Although he had a speech impediment and his face was disfigured, Humphrey Bogart wanted to be an actor in a profession of beautiful people and perfect diction. He tried for ten years before landing a major role. Now, I can’t imagine anyone else running Rick’s Café or pulling a boat with Katherine Hepburn. Without courage and determination, we wouldn’t have the light bulb, Walden or penicillin. I am humbled by the mature perseverance I see every day from business owners who solve problems and have the courage to open another day. Even when they fail, entrepreneurs should be proud that they tried.
All dreamers receive their fair share of criticism. When I worked for a literary agency, I sifted through thousands of pages from writers who dreamed of seeing their books published. I had the unhappy job of tactfully telling most of them that they had no chance of being published without a lot of work. That kind of rejection is hard to take for anyone. Trust me, I’ve been there, too. When you write, you put yourself on display for everyone to see. Whether it’s a biography or a romance novel, readers glimpse into your secret thought life (which is why I don’t think I can ever meet Stephen King). What writers need to keep in mind is that for each manuscript mailed in, there were a hundred books that never even made it to paper. It takes courage to submit something for criticism. I admired every person that sent in something. Some were courteous and hopeful, others were caustic and arrogant, but every manuscript was a line drawn in the sand, a challenge made for the whole world to possibly see.
Business owners are much the same to me. Entrepreneurs are the people who stop dreaming of what they want to do and make it happen. They face the same potential for rejection and failure. Writers who keep trying get better and if you’re in business for very long, you can’t help but learn. As an entrepreneur you become a seasoned warrior with many scars (especially if you’re in customer service). You become the target for someone’s bad day and every mistake you make will be held up to your face. You will try to maintain grace under fire, although anger will probably be the first response. You also choose what lines of morality you aren’t willing to cross and you learn how hard the mettle in your spirit is.
The power of one person is always underestimated. All it takes is one dreamer with passion, adaptability and resolve. To all the entrepreneurs and writers out there still putting their heart on the line, Bogart says it the best—“Here’s looking at you, kid.”