Entrepreneurs are Bipolar

happy and sad “What does being an entrepreneur mean to you?” asked the business class instructor.

“To me, it means being bipolar,” answered Kamael Sugrim, co-founder and president of the non-profit mPowering. (Her foundation aims to help the ultra poor through mobile technologies and applications.)

Incredulous, the instructor pressed her. “What do you mean?” Other students had said the usual things: tenacity, passion, ingenuity. But bipolar? What an odd answer.

“I mean one minute, I’m on top of the world. The next, I’m slumming it at the bottom,” she answered. “One minute, I’m schmoozing with funders who are writing me checks. The next, I’m freaking out about our expenses. One minute, I’m putting together a grand plan to help thousands of starving families around the world. The next, I’m wondering ‘what the hell am I doing thinking I can save all of these people?'”

Raise your hand if you’ve had similar thoughts.

Every entrepreneur I know has gone through periods of self-doubt. Adeo Ressi, founder & CEO of The Founder Institute and TheFunded.com calls this “the dark place.” “It is fucking hard,” he added in his usual colorful manner while he spoke at The Founder Conference 2010. “It is a very, very dark time. Every entrepreneur goes through it. You will too.”

There are occasionally eternally optimistic entrepreneurs, sure. But the majority will have times of great difficulty, coupled with times of great success. It’s the entrepreneur roller coaster. Mania and depression, rising with good news and dropping with bad.

And that’s what it means to be an entrepreneur.

Photo by: surlygirl

Author: Mike Lee

An idealistic realist, humanistic technologist & constant student.

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