dollar revenues and continue to push each day to grow my current company so I have experience when I say that I’ve come to realize that we hate risk. I’ve realized that it’s self-doubt, fear of fear, naysayers and risk that we’re trying to get away from. We’re trying to create a chasm between us and it. This may sound counter to what you’ve read but you need to read between the lines. Every successful entrepreneur I’ve ever come across is trying to do this. They need to prove themselves. They want to get away from risk and to build what they consider to be successful or what they can be proud of and feel they’ve accomplished something, except, the bar keeps rising and regardless of current success, it never seems to be attained and always seems to be in the distance. The feeling of having to push a little further or the anxiety and pressure related never seems to ease no matter the apparent success.
The goal only grows.
I think people like the idea that entrepreneurs love risk or are daredevils attracted to risk but this is probably one of the biggest misnomers in the world of entrepreneurship out there. I think deep down, every true entrepreneur, if they really looked at it would agree that it isn’t risk that they love, it’s building things that gets them away from the risk toward a mission or goal that keeps them one step ahead of it and puts distance between it and them. This feeling leads most of us to a desire to control the environment and journey as much as possible. It also drives us to work more than others in order to outwork the lingering threats from risk, fear or self-doubt….
While many entrepreneurs typically appear confident and calm… much deeper under the surface you’ll find these true motivations. Perhaps we don’t like to admit it to ourselves and so we pretend it’s something else but it’s not. I’ve been building companies for nearly 13 years now, I’ve worked with and around many other entrepreneurs and I’ve read countless books, studied interviews and have amassed enough personal experience to finally realize that it’s not the love of risk, it’s the fear of it and the creation of something that will keep it away from us.
Entrepreneurs are incredibly calculating people. They plan well and execute in abundance. They’re often complete perfectionist constantly trying to make things better in order to satisfy their internal feeling that says, “you can do better or it can be better”. Lastly and one of the most important, they’re typically completely convicted about a specific goal, vision or mission that drives them forward and helps them overcome any and all thoughts of risk to pursue and push ahead regardless because it’s a senior motivation that outranks the risk in their mind.