In April I did something spectacularly stupid. I was rushing to pack up the last items in our house since we were moving, and due to my carelessness I broke the fifth metatarsal in my right foot. Weeks of being laid up and more weeks of rebuilding walking strength gave me a lot of time to think about being focused. Funny enough, it hit me one day that having to adapt to a serious injury is a lot like being an entrepreneur. To wit:
- Everything is on you. Meaning, every decision is yours and yours alone. Sure, other people provide advice, some of it quite sound, too (like the doctor saying under no circumstances should I put weight on my foot for at least four weeks). But, ultimately, it’s up to us to act, or not act. And decisions sometimes come with serious consequences.
- You observe the world around you with a different perspective, and pivot purposefully. When you launch a business, chances are you’ve identified an opportunity that no one else is addressing, or isn’t addressing adequately. Similarly, when you’re reliant on crutches, you become acutely aware of what buildings are and aren’t accessible. You also become acutely aware that even six steps separating your bedroom from your living room require you to revert to your six-year-old self and scoot up and down them on your butt.
- Patience is the operative word. As the old saying goes, Rome wasn’t built in a day. A new business takes time to nurture and grow. So, too, does a broken bone.
- Obstacles are temporary. To reference another well-known saying: When it comes to difficulties, you’re not a tree; you can move. With my foot, scooting up and down the steps like a kid lasted about five weeks. Climbing them upright was slow at first, but I was upright. That was all that mattered.
- Plenty of people are rooting for you. They’re not just friends and family, either. Neighbors who previously you assumed never paid much attention ask how you’re doing. Industry reps, some of whom you may not even really know well, make a point of telling you that you inspire them.