Earlier this week, I attended my first MoMondays. Uncertain of what to expect I was pleasantly surprised when I found out an old acquaintance was one of the speakers. Annie Kashamura Zawadi rocked the stage, the audience and the entire Hard Rock Café.
She spoke about faith. Her unwavering faith in a better future got her out of a violent marriage and a violent country to Canada. It wasn’t easy and it wasn’t pleasant. She came to Toronto speaking French only, with a $20 bill and without her five children.
Within months she was not only volunteering to help other women fleeing abuse, she started her own non-profit organization, Arising Women Place. She used creative tools for healing, advocacy and empowerment.
Annie is the embodiment of an empowered woman. She is an amazing poet, moving you to tears, and an entrepreneur from head to toe. Her quest to a safe space, fed by the resolute belief she could do much better got me thinking about the big role faith plays for new entrepreneurs.
New entrepreneurs must belief in what they do, and convince others to belief in them to either buy from them or invest (money, time, collaboration) in them. It is tough to have faith when your clientele provides you only a trickle of income that evaporates as soon as you receive it. Doubt may set in at some point and the plethora of advice you receive seem to drown you in the multitude of tasks that may not be connected strategically. Countless of entrepreneurs have lost weeks if not months of sleep when battling their fears and doubts.
It is at that time people forget about strategies and start undertaking, at times, random tasks. They try one thing, and when it doesn’t immediately turn into a result they change their mind and try something else the week after. Random behaviour confuses their clientele, hurting their business even more.
So how do entrepreneurs find faith to keep going after all that? Is it their attitude (“Who cares, I’m going for it!”) or their supportive environment – “How can I help you?” Is it something else?
Speaking for myself, celebrating all the small wins gives me faith in moving forward. They are victories after being at war with (mostly) myself! Support is keeping me grounded and moving forward as talented people advice me. Faith gave me the courage to take a hard look at myself. I used to have so many fears in my life, I felt paralyzed at times (take that very literal). Most of these fears have nothing to do with business, like suffering from vertigo, but my response has always been the same – I freeze up.
When in business, freezing up is not a viable option. (Is it ever?) I have been forced to heed my own advice and measure progress, ask for advice, and listen to what prospects and clients said. I regained my faith and was able to bring my business from one country to another and tweak it into its current incarnation.
How do you keep unwavering faith as an entrepreneur?
Image Credit: by José Manuel Ríos Valiente via Flickr.com.