Being an entrepreneur is one of the most rewarding and challenging things you may ever embrace. The entrepreneurial rollercoaster gives highs and lows almost daily if not hourly! But there’s a good reason for that. During this journey, entrepreneurs are under the influence of what we call the 4 Ps – Passion, Pressure, Pleasure and Pain:
- Passion: Our obsessive belief and commitment for our vision makes us plow ahead in the face of obstacles, but also makes us ignore things we see along the way. Entrepreneurs say, “I know nine out of ten restaurants fail, but no one can cook like me.”
- Pressure: The enormous burden of responsibility, and the daily stress of a new business makes us overreact, make hasty decisions, and have a hard time seeing past the next thirty minutes. We quit our day job, max out our credit cards and ask family, friends and employees to rely on us for their success. That’s pressure.
- Pleasure: The energizing feeling of seeing a vision come to life, and of satisfaction, accomplishment, and achievement, empowers us but it also makes us fail to address problems staring us in the face. I think I remember my first customer more than I do my first kiss. Many things along the journey – first customer, closing an investment, hiring a great employee – all feel like first kisses.
- Pain: The angst over disappointments, frustrations, and mistakes makes us doubt ourselves and feel it is just too hard when we face constant setbacks or are picking ourselves off the ground every day. The first time an investor told us that she didn’t like our business model, it felt like she was calling our baby ugly.
The struggle of being the entrepreneur that we all face causes us to become “under the influence” of these Four P’s. As a result, we develop perspectives that stifle the advancement of our business. While it is natural to develop these perspectives, they blind us, obscure solutions and undermine our success.
Entrepreneurs not only develop these perspectives, but also fail to recognize when they are exhibiting them and take corrective action. Just try this—tell an entrepreneur to prioritize, to take a day off or to sleep more. Try telling an entrepreneur that they can’t do everything. Try telling an entrepreneur that they should listen to the seasoned executive that has never known what it’s like to miss payroll. You’ll definitely get a dirty look, or if you’re standing too close, something worse.
In the thick of things, we become blind to the perspectives we hold, and to their negative effect on everything from our business decisions, to our relationships with employees, vendors and family. Understanding that you are “under the influence” and changing your perspective knowing that it is the key to success.
Let’s look at an example of what it means to be under the influence of the 4 P’s and the perspectives you need. When you come to work, you have 100 hours of work and ten hours of time. You have a set of things you want to get done that day. But instead of working on the 10 things you have set out for that day, you begin to think about the 90 other things you are not getting done. The result: You don’t get the ten things done you had planned that day, and the ninety aren’t closer to being fixed. The next day is worse because you still have the list of 100 things to do.
So when you are “under the influence” how do you change your perspective? Here’s how: when you pick the priorities for the day, stick to them, and get them done. That way, each day builds on itself.
You’ve got to learn how to change the damaging perspectives that are caused by the Four P’s to ones that will empower you to thrive.