Back in business school at Syracuse University’s Whitman School of Management, we had a young entrepreneur come in saying how he wanted to create a film company. He said he labored day in and day out for more than a year before he had any break in his business. He sacrificed time with his family, expending long hours, countless dollars and days without results before he achieved any kind of success. In a sense, he was talking about time management and I know from experience as well as from studying that it takes more than 10,000 hours to achieve mastery in any field. That’s an idea borrowed from author Malcolm Gladwell in his book Outliers. That’s 416 consecutive days of not sleeping and just chipping away at a craft. So this entrepreneur’s math was right but what gave me pause was that he sacrificed so much for the result.
Since starting my own business, I often reflect on that young man’s teachings from business school. I think about how he led by example.
I don’t think that his passion and tenacity is wrong, and at the same token, I don’t operate the way he does.
Rather, I have more of a long range vision of where I want to take my company and how long it will take.
I can tell you from experience that I don’t want to spend every waking hour on this goal. It’s not that I don’t believe in it—quiet the contrary—it’s that I will have two little step children who are coming into my life and they’ll only be 9 and 7 once. I want to be there for them when I can and I know that I’ll never get back the opportunity to play pretend scientist or claymation artist or entrepreneurs who sell pieces of paper to the community for $1 a sheet or $5 for six pieces once in a lifetime.
One might argue that this entrepreneur is a man and I am a woman and as such we have differing roles and responsibilities in the world. Maybe, maybe not. I offer a bit more insight without speculation. I once read an HBR excerpt that left a real impression on me and I often apply it in my decision making. Now it’s not without mistakes that I apply this, but it gives me a framework on how to operate. It gives me a pause when I’m making decisions. It reminds me to follow the 10,10, 10 rule and I ask myself when facing choices: How will this choice I am about to make impact me 10 minutes from now, 10 months from now and 10 years from now? Additionally I ask myself how do I devote time when it’s a limited resource to my family, friends and my business? What kind of culture do I want to create in my life and in my business? Am I doing this for the right reason and is my ego in check? And finally, I ask myself, at the end of my life what do I want people to say about me?
I can’t say that this entrepreneur had a right or wrong approach to how he did business. I can’t say my choices are right or wrong, either. I know at the end of the day if we can both lay our heads down on our respective pillows and get a sound night’s sleep and not by plagued by the nagging choices before us or the ones we made today, that hopefully we’ll each find our respective measure of successes. He and I may not measure success the same way. That’s okay.
What’s important to me us ultimately not the level of individual prominence I have achieved; but just about the impact I have had on individuals—from the kids to my customers and associates.
I don’t know if I am doing it right, but I do know it’s going to take me far longer than 416 days to create this and master entrepreneurship. Rather than breathing it day in and day out, I hope to slowly chip away at it as a way of life rather than a means to an end.
About the Author
Named Top 100 Leaders by 2012 Magazine, Jasmine Grimm has been nominated for Central Penn Business Journal’s “Top 40 Under 40,” and The Lancaster Chamber’s ATHENA Award.
Jasmine founded Ruby, Inc. a personal styling business that teaches women how to dress for their body types and became a two-time nominee for Inc. Magazine’s Top 30 Under 30 Top Young Entrepreneurs in America. She won the 2013 SCORE Business Development Award, won the Central Penn Business Journal’s Top 25 Women of Influence Award in 2013 and the 2013 Leadership Award from the MS Society.
She has been a popular guest lecturer at the Maastricht Institute of Entrepreneurship and has been featured in Under 30 CEO and Productive Magazine, was the cover story for Harrisburg Magazine and her writing has graced National Geographic Television and Film, Harvard University and more.
She’s a 5,3,8,3 on the Kolbe A Index and her strengths include input, relator, learner, responsibility and achievement.
For more information visit her Google + Page.