You see Elon Musk, Steve Jobs, Sir Richard Branson, or Michael Rubin and might think ‘Hey, being innovative and entrepreneurial is great! You can change the world and make tons of money!’
Being innovative and technical — great! You work in a lab, innovative company, focus on one issue and it all makes sense. Problems start when you’re innovative but have soft skills.
For each one of the famous innovators, there are millions of innovative-type people who… are regular and struggle to stay within the lines.
I am one of them, probably that’s why I’m even writing this. Not to complain but to show the other side of having this kind of personality.
Because that what being innovative means to me — having a specific type of personality. Always questioning how to do something better, being optimistic about your ideas, trying to create a change, willing to take risks, knowing how to connect business aspects and people, seeing trends and how to use them. Within the Briggs-Myers types, I come out as INTP, with slight proximity to ENTP.
So what do you do when you have this type of personality?
I first tried to blend in. To find a space for me within the systemic order. Go to college, get a job, but somehow this is not enough. The college is limited and puts students into narrow brackets, the job when you’re getting too invested is annoying to your managers or you’re getting easily burned out because your efforts don’t bring results.
Then I tried to start something of my own. I worked on an idea of a B2B business that was very closely related to my experiences and interests, I validated it and even found a company I could do a pilot in and… lost interest.
One of the things about being entrepreneurial and innovative is that you have a great amount of enthusiasm, but it dies quickly.
To give myself a real chance with this I invited a friend to continue the project with me. Then we included 1 more person. With this 3 people team we worked a little more on the project and it… died. Everyone went in their own direction. Not much has happened, they just had other things in our heads and didn’t focus as much and I didn’t have the motivation to do it by myself.
I took another chance and found another job. I made a difference in that small company but left after a half year, because of ethical reasons.
So again the dilemma… do I start something of my own or do I try getting another job?
I got another job. This time I lasted a year.
In the meantime, I co-founded an NGO. With my then best friend. We wanted to promote communal living and the ecology of sharing resources. It started great, we got many inquiries, became a part of a global co-liv network, there were many perspectives to grow, but… the friend dropped out. I will not continue this project myself as it was our “baby” and our friendship ended in the meantime.
So now again… a job or starting something of my own?
Investor contacted me, I worked on another community project idea, crafted a Business Model, by myself again… lost enthusiasm. Engaged another person. This person literally disappeared after 2 months.
So now again… a job or starting something of my own? You might think I could continue one of the projects I have already started, but my brain doesn’t seem to work that way.
I joined a startup incubator. Found a co-founder, but again — the different directions we want to go in made it impossible for us to cooperate on the same project. Do I break and do something I don’t really believe in or do I stand by my idea by myself? I chose the latter. I keep looking for another co-founder.
I had to find a job, as I’m running out of savings.
And the circle starts again…
I guess I am a bit bitter about it because, on one hand, I don’t seem to fit in in this ‘regular’ world, and on the other hand every time I try to do something I fail.
I will keep trying and trying and trying and doing and doing and doing and doing (yeah, I know coaching ;)) because that’s who I am, that’s what I do, but sometimes it just feels helpless. So if you’re in a similar position — you’re not alone.