Many of us want to start our own business. But there are many mental roadblocks in the way, at times handicapping our potential success stories. So, this week, our team studied three preliminary things to consider before diving into your business, based on the success of an unlikely source…
WILL FERRELL DID WHAT?
Will Ferrell, one of Hollywood’s household funnymen and a personal favorite of mine, graduated from the University of Southern California in 1990, with a degree in… Sports Information (a field that was discontinued eight years after his graduation). He had hopes of becoming a Sportscaster, like his favorite ESPN personalities.
Contrary to what you might think, Ferrell did not land a full-time job with a major sports network upon graduation. In fact, he lived at home with his mother for two and a half years, searching for work and ultimately realizing his passion for comedy. As he reflected upon his life in a commencement speech he delivered at his alma mater in 2017, Ferrell gave an interesting piece of advice.
“For those of you graduates sitting out there, who have a pretty good idea of what you’d like to with your life, congratulations. But for many of you who maybe don’t have it all figured out, it’s okay. That’s the same chair that I sat in. Enjoy the process of your search without succumbing to the pressure of the result.”
You can listen to “Dr. Ferrell” speak more about his success story here.
Trust your gut… Keep throwing darts… And you will figure it out.
Ferrell’s last piece of advice in his reflective speech. It harkens not only to the college students he speaks to but applies to prospective business owners as well. Finding a job isn’t easy, nor is understanding your passion or pursuing a business idea. Our team is still figuring it out for ourselves. Here’s what you can control now though, according to the mastermind behind Elf, Step Brothers, and more:
1.) Expose yourself to different experiences
2.) Ignore the opinions of others
3.) Accept failure as a possibility
EXPOSE YOURSELF TO DIFFERENT EXPERIENCES
Ferrell attributes his success to his willingness to try different things. Upon graduating, he took multiple acting classes, tried his hand at stand-up comedy, and even joined an improv group, all to understand what worked for him. This goes back to his metaphor of throwing darts at a dartboard and giving yourself a chance to learn different things.
IGNORE THE OPINIONS OF OTHERS
Starting your own business is a daunting task. One of the biggest roadblocks many of us face is the likely criticism that comes with going against the grain of society. Ferrell references a time a critic called him “the worst and most unfunny newcomer to Saturday Night Live” in response to his comedic debut. Surprisingly, Ferrell printed out this message and pasted it to his wall, citing the importance of understanding just how many people would not like his work and why that is okay. This translates to business, as well. Some people will not like your idea, some people will not use your service or product, but some people will. Taking the good with the bad is part of the journey.
ACCEPT FAILURE AS A POSSIBILITY
While living at home after graduating, Ferrell went out to lunch with his father. Seeing his son’s anxiety about pursuing comedy as a living, his father gave him some strange advice (which Ferrell now calls, the anti-pep talk pep talk). He told him to accept failure as a possibility, a tip that Ferrell lives by today. If you are able to accept the possibility of failure, you allow your passion to flow through your work.
“This is probably not going to happen. So I might as well have a blast with it. And because I gave myself that break internally, it, unbeknownst to me, opened doors.”
Overall, the megastar delivered some unlikely advice we can take with us in our respective entrepreneurship journeys. See Ferrell’s full interview on his anti-pep talk pep talk here.
Expose yourself to different experiences, tune out the opinions of others, and accept failure as a possibility as preliminary steps to starting your business venture.