Exploration and safety: It is the sensible balance of the two that makes us grow and feel fulfilled. It is a beautiful and natural sequence of risk and consolidation of learnings.
However, modern society has conditioned us to only follow the path of maximum safety, disregarding the value of healthy unpredictability. Foresight seems key in entrepreneurship. But let’s face it, anyone who has ever walked the path of starting their own business knows that there is no safety in this process. Exposure and vulnerability are on the menu every day. As they should be because anything great requires pain. Even birth itself.
Business requires exposure and risk. Business requires excitement in it. Entrepreneurs thrive on unpredictability. We are explorers by nature, even if we don’t admit it. We don’t do things so we are met with exactly what we expect. We do things so that other things can happen. We ask for surprise, even when we insure ourselves against it. We yearn for experiences. We are hungry for stories we can share and for the small wounds that are a testament to our courage.
Nobody actually wants a pre-scripted life, even if predictability soothes that scared little part of our brain. The key is to find a balance between these two things: embracing unpredictability and knowing your boundaries. It’s no fun to be hit with surprise when you are not open to it. Ownership of risk and change is what you need to have.
Risk needs to be taken consciously and with excitement. The exciting part is not to know exactly what’s going to happen next, but to have a response when it happens. This requires clarity and focus on your mission. Your reaction bandwidth, your flexibility to respond to change and surprise, is dictated by the knowledge of who you are and what you need to do. Compare it to a captain on his ship: No amount of experience can afford him with the exact knowledge of every single occurrence at sea. And yet, he takes the risk of exposing himself, his life and the ones he’s entrusted with because he knows deep in his heart what his mission is, and what needs to be done.
Why do we wish for our work to be without exposure? Why do we seek predictability where there is none? Why do we want certainty even though our hearts ache for a plot twist? Embrace unpredictability with open arms. If you don’t, it will roll over you anyway and drag you down. Redefine entrepreneurship as the willingness to face surprise and unpredictability with grace because your mission has prepared you for it.