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Of Teenagers, Entrepreneurship & Transitions

There are three important stages in your life: when you are born, when you leave your parent's home and when you die. Those top three reasons are key life transitions and are your life in summary.

Two of those decisions you have no control over, they must and will happen sooner or later.

But the middle, one: leaving your parents' home and starting life on your own is all on you.

Think about this for a minute: here are two people who have given you life, food, shelter, clothing, money, your very personality and then about two decades later you leave them without any feelings of guilt.

How did you get there? What was the switch? Why is leaving the home of those who have taken care of us and have made us into something worthy of the world's respect, such a necessary step? What makes the transition relatively easy for us?

Simple answer: teenage hood.

Teenage hood is biology's way of preparing us for adulthood by making us emotionally but subtly hate, rebel, turn away from that which nurtured us and step out on our own. Without those rocky, rebellious years preceding young adulthood we would find it very hard to leave the warmth and comfort of our parental homes.

Pain. Frustration. Confusion. Trauma. Fear. All those emotional states we have come to hate are necessary bridges to sub-consciously move us from places of comfort to places of next-level growth.

Growth is never enjoyable, rainbow coloured and beautiful. It hurts like hell.

It must, to be worthwhile.

Now let's turn to entrepreneurship. It offers all that any logical thinking mind can see and want: freedom, impact, contribution, unrestricted creativity, financial freedom, personal independence etc.

But why do some employees (who have a deep desire to step out and become an entrepreneur) find it so hard to transition into entrepreneurship? What keeps this set of people so locked onto their adopted brands, salaries, 9-5, humdrum existence even when they know there can be better if they step out of that place of comfort?

There are the usual, accepted answers: fear, consistent salary, imposter syndrome, self esteem blah blah blah. The reality is stranger than fiction, though.

The reason that some employees (who want to become their own boss) don't move into entrepreneurship is : they haven't experienced sufficient pain, trauma and abandonment to make them move out of their comfort zone.

You see, four things have to happen before a person truly embraces their passion or purpose:

- they have to go through an extremely painfully significant point in their life

- they have to identify the source of that pain with their current comfort

- they have to be scarred enough to move out of their comfort zone

- they have to be disgusted enough to never want to go back

Note, this does not mean that the said employee must hate their employer, boss etc. No way.

It just means they have to hate the state of them being comfortable at the risk of being held captive to someone else controlling their uncertain future for them.

The state of comfort is the issue. Not the source of comfort.

And so, what lacks sorely in most transitions from employment to entrepreneurship is not the grit, zeal, passion or planning to step out - but rather, a teenage hood experience - a naturally occurring rebellion or resistance to that which so lovingly held you for so many years, so that you may move out and move on.

Without this experience, an employee may step out to become an entrepreneur (more out of emotion than any real fortitude) but no sooner find themselves coming back to mummy and daddy (their previous employer), because the impetus to leave in the first place was not painful enough.

About the Writer

Jan Okonji is an entrepreneur, speaker, coach, and Founder of the Pan-African accelerator BGS – Business Growth Solutions.

He is passionate about helping employees transition safely into entrepreneurship whilst turning their great ideas into profitable businesses and has helped entrepreneurs collectively grow their revenue to over $ 10 Million in the course of running BGS.


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