Make it Personal, But Don’t Take it Personally
There are a lot of things that motivate (bio)entrepreneurs. Some come from inside (intrinsic) and others come from outside (extrinsic). Most think that it’s a good idea to have passion for your cause, product, technology or objective. Others think that that “passion” can cloud your judgement, further obscure your blind spots, and lead you to be pig headed or obstinate in the face of truth.
Sometimes, though, it is a good idea to hide your ugly side, even though that’s what keeps you going.
Many entrepreneurs create products because of personal circumstances or that of a family member. They are driven by the desire to solve a problem that eats at them and they do not want others to have to deal with same thing. Its personal.
As recently reported, when Jeff Dachis suddenly and unexpectedly learned he had Type 1 diabetes at the age of 46 in September 2013, he was stunned. After all, he ran marathons, followed a healthy diet and never had an inkling of any medical troubles during previous annual physicals.
“I went to the doctor, got about six minutes with a nurse practitioner, an insulin pen, a prescription and a pat on the back, and I was out the door,” Mr. Dachis said. “I was terrified. I had no idea what this condition was about or how to address it.”
Feeling confused and scared, he decided to leverage his expertise in digital marketing, technology and big data analytics to create a company, One Drop, that helps diabetics understand and manage their disease.
The One Drop system combines sensors, an app, and a Bluetooth glucose meter to track and monitor a diabetic’s blood glucose levels, food, exercise and medication. It uses artificial intelligence to predict the person’s blood glucose level over the next 24 hours and even suggests ways the person can control fluctuations, such as walking or exercising to offset high sugar levels — or eating a candy bar to raise low glucose levels. Users can also text a diabetes coach with questions in real time.
Fundamentally, entrepreneurs are driven by emotions, not thinking. At its core, it is about feelers who happen to think . The range of emotions can be encyclopedic, or they can be reduced to a few categories.
Of course, describing an emotion and the triggers that evoke it and the entrepreneurial behaviors, be they constructive or desctructive, that result are the lore of capitalism.
On the other hand, they have to maintain an objective distance from the realities they confront. It is a common mistake to have blind spots when creating and running a business. They can’t take it personally.
One of the enduring factors in creating an agile and innovative business is purpose. Purpose answers the question: why do we do what we do? It gives a sense of determination to your ambition and direction. It gives a different flavour to your work then a vision, mission or strategy. To me a vision provides a point on the horizon, the guiding light for your ambition. A mission directs the task that will lead you to your vision. And a strategy is a process or road map to realize your vision.
Entrepreneurial psychopathology is a fickle beast. Controlling what drives you, accepting the truth and not letting it get the best of you is a key part of entrepreneurial emotional intelligence. Be sure you know the difference when you feel it.
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