I can’t possibly disguise the truth of this - Sally A Illingworth

I can’t possibly disguise the truth of this - Sally A Illingworth

We live in a world where the life of an entrepreneur is glamorised by user-generated content and click-bait headlines that tell a short sighted and often biased-agenda driven story in any case. You’d expect that we can easily separate dramatized story telling from the truth, but it proves to be more difficult than we may think – and the most nerve racking part, is that it is a weakness of our subconscious. And as you may know, our subconscious is extremely powerful and also extremely difficult to manipulate deliberately.

Having become a business owner by the age of 18, and already working in relatively senior management positions prior to that, I was always confronted with disjointed perceptions about what my life supposedly looked and felt like. As you can imagine, many 18 year olds fantasize about the idea of not having to show up to someone else’s office by 9am or having to submit the same mundane report every Wednesday whilst drinking the below average common kitchen area coffee.

Often I would be on the receiving end of “Wow, you are so lucky!” and “yeah but you’re living the dream”. One of the best ones was always “You get to do whatever you want!”.

Of course, I was pleased to be pursuing the career I had opted to but for some reason it didn’t feel like the full-time holiday my peers described it to be. In a strange way, I’d sometimes feel a sense of pressure that maybe my lifestyle should’ve looked and felt more glamorous than it did but simultaneously I’d think to myself “I can’t possibly disguise the truth of this”.

So in many cases when on the receiving end of such remarks, I’d respond with a soft nervous giggle and change the topic of conversation – funnily enough by usually asking the other person what their long term career plans are and how they’re going to create a life they’re proud of.

As social media has become increasingly prevalent in my life, and likely yours too, I’ve become more aware of the whimsical perception many entrepreneurs build online to, with good ego driven intention, convince aspiring entrepreneurs or merely a community of followers that working your rear off to build a business is quite comfortable and often comes with some shiny expensive cars and lots of time on a tropical beach. In many cases I’ve been convinced I signed up for the wrong version of entrepreneurship because mine didn’t come with all the good stuff!

It seems as though these social media driven perception trends create an interesting paradox whereby entrepreneurship is heavily incentivised as a career pursuit but simultaneously disappoints those who give it a crack for 5 minutes quicker than it should. We live in an age where ‘Entrepreneurship’ is a commonplace thing you can study (that text book is surely worth trillions!) yet one of the vital ingredients to entrepreneurship is not seeming to ‘stick’ with both formal and informal students.

And that is the ingredient of courage. The courage to continue is what really makes the difference between those who gave it a crack and stop VS those who actually lead the realisation of impactful and profitable ventures by overcoming multiple hurdles.

Not too long ago I heard a statement to the effect of “Courage doesn’t always roar. Sometimes, it is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying I will try again tomorrow”.

This really stuck with me. I’ve been there, as a female entrepreneur. And I know many great and smart people who have too. I’m confident that any accomplished and successful entrepreneur you speak to would say they’ve been there, at least once. Where they’ve laid in bed at night and thought “It is okay, I’ll get up tomorrow and sort it all out”.

So if you’ve tried something and it didn’t work, don’t be discouraged. Become informed. Learn from the experience. Take what you can from it. Use it as best you can. And take a greater stride onto the next thing – whatever it is. An advisor of mine recently said to me “You might have to try 9 things before you know what works”.

It is true. The power and potential of courage holds true in every area of our lives. Any set back or failure or ‘not quite’ happens for you, to show you ways that don’t work. They don’t define you. And when you truly begin to believe this, and you are determined and willing to do whatever your aspirations desire – you’ll be amazed at what starts to appear possible.

Surround yourself with people, tools and resources that fuel your courage to continue.

Related Tag: Female Entrepreneurs Australia


Sally A Illingworth