I used to think “One day, I’d like to be an entrepreneur” and now that I acknowledge myself as one, it looks nothing like I imagined it to.

One thing I’ve learnt is that the common thread between delusion and perseverance is conviction in a belief; the difference, is that delusion is a refusal to accept and/or adjust to reality and perseverance is a refusal to quit believing. I am certain now that there comes a time in every entrepreneurs life where they question which side of the fence they’re sitting on.

These days, it’s even easier to question your sanity when anyone with an instagram or linkedin account can include “entrepreneur” in their bio and so many of these so called entrepreneurs are posting flashy photos of sports cars, fancy clothes and expensive holidays.  

Just know – Entrepreneurship requires strength but even the strong get tired. More specifically, it requires mental strength and since it can be especially hard to be rational about how far we’ve come when we’re tired, we need some criteria to help us assess progress and reassure us that we’re on the right path. So how do we do this?

Here’s 5 things I do:

  • Analysis by comparison

I hate the idea of comparing myself to anyone else but I certainly do not mean scrolling through instagram accounts for hours! I mean, checking what others in your field are doing, assessing whether you’re in the same ballpark then finding ways to bridge the gap.

For example as a consultant, I would try to find out; How many hours other freelance consultants had to put in before reaching their desired income? What rates my peers might charge? Or how do other consultants position themselves in-front of clients? To see if there are things I can do to improve.

  • Look for positive feedback (Signs of incremental progress)

Positive feedback isn’t always direct or verbal but you have to know which ques you’re looking out for. If you’ve been at it for months (or years) with no growth in clients, revenue or following, it’s a good time to start questioning whether somethings wrong.

  • Time for a reality check! (How long you’ve been trying?)

It’s not wrong just because it doesn’t produce immediate results. Setting realistic time-frames for when you expect to see movement and being honest about when you’ve put in too little or too much time is one way to judge whether it’s working.  

  • Find confidence in experience. 

Sometimes, the doubt is simply fueled by imposter syndrome brought on by fatigue. Reminding yourself of past experiences where you’ve gotten the job done, should lend you the confidence to not only persevere but to navigate through uncertain times.

  • Killing your ego (Taking constructive criticism)

This last one can be especially difficult for anyone and equally important for entrepreneurs. With our ego in the way, it can be difficult to communicate effectively, which might sound bad when talking to customers or employees but it’s worse when you can’t hear them telling you what’s wrong with the business. Ultimately, it’s up to you to decide whether you agree or not but bare in mind if you’re never agreeing (or only when it suits you) then you’re probably not making any changes that will allow you to grow.  

It is my belief that a healthy dollop of delusion is an essential ingredient in sparking an entrepreneurial mind-set however what makes one successful is knowing that winners don’t quit or as Steve Jobs put it “…about half of what separates the successful entrepreneurs from the non-successful ones is pure perseverance.” The other half is in the decisions you make.