Monday, October 22, 2007

Entreprise creation: from wishful thinking to really doing it!

On the second day at the "Salon de la Micro-Entreprise" I particularly appreciated Laurent Edel's talk about the transition from idea to realisation. With some humour and a lot of sensitivity, Laurent pointed out the hard questions one has to honestly ask oneself, in order to make sure we are not fooling ourselves into believing that entreprise creation is the universal answer to our problems:

  • If I sorted out my current problem or un-satisfaction, would I still want to create my entreprise or become consultant?

  • When is looking forward to creating the most acute? Is it when difficulties are piling up and we feel like we when to just give up and do something else?

Then he asked a question which is sure to surprise a number of my American friends:

  • What can you do to make sure that your endeavour will be a failure?

Laurent explained that visualizing every instance of making mistakes helps make sure that they won't happen. This is obviously counter to all positivistic theories whereby you visualize success to put yourself in the right state of mind to succeed. My take to it is that this is a tool that needs to be used with extreme caution. I recognize the value of analysing risks, which helps come up with mitigating actions, but at the same time, seeing oneself in a winning position is a powerful way to prepare for success. It may be alright to envisage situations in which we fail, as it helps ask the right questions and prevents us from fooling ourselves, to the condition that ultimately we follow up with positive thoughts that put us in a winning mindset.

Some quick search on "positive visualization" showed a lot of hype about how visualization bring to reality everything you want. That's not true however: what works is a positive mindset and then a lot a sweat and persistence to make things happen.

Finally, I retained the idea the transition does not need to be brutal and disruptive. It can come one small step at a time. Asking ourselves: what small actions did I accomplish today that demonstrate that I am progressing toward my goal is helpful to get a positive feeling from our progress.

Laurent's presentation was very popular, to the point that a lot of people were denied access to the conference room for security reasons. The story does not say whether there were more dreamers in room than in the group of persons who could not attend his talk...