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When I contemplated starting a business, I got lots of horrible
advice. I still refer to one advisor as "the coach from hell."
As I attended classes and talked to various advisors, I kept hearing
ten myths that were often presented as core wisdom.
1. Career freedom means starting a
Marilyn began her own business when her company outsourced its human resource function. Her boss helped her set up the business and became her first client. She earned a good living but, when business slowed, sought a corporate job. She has no regrets: she likes getting the matching income from the 401(k) plan, the broad health benefits, and freedom from worrying about her next client.
2. "Don't worry, be happy." Some advisors believe their mission is to encourage you and build your confidence, even if they secretly think you are pursuing a hare-brained idea. I asked one advisor, "Do you level with people if you think they'll never make it as a coach?" He said, "No. I let them discover the truth for themselves. After all, I might be wrong."
I disagree. There is considerable evidence for the self-fulfilling prophecy effect: if your advisor does not believe in you, you might fare badly. If your advisor believes in you, you have a better chance. I also believe that, if you're going into business, you need to face facts. Your advisor should be able and willing to comment on your chances for success or refer you to an expert in the field you want to enter. You may want to get second and third opinions, but each opinion should be honest.
Find at least three advisors who will help you assess your skills and temperament against the requirements of your career. If there is no consensus, dig deeper.
3. "Visualize success."
Some advisors will encourage you to be positive, pursue visualization
and/or follow the law of attraction: Think about what you want
to bring into your life, they say, and it will appear.
4. "If you can dream it, you can do it." In her wonderful book, Finding your own north star, Martha Beck debunks this myth with a simple example: She once dreamed she found herself in a bathtub with ex-President Clinton and an owl. Other people dream of meeting the Queen of England or connecting with people who lived ten centuries ago. You may have a very clear, detailed picture of what you want, but still fail to reach your goal. Those who advised you to dream will no doubt say, "Well, it wasn't meant for you." True, but useless.
The reverse is often true: "You must be able to imagine yourself successful in order to reach your goals." Still, I know people who were catapulted to success far beyond their dreams; they missed the ride but managed to enjoy their arrival.
5. "If other people can have a successful business, you can too." Not so! You may be smarter, more creative and more energetic than your friend James, but James may have that special spark that makes him a successful entrepreneur. James may have a truly supportive friend or family, a trust fund that gives him ten years to get the business going, or a charismatic personality that draws people to him. I once had a colleague who would get unsolicited offers of consulting jobs whenever he gave a talk to a group or even a college class. He had a unique combination of expertise, confidence and charm. Most of us do not.
6. "You will probably fail." Some advisors will say outright, "Most people who follow the path you're on are doomed to fail." You have to decide if they're using a scare tactic to motivate you or if they're being honest.
There is a story, possibly legendary, about a surgeon who encounters a famous musician. "Maestro," he says, "I played for you at a master class. You advised me to stop playing professionally. You said I would never be great. I want to thank you. I listened to your advice and became a doctor."
The maetro peers at the surgeon: "I do not remember you. I tell all my students that. The great ones ignore my advice and continue anyway."
7. If you feel energized about your
goal, you will be successful. Nonsense! I once knew
a guy I will call Richard. He had a vision of himself as an entrepreneur
and consultant. Over the years his expertise changed: he purchased
a scale to measure job stress, he kept books for a few companies,
he wrote marketing plans. He wasn't very good at any of these
activities. Nobody was interested the job stress scale, the CPAs
had to save the books from his creative accounting, and his marketing
plans read like an undergraduate term project.
8. You can always go back to what
you were doing before.
9. You have had a successful career
so far and you'll figure out how to be successful now.
10. You need to have more confidence
|This article was submitted by - Cathy Goodwin, PhD||Please Rate/Review this Article - Recommend it to friends|
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