Tuesday, October 8, 2013

The Matrix for Entrepreneurs

An Entrepreneur 

is someone who organizes some new process. Could be a business, could be a nonprofit. An entrepreneur is a special breed of person; driven to create that new process to do some cool thing. 

However, entrepreneurs can become frozen in their tracks; unsure about what to do next. It's easy to forget that by being an entrepreneur you are inventing a new process, a new set of behaviors. In other words, an entrepreneur does not know exactly what to do next. "What to do next" is a work in progress; it's a process.

That means being an entrepreneur is often about getting unstuck and back in the process, and that's got Matrix written all over it.

For those unfamiliar, the Matrix is a simple diagram that looks like this:

You can draw one for yourself on a piece of paper or dry erase board. In the lower right you write people and things that are important to you. For example, spouse, friend...being entrepreneurial. These are known as Valued Directions because you don't reach them, you move toward them every day.

In the lower left goes the stuff that can show up inside of you and potentially get in the way of moving toward who and what's important. Fear is the big one, but anger, self-doubt, thoughts like, "This will never work!" and more show up in the lower left.

In the upper part of the diagram you write behaviors that other people can see you doing like walking, talking, etc. Behaviors are up with the 5 senses because other people use their senses to notice what you are doing, plus you need your five senses to move around.

In the upper left you write behaviors that you do to move away from the unwanted stuff in the lower left. For example, you might run to move away from fear. You might pace to get away from self-doubt. You might say, "Yes I can" to move away from thoughts like, "This will never work." Notice it's the intent of the behavior that important. You you take deep breaths to lessen anxiety, then those breaths are an away move. There is nothing inherently wrong with away moves. Moving out of the way of an oncoming bus to reduce fear is a very good thing. The problem is that people can get stuck in a pattern of away moves, which is not so good for entrepreneurs.

Finally, in the upper right of the diagram you write the behaviors that you do to move toward who and what's important to you. Since we are talking about being an entrepreneur, this is where you put entrepreneurial behaviors. Of course, some of those behaviors need to be discovered. The trick is to try lots of new behaviors, keep the ones that work and discard the ones that don't work.   

So while the entrepreneur is looking for what to do next, the mind gets to work. Self-doubt shows up, worry often shows up, "I'll never know what to do..." and other unwanted mental activity show up. Fighting that "unwanted" stuff can blow tons of time and energy. The best idea is to just know that those unwanted thoughts and feelings are going to show up. Notice them showing up and choose to move away from them or choose to do a toward move with them.

Recall that Away behaviors are attempts to get rid of that unwanted stuff. "Working on other things" is popular. Sitting and thinking is also a popular away move. If you have a bit of entrepreneur in you, you probably know your favorite away moves. Again, after you notice the unwanted stuff showing up inside of you, you can choose an Away move, or a Toward move.

So what are your Toward being an Entrepreneur moves? Some of them you know and others will need to be created. But let's not get ahead of ourselves. There are behaviors that we can do to set the context of success. It helps to connect the behaviors to our values--people and ideas beyond just being an entrepreneur. Is your entrepreneurial 'thing' connected to who's important to you? Is it part of what you value like education or global citizenship? Do you value your health? Connecting Entrepreneur with who and what's important to you makes it much easier.

So what's a simple behavior for an entrepreneur to start with? Exercise is a great one. This is a no brainer. Entrepreneurs need to be creative. The odds of being creative are increased with an oxygenated brain. Another big one is meditation. Meditation is intense noticing of 5-senses and mental activity, and intense noticing can help you learn what entrepreneurial behaviors are working and which ones to stop doing.

Note: Be careful, meditation can get framed up as an Away move from unwanted mental experiencing. For example, lots of people say they meditate to get rid of tension. That's an away move. While that can work for you in the short term, it's not a long-term fix for tension. For the most part you want to frame meditation as Toward move.

Eating well and getting plenty of sleep finish off the basic entrepreneurial behaviors list. These are all behaviors that set up the best internal context for entrepreneurial behaviors to get started. Can you think of more behaviors that you could do everyday day to move you toward who's important you and enhancing your entrepreneurial spirit? Quick, write them down in the upper right of your entrepreneurial matrix.

The other night I did a webinar called "The Matrix for Entrepreneurs." It's about an hour of three of us working through each of the four quadrants. Click below to purchase.

Be well,


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