I have been doing a great deal of self evaluation over the last few months.  I have a mid-life crises about every 2 years or so.  I have realized that my latest crisis is pretty big.  I am having a professional crises. I had a personal Armageddon right after I began dating my wife.  I had to come to terms about who I was as a man- personally.  I fought a war for months, internally.  I finally came to the conclusion I wanted to settle down and get started with building a family.   I shortly there after came to terms with who I was as a professional.

Are you propping up your firm?

The idea at the time was that I was a technical person who wanted to run an IT department one day.  I came from a father who built his own businesses.  It was all I ever knew.  I tried my hand at running my own business at age 22.  This was more of the E-Myth problem.  I was working IN my business and not ON it.  I liked setting my own schedule and coming up with my own ideas.  The problem was that my visions were too big.  I did not have enough capital or resources to execute what I wanted.  I had no idea how to think small and build from nothing.  Had I been given enough operating capital to set my cash flow and build a foundation for my vision-  I may never have been anything but a business owner.   I digress….

The point is that there are thousands of people like me in the world of business.  People who are creative and have ideas and have always known the road of building a company as a business owner.  Yet- these people  have chosen to remain within a company.  This process is known as Intrepreneurship.  Intrepeneurs are focused on building a company from the inside just like they would create their own business.  Scott Allen says Intrepreneurs “will buck the corporate malaise, risk his or her career to get things done and, is willing to “do the right thing to serve the customer”.  The scary thing as that many people with a drive to be an Intrepreneur may never speak up out of fear of corporate culture or may get beat down as a crazy person within a firm.  I have been lucky in that this has not happened to me.

If I am going to go as afar as to say I am an Intrepreneur- I wonder if I am a stereotypical one??  In a recent personality test, I scored abnormally off the charts in regard to creativity and artistic expression.  I have an above average intelligence and a strong desire for personal growth and success.  My ethical position is very core to how I work and I am focused on protecting my work above myself.  So-  If this is a typical Intrepreneur-  is there one in your firm?  Are you an Intrepreneur?

I would recommend that if you believe you know an Intrepreneur or are one yourself-  that you try the following:

  • Ask for or provide opportunity for that person to do something creative
  • Criticize the work of that person fairly and do not drive towards the person themselves with criticism
  • Follow up, but do not take control of the project at the end. Be involved, but only to provide focus
  • Set very lofty goals-  Intrepeneurs think BIG
  • Help keep them grounded in reality-  Budgets and timelines keep focus on the goal
  • Allow them to lead others-  they are best when getting buy in from others
  • Praise is critical- give them lots of it

I am still not sure why I am not an entrepreneur, today.  I used to think being the President would be awesome, but I am beginning to think that Chief of Staff would be more fun.  There is always a need for a strong person running the show in the background.  Maybe you are that person or know someone who could be.  Remember to help them grow by following some of the steps outlined above.