Its Down to You & Its Up to You

I am writing this on the morning of my 27th Anniversary, though I have known my wife, Roni, for 40 years – since she was 15 and I was 16. She used to say that living with me is like being on a Roller-coaster. And, let’s be honest, that’s what it’s truly like living with an entrepreneur: sometimes a slow uphill struggle, followed by sudden downs, exhilarating rolling up-turns, upside-down twists, rocketing straights and then breathtakingly-fast ups that momentarily precipitately stall before flying off in another direction.

It seems that being an entrepreneur offers excitement, yet instability, adventure but insecurity and certainly ups and downs. The fact is that life is about ups and downs – it is what living is about. Unexpected events happen. Opportunities appear. Plans go right. Plans go wrong. We do not have command over facets outside of our life. But that is not the point. The point is: That it is not a matter of up or down; it is how you handle it. It is not the cards you deal to yourself; it is how you deal with them.

First and foremost it is important to accept a challenging truth:
When you’re down, it is up to you to get up again…
and when you’re up, it is down to you to do the best to stay there.

It seems a foible of entrepreneurs to be their own best friend and their own worst enemy. Because when they are up, they take their eye off the ball and make mistakes that adversely influence their continued rise, and, before they know it, they are on a downward curve. Then when they are down, with their back to the wall, they are at their best, are able to turn things around and get up again.

Michael Jackson’s line: ‘I’m starting with the man in the mirror’ is appropriate whether the entrepreneur is up or down. The next line of: ‘I’m asking him to change his ways’ is more challenging, because the entrepreneur is unable to change his or her ways.

Sylvester Stallone’s Rocky line in Rocky Balboa of: ‘It is not about hard you can hit; it’s about hard you can take the hit,’ sums up the entrepreneurial life, because the ultimate success of a serious entrepreneur lies in the resilience to take the hits and the fortitude to get back up again.

It is not so much about recognizing opportunities or even taking advantage of them, which is the standard template of an entrepreneur; it is more the determination to keep going regardless of the outcome that distinguishes the true entrepreneur.

As Churchill said in 7 words it is to: ‘never, never, never, never, never give up.’

And herein lies the secret of the true entrepreneurial success: You get to know the Roller Coaster so well, that you begin to take command of the twists and turns, the rolls and dives and, importantly, the ups and downs. You understand that though the nature of entrepreneurship has its ups and downs, you get to see them coming in advance, and, like any good driver, you take avoiding action.

If, upon occasion, an unexpected event way beyond your control or influence, causes you to be stuck on either a spiraling down or an uphill drag, then you know that you will survive, that you will win through, because that is who you are, that is what you do, that is what makes you the entrepreneur you are.

Life is not about being fair or unfair: it is what you make of it. Everyone may like to visit the fairground and try their hand at shooting ducks for a cuddly toy; but true entrepreneurs will head purposefully for the roller-coaster – for it is where they feel alive: reaching the ups and roaring out of the downs.

Above all, while everyone around us is screaming with their eyes tight as we plummet to the lowest downs in a spiraling plunge, we entrepreneurs have ours wide open…

Relishing the anticipation of very soon reaching the very highest heights.

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