Start a company. Do consulting. Work for a company. I’ve been going back and forth between these options – stuck in the thinking that these are the only options. As I try to step back and reorder my thinking, one memory keeps playing itself like a broken record.
I was talking on a panel about entrepreneurship at Stanford University. It was me and another guy (younger than me) who started a company. I explained that I thought passion was a large component of entrepreneurial success because it is what can carry you through what are sure to be the many rough spots in the experience.
My panel partner objected. He believed that the only thing an entrepreneur should worry about and/or needed was a profitable business model. He could have left his comments at that but instead he turned to me and said, “You know what your problem is Alicia?”
I pulled my upper body back steadying myself for the blow (childhood habits die hard) and unfortunately never even questioned whether I had a problem. I was sure I did.
“You care how you make money,” he sneered, emphasis on the “care.”
I didn’t know how to respond and thus, didn’t. But his words have cropped up for me ever so often. Especially when doubt and uncertainty clouds my vision, my possibilities as a person.
Is it wrong to care? Does caring automatically hinder my judgement or thus makes me ill-equipped to be an entrepreneur?
I don’t know that there is a right answer. Everyone has their own way of approaching a problem. His is maybe more analytical than mine, but it doesn’t make his right. Even when business can seem so black and white.
My way is how I approach my life. I care. I care deeply about the things I do, the people in my life and how I live my life. It’s not everybody’s cup of tea and many might cringe at my earnestness, but it’s who I am. So who cares? I do.