Two steps forward, one step back - by Charlotte Murray

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Motivation can be tough when you are starting your own business. It’s a scary thing and not risk free. Having left my corporate job and made a significant career transition that inspired our book, I have gained insights into the ‘new’ world of entrepreneurship that relate to how to channel your passion and motivation at work, no matter what your career situation is.

Especially as a new fledgling startup, you are faced with multitudes of questions, challenges, push-backs, set-backs. And yet, you keep going, learning and taking steps forward because you believe in what you are doing. Very often, it’s taking two steps forward, one step back.

There are a multitude of blogs and materials out there to support entrepreneurs in starting a business. There are models such as lean canvas, that use the premise that you need to test fast, learn fast and change fast to adapt your value proposition, define your customer pain point and ultimately create something of value that people actually want. Small experiments to test and find your way forward are way better than going down a path of assumptions just to find those assumptions were wrong. I could have used that approach in my corporate life too, and is equally relevant in coaching. Being the new kid on the block of startups, those materials have been extremely helpful to get oriented in ‘how things are done’. That being said, no matter what models you use or what materials and books you read, you need to have a passion for what you are doing to keep the motivation and focus.

I have had the fortune and opportunity to participate in one of Canada’s best accelerator programs for the last six weeks. An accelerator program, according to Wikipedia, is a fixed-term, cohort-based program[], that includementorshipand educational components and culminate in a publicpitchevent ordemo day; our demo day event is coming up next week! Through the accelerator network, I have had access to a multitude of materials, trainings, and amazing mentors, coaches and fellow entrepreneurs. This has fueled the motivational fire for the startup PACTA where I’m co-founder.

One of the amazing things being housed by the startup incubator office space, and participating in the accelerator program, is learning about the plethora of new ideas that teams are working on, all aimed at solving a problem, be it shopping for fashion directly through instagram, booking your cottage vacation, automating contract compliance or optimizing fundraising for charities. The range of interest and expertise, and the depth of curiosity to learn and grow in this small space is something unique to the startup community. It is new and refreshing. There are possibilities everywhere, and there is motivation everywhere.  

How might these insights from the startup world impact you?

- Passion is key for your motivation to keep you going in the ups and downs, including those days when things are seemingly going backwards

- Keep an open mindset as you never know from where or from whom you will find inspiration

- There are more possibilities out there than you can even imagine. The question is how to filter them, and decide when it’s time to make a choice and move on. 

- Stay true to your gut feeling. When you ask for advice you will always get it, and it’s up to you to filter it for what works for you and your business.

- Get out there and test your assumptions, even if it’s outside your comfort zone. That’s the way to channel your possibilities into something concrete, tangible and new. Two steps forward, one step back.