Deutsch: Viktor Frankl

I was reading a blog post by Seth Levin of Foundry Group on “Handling Rejection“, where Seth blogs about an interaction he had with a 54-year old startup founder, who reached out to Seth and the Foundry Group to see if they were interested in his idea. Seth replied that they have a clear strategy of investing in broad themes and the said founder’s business did not fall in that category, so they were not interested. Instead of thanking Seth for his response and continuing to build the relationship with him, this founder just ranted about how hard it was for a 54-year old Entrepreneur who is on the outside looking in and trying to break into the inside of the VC world, how he did not have a pedigree or from the right family and on and on and took his anger out on his response to Seth’s email. The Founder was blaming everything that was hard about being an Entrepreneur or a startup founder.

It got me thinking, I had written about “The Excuse Department is Closed” and also the material in the book 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Dr.Steven Covey where he talks about the Circle of Influence and the Circle of Concern. What do I mean by the Circle of Influence and the Circle of Concern? Well, it is quite simple actually, the Circle of Influence is the space that contains everything that you can do something about i.e you can take an action and the Circle of Concern is the space that contains all the external things that you cannot do anything about like the state of the economy or a financial collapse, response of people to your efforts etc. As an entrepreneur and/or a startup founder it is very easy to get sucked into thinking about everything that is beyond the scope of what you control thereby you can wallow in self pity how the whole world is out to get you. This is the wrong way to look at things. I see the above founder’s behaviour in may entrepreneurs and people I meet, they continually focus on all the things that are outside their Circle of Influence. If you want to win the battle of Entrepreneurship, you need to be laser focused on your Circle of Influence, for most people it is their own actions. If you have not worked on building that internal strength, Entrepreneurship is a very hard road.

I love the work of Dr.Viktor Frankl on Logotherapy and Existential Analysis, which was one of the big influencers of Dr.Steven Covey in his writings. Frankl’s approach is based on three philosophical and psychological concepts:

Remember between every stimulus that you receive and your response to it, there is a space, in that space lies your personal growth and your free will and your will to act, to meaning and your meaning of life. If you are an entrepreneur, you have to choose to carry your own weather, you have to handle rejection well because deep within you lies the internal security. The internal security of free will, the purpose of why you are doing what you are doing. If you have not worked on yourself to build that internal security, I strongly encourage you to build that first because without that internal strength it is very hard to fight the battle of entrepreneurship.