My name is Hod Fleishman. I am an entrepreneur, innovator and creator. I have founded, launched and managed various technology-driven businesses throughout my career and worked with C-Suite executives and entrepreneurs to design and execute technology solutions. In this series of posts, I will share my experience and knowledge about the world of entrepreneurship.
In Part 1, we stopped with the three critical pillars that an entrepreneur must be able to clarify if they are seeking to create a fundamental change in a system. It can be a change within a business, social or personal system. These pillars are:
- You must be able to accurately describe who you are. Not your job title, age or marital status. Who are you on the inside? What are your unique superpowers? What drives you?
- It would be best to define what you want. What is it that you desire that will propel you through a long and arduous journey? A journey of change.
- Many different paths or platforms can take you from an unsatisfying present to a satisfying future. Which platform is right for you? If you know who you are and what you want, it’s time to identify and prioritize the best platform for you.
Tell me who you are
Let’s start with the first pillar. Think about a recent business meeting. Strangers sit around the table or share computer screen space, and the meeting organizer asks everyone to introduce themselves. The first person mentions that they are from India and they lead the local pricing team. The second one says she’s calling from Seattle early in the morning. She is a former Olympic athlete and a member of the strategy team. We hear similar descriptions from the rest of the participants.
These individuals simply shared not who they are but what they are. One is an executive. the other is an athlete. If they shared who they are, the descriptions would sound surprisingly different. It may differ from what you would expect in a business meeting. While “what they are” is about professional or functional roles, describing “who they are” is about personal identity and individual characteristics.
Describing who he is, our colleague from the Billing team might have said: “I’m an introvert. I excel in ambiguous situations, but highly structured environments stress me out. My instinct is to help people, even if it’s in person expenses.” In describing who they are, this person shared their personality type, work preferences, core values, and instincts.
When we are faced with the question “what’s next”, especially if we seek to create change in our lives, we must first understand Who We Are because, on this level, there are endless opportunities. We must not limit our thinking to Who We Are, as these descriptions limit the scope of our possibilities.
Show me your true face
ONE famous Zen Koan asks, “What did your face look like before your parents were born?” In other words, what is left if you take away everything that describes you. if you remove all descriptions of “What you are” (including your parents)? Who is your true self?
Imagine how you described yourself in your last business meeting. Please provide your name, work history, current role, age and where you are from. Let’s challenge ourselves and answer the Koan above: who are you if that wasn’t your name? If you didn’t have this professional background, who are you? If this wasn’t your age, who are you? If those weren’t your parents, who are you?
As you strip away all those things that describe What You Are, Who’s Left? At the core, Who are you? This core is your inner foundation and strength. regardless what you do, it will still be WHERE are you.
A famous mountaineer, one of those dedicated enthusiasts who climb the world’s highest peaks, was asked what it was like to be on Everest. His answer was: “Wherever you go, there you are.” Even at the top of Everest, it was still him, anxious about the next flight and homesick for being away from his wife. Regardless What it does, it still is WHERE it is he who travels with him to all the highest peaks.
If you ask two different people to do the same job, you will find that each one does it differently. One is more of the type of manager who focuses on people’s performance. The other is more visionary and leads. The What is the same, but the Who determines the unique Way each solves problems and ultimately who will succeed.
Take a few minutes, it’s important
It’s hard to strip away all the labels and badges we’ve carefully acquired from age zero to where we are now and ask ourselves who we are. Even when you think you have it, let me assure you there is more work to do. It takes honesty and integrity to look in the mirror and see who we are, not who we wish we were.
However, building this foundation is critical to any business journey. We need to align who we are with what we want and how we will achieve it.
As you can see, Who We Are is set and will not change. We have more freedom in what we want to achieve. But even there, sometimes it is a call that is stronger than us. We have the most freedom in the “way” (how) we choose to achieve these goals. And by aligning these three stars, we can increase our chances of success and, more importantly, our satisfaction through the process.
If we don’t, and I’m sure you’ve met people like that, you’ll be out of place. Your inner strengths will not align well with your goal and the environment in which you are trying to achieve your goals will work against you, not for you. The result is frustration, loss and dissatisfaction with what you are doing.
So find a quiet corner. Put your phone away and have a coffee, tea or beer. Spend time with yourself and ask yourself:WHERE it’s me;”
I hope you found this explanation helpful for your trip.
Next week, let’s discuss how to recognize “I want.” What you need to achieve will motivate and fuel you on a long journey of change.