I’ve been called a lot of things – some good, some bad – but there is one word that never sits well with me.
It’s the B word.
I have been called this particular B word so many times I have lost count. The fact is, I don’t think this word is fitting in the context of business. The B word I am referring to is…
“You’re so brave for starting your own business,” they say. I understand this is meant with good intent, but I can’t imagine saying it to someone who holds down a 9-5 for an employer. The act of working, for yourself, or for someone else, does not seem particularly brave to me. In fact, I’ve always felt working for someone else was riskier.
I recently discussed the B word with a fellow entrepreneur. We agreed the decision to start our businesses did not include a lot of bravery. We did market research, and risk analysis. We had a solid business plan. We utilized our instincts, experience, skill, and education. We are hardworking, diligent, adaptive, and resilient. Neither of us feel there is a particular element of valour. As with most entrepreneurs, we don’t do what we do for the accolades. We do it because it is what we are made of. It is how we are wired.
As I was pondering this subject I read a quote by TV hitmaker Shonda Rhimes. “I am not lucky,” she said. “I am smart. I am talented. I take advantage of opportunities that come my way and I work really, really hard. Don’t call me lucky. Call me a badass.”
I think Shonda feels the same way about being called lucky as I feel about being called brave. It simply diminishes all the hard work, difficult decisions, and perseverance required to succeed.
So, here’s to all the business people out there… you know who you are. You’re the trailblazers who make your own dreams a reality. You put your heart and soul into everything you do. You work day and night, burning the candle until it is a pool of wax at your feet.
You are skilled, experienced, talented, exceptional, and amazing.
(cue the applause)
B is for Business.
B for Badass.
But, in my opinion, B is not for Bravery.