I want to start by defining "entrepreneur" as it is defined in the dictionary, yah know that heavy, bound, 1000 page book dusty in your local library,
"a person who organizes and manages any enterprise, especially a business, usually with considerable initiative and risk."
Ok so I found that definition online, but I think it is an important place to start because this word is thrown around constantly these days. You cannot be an entrepreneur if you have never built something. You can aspire to be one, but the title comes with a certain mindset, skill set, and life experience that puts you into a different subset of the working population and not every business owner is an entrepreneur in my mind. I know entrepreneurship can be taught, but for me it was an innate skill set and way of thinking that shaped my entire life course. I didn't start calling myself an entrepreneur till more recently, after I built something, but I have always had an entrepreneurial spirit. With the territory comes long nights, extreme emotions, and straight up weirdoness to offset all that adulting.
I was so compelled to write this piece because so often entrepreneurs are misunderstood (which we are used to), but in the dating world it gets complex and downright heartbreaking at times. We seem to attract people with our high energy, passion, and drive, but once the novelty wears off the real work begins.
1. We understand commitment
This seems to be a huge area of misunderstanding. The fact is, I haven't met a successful entrepreneur who doesn't understand and cherish commitment. We by nature don't half ass anything and take commitment very seriously. That being said, it means many of us are unwilling to jump into serious romantic relationships without time to assess if it is a good fit. For me it takes 6 months, which may seem like an eternity but is just right for me. At that point I know which direction to go in with ALL my relationships. Six is just the magic number for me. Also, we may need to get up and move to Africa tomorrow. If my life needs to take me somewhere I'll go. This is tough on relationships, but it is just a fact of my life. That being said I don't consider myself doomed to a life alone because "settling" isn't in my DNA, but the individual has to be a good fit to make it work.
2. We understand risk, fear, and failure...well
This in my mind doesn't need explanation. Dating is a high risk situation and you have little information to lead with and of any subset of the population we get this, well.
3. We are driven by passion
Living your purpose is absolutely unexplainable. I run my company because I HAVE to. I wake up every morning knowing that it is my duty to grow and move the needle in the complex world of public health. This is what I was put on this earth for. And this is impossible to get people to understand who have never felt it themselves. I feel like someone is going to read that and say, "oh so your better than me now." No,just no. Life isn't about comparing yourself to other people.
4. We believe in transparency and accountability
A heavily talked about quality of millennials is our need for transparency and I am telling you, do NOT lie to me. That is by far the fastest way to get me to never speak to you again. I understand that people have different definitions of "lying," but just be honest, I can take it. I have dealt with so much failure on my path that your honesty isn't going to make or break me. This also requires that others own up to their mistakes, shortcomings, etc. just like I do. Oh and don't be late and/or unreliable, it drives me up the walls!
5. We love, oh do we love
This is a tricky one because I have seen it go one of two ways: people can embrace their high ability to love others and go through the process of learning to accept that most people cannot meet them where they are OR people will shut down completely. As i'm writing this I have this vision of the stereotypical business man with different women leaving his penthouse suite every night, but this is where the millennial generation is moving the needle. We are known as a generation who is driven by information and we demand the truth and genuineness.
I fall into the highly empathy driven social entrepreneur subset (another new idea), but in general the people I meet want to do good. Since we are driven by truth, passion, and are living our purpose life looks different. With that I have learned in the last few years I love in a different way. My understanding of love isn't reserved only for my romantic partner. I love love love people and I always have no matter how many times they disappoint me. I went through a jaded, shut down period because I couldn't take the hurt, but life is happening around us with the intention of being felt. I'd never be successful in business if I didn't understand this, but it does make for confusion in relationships.
6. We are confident for a reason
When I started my first venture I learned quickly I had to get to a point where I could walk into a room demanding all attention without saying a word. Even with my frayed work pants and worn heels, I had to look and act like a million dollars or I would never have a million dollars to speak of. Especially as a women in tech, I had to go against my inclinations to quietly hide in the corner and man was it hard for me, but I did what I had to. Confident, cocky, "bitchy," call it what you want, but this is a fact of being successful in business. You always hear as a young entrepreneur "stay humble," so yes don't go buy $1000 Loubatons and buy a Masarati in year one, but confidence is so key. I love overhearing meetings with all men because they way to speak to eachother is light years away from women. They sound straight up mean and aggressive to most, but it isn't mean, it's business.
Ok back on topic, all of this is often misconstrue, especially as a female, in relationships. There is a reason I am the way I am and more often than not I'm still terrified on the inside and doing everything I can to not burst into tears. This is so important to be sensitive to in relationships. There is a difference between cocky false confidence that is palpable and faith driven confidence that you can make things work, don't mix those up!
7. We get incredibly lonely
I tell this over and over to every new business owner or entrepreneur I work with. Being in this small subset of people means that most everyone does not understand. That is totally ok, but it can get very lonely. There are times were i'm in a relationship and I feel like I have no one and nothing. I could be surrounded by 100 friends and I still deep down get feelings of loneliness. Luckily they always pass, but this is a real issue and it hurts A LOT.
Dating is hard, for everyone i'm told, but in general I feel we as a society need to do a better job being empathetic and listening to eachother. I mean really listen to what i'm telling you, hear my truth. Communication is definitely not a strength among my millennial brothers and sisters, but that has to change. I don't expect people to remember everything I say or even be impacted by it, but we all need to do a better job listening. And the most important person to listen to is YOURSELF. Forget what society tells you about how to think and act. What is you body, heart and soul telling you?