What! Do I really need to stop and reflect? How do I stop when I need to get two proposals in today and draft a scope of work for a new client? Train a new team member who is with us this semester from Cornell University? Increase the pipeline… again… and take our Chief Happiness Officer (Naomi, a 10-pound vanilla colored Havanese who comes to the office frequently) for a walk?
But I intrinsically know this is exactly the time to hit the pause button. The time to feel and evaluate the highs and lows of entrepreneurship. A time to reflect on the lessons learned this second year, as my learning just might help someone else on their journey. So grab a coffee, let’s get on the road!
Two years ago I launched my dream training and development company Twomentor LLCwith three goals in mind:
1. Drive millennial retention through helping companies and organizations build mentoring cultures. We subscribe to a mentor your millennials or they will likely leave philosophy. We also believe that people who mentor in your company are the people who drive retention in your company. Recognize them.
2. Elevate women in Science, Tech, Engineering, Math and drive diversity in companies by helping leaders sponsor more strategically. A mentor speaks with you and a sponsor speaks on your behalf and champions you behind closed doors. We believe that if you want diversity, you need to mentor and sponsor diversely. Companies have good intentions, but often need an initiative boost or a refresher to strengthen their programming. If you truly want to build a living legacy as a leader, you need to understand this and be very deliberate in execution.
3. Build a scalable, high-touch and innovative company to engage great leaders to be entrepreneurial with us. Cash is king, culture is queen.
A Few Key Lessons Learned this Year:
JUST KEEP DRIVING: If I thought entrepreneurship was a sprint, I was wrong—it is a long distance drive! Mario Andretti said, “If I seem like I am in control, I am probably going to slow.” At times we need to speed up and take greater risks, slow down when the road gets very windy, and enjoy the variety of vistas along the way, even when they are less dramatic and compelling than others. When the tank (or your bank account) gets low and there are no gas stations in sight, just keep going and the chance to refuel and recharge will come but not always on your timetable.
You can plan the drive, take detours when needed, even make U-turns without shame, but keep driving with determination, a new understanding that is gained along the route if you continue to believe in your vision and your team.
LOVE YOUR CLIENTS… THEY FUEL YOUR ENTIRE COMPANY: I have come to see that all Twomentor’s clients are truly investors in the company. As I self-financed and did not have a bi-weekly paycheck anymore, I realize each new client drives our social impact company to greater sustainability. We learn we grow, we innovate and build together. As our business grows and our clients achieve their goals, we all become part of this greater movement that drives diversity and inclusion.