Rebellious Entrepreneur Video
Rebellious Entrepreneur Transcript
Close your eyes. Picture in your mind’s eye a rebel. There are lots of options of who you might imagine. Someone like James Dean on a motorcycle with a leather jacket. Someone fighting against a corrupt government in the Middle East or Les Miserables style in Paris. You might picture an artist so into her craft that she becomes a recluse and rarely eats or sees the light of day. You might picture a random teenager constantly texting and Snapping without wanting to interact with grownups or younger siblings. Since you’re here, you’re likely to be an entrepreneur so you might be picturing someone like Steve Jobs or Ashton Kutcher. Do you have that rebel in your head?
Whatever you chose to imagine as your rebel of choice, I can pretty much guarantee you won’t imagine 1 thing… open you eyes. Me. You probably weren’t imagining me.
I fully admit that from outward appearances I’m not a rebel. I dress very plainly. My hair is it’s natural color. I live a relatively standard life.
The same goes for Brandon. If you saw us walking down the street together, you wouldn’t expect us to be rebels to any extent. We appear to be ordinary, everyday people. And to a great extent we are.
In reality Brandon is and always has been much more of a rebel than me. Just ask him about jumping over canals and almost getting eaten by alligators in New Orleans when he should have been in school. He thinks I follow the rules too much. He’s also had multiple piercings and has twice the number of tattoos as me.
Yet Brandon and I are far from the most rebellious entrepreneurs.
Background on the Characteristics of Entrepreneurs Series
We’re in the midst of a series about the characteristics of entrepreneurs (check out the first post in the series here). I’m not going to give you the typical characteristics and this isn’t a listical-type post. I’m giving you the grit. The real story.
You see, probably my very favorite thing about my entrepreneurial journey is the personal development that I’ve experienced. I’ve grown so much as a person. I’m a way better person now than I was a decade ago before we started working to build our own business. This series is going to shed some light on the characteristics that have grown the most in me over the last 9 years but I’ve noticed them in other entrepreneurs who have stuck with it for at least 5 years.
So, if you’re an aspiring entrepreneur and these characteristics don’t describe you, that’s totally fine. Just be aware that these will be developed as they are demanded of you throughout your own entrepreneurial journey. Especially if you’re a mission-driven entrepreneur putting your heart and soul into your business, chances are you will see tons of personal growth and development as you build your business and accomplish your mission.
This rebellious characteristic is one that’s grown a lot in me. I’ve embraced rebellion much mores since deciding to become an entrepreneur. But it might not be the sort of rebellion you might think of initially. Like I said before, I’m a Plain Jane in so many ways.
So what makes me a rebel and how does that help me as an entrepreneur?
I’ve come to understand that rebellion ultimately boils down to one important thing:
taking a stand for what you believe in.
That means speaking up for yourself, advocating for your values, and even saying “no” because you’re making yourself a priority. When you’re a rebel, you know what you believe and why. Then, you stand up for your beliefs no matter what.
As social entrepreneurs, being rebellious has so much value because we have such an important mission that we believe in and stand up for day after day after day. This mission becomes our personal driving force and the driving force for our business. When we’re rebels, we don’t let anything come in the way of accomplishing our mission.
Taking a stand for what you believe in provides so much value in your businesses because it brings greater authenticity to everything you do – including your sales and marketing. Yes, being a rebel will repel some people who disagree with you. That’s okay – you probably don’t want to work with them anyway. Most importantly, you’ll attract people who will stand alongside you. More on that soon in my 3rd practical tactic today.
Becoming a Rebellious Entrepreneur
Here are 3 practical tactics for how to become a more rebellious entrepreneur in ways that serve your business, its mission, your relationships and yourself.
Get super clear on what hill you’re willing to die on.
If you try to stand for everything, you won’t stand for anything. Decide what fights you’re willing to fight to the bitter end. Think of the rebel who’s fighting against an unjust government. Watch or read Les Miserables for some inspiration on what this can look like.
For me, shared respect and dignity is a big one. I’ll go out of my way to confront disrespect and discrimination when I see it happen in front of me. Two really small examples:
(1) One time an employee made a joke about slapping around his girlfriend when he got home. I told him right away that I didn’t appreciate even joking about that sort of thing. I never heard him make that kind of joke again.
(2) Another time, a key partner and ally treated me with disrespect because she’s 25 years older than me. I let my emotions cool down and requested to chat soon. I shared with her that I felt like she was being agist. We were able to work through it and I’ve never sensed that disrespect with me or with other younger people with whom I see her interact on a regular basis.
On both of those occasions I was willing to risk the relationship and a whole lot more in order to stand up for what I believe in.
What about you? What are you willing to stand up for even if it puts everything else at risk? You don’t want to point out everything everyone does that could potentially be controversial. Often, that makes you a jerk. What do you believe in so much you’re willing to die for? How can you stand up for that no matter what? How can you make that stance clear within your business?
Develop “spoonful of sugar” tactics for confrontation.
Mary Poppins is one of my favorite movies. She is actually a great example of an unexpected rebel. She’s kind but confrontational when needed. She doesn’t conform to anyone’s expectations. Her tactic is that she uses a spoon full of sugar not just when giving cough syrup to the kiddos but also when confronting the errors of the adults’ ways.
Just like Mary Poppins, we don’t have to be sour or distasteful when we speak up for ourselves and our values. One of my favorite ways of adding sugar to confrontation is to find the good in the situation or in the person and affirm that first before bringing up the confrontational item. If someone is disrespectful by always interrupting, it’s helpful when I say, “I look forward to hearing what you have to say but I’d like to finish my thought first . In fact, I feel disrespected when you interrupt me…”
Additionally, the spoonful of sugar becomes a powerful tool when trying to say “no”. First expressing gratitude and saying, “Thanks for the opportunity…” before saying, “but I have to decline” makes saying no a lot easier to swallow – both for you and for the person to whom you are declining.
Build your tribe.
As a rebellious entrepreneur not everyone is going to agree with you all the time. Some people will love you and some people will hate you. The more rebellious you are the less people in the middle that neither hate nor love you. Get comfortable with having haters. Focus on building community with the lovers. As a group, you share common beliefs and values. Getting to know one another better will allow you to amplify your collective voice. Rebels are stereotypically lone wolves but the best rebels become leaders within a community of people who change the world. In this case, think of Martin Luther King, Jr, Ghandi, Mother Theresa, and so many more rebels who defied social expectations (aka rebelled) and built a community of people. Then they stood for what they believed in together.
To join our tribe of rebellious entrepreneurs who believe we can make money and make an impact, click here.