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Why Boredom Should Scare You More Than Failure
Most entrepreneurs think the biggest threat to their career is a failing business. But failure really isn’t the end of the world. In fact, it’s usually just the start of something better, because it’s through failure that we learn, grow, and evolve.
Boredom, on the other hand, is dangerous. It’s what happens when we no longer have challenges to face (and no longer have to expand our capabilities to meet them). You simply can’t be bored when you’ve got obstacles to deal with.
No challenges, no excitement.
Boredom is particularly dangerous to entrepreneurs. If you’ve become so successful that you’re not excited by your business anymore, you’ve got a big problem on your hands. When entrepreneurs enter a period of boredom in their careers, which is essentially a period of ease, they often start thinking about selling their company, getting someone else to run it, or just retiring altogether … and that’s just about the worst thing you could do to yourself.
As Dan Sullivan says, “Retirement is a signal to the universe that you are getting ready to die, and sooner or later they’ll come and pick up the body.”
Why quit at your best?
Think about it: If you retire when you’ve gotten so good at what you do that you’re bored by it, you’re quitting the game at the height of your talent, success, and reputation. That doesn’t make a lot of sense, does it?
Why would you choose this time, a time when you’re at your peak, to resign yourself to years of boredom, aka years where you’re no longer learning new things, facing new challenges, or chasing new opportunities?
That’s just laying the groundwork for an early grave.
Boredom is infectious too.
However, staying bored in your current situation isn’t an option either. Your boredom is dangerous to everyone on your team, and that’s because energy runs top to bottom in a business. If you’re bored, your team members are bored too, and that makes growth impossible. There’s no energy, no motivation, no creativity. And there’s nothing you can do to reignite it.
Simply put, a bored entrepreneur is a liability to their own company.
So how do you know if boredom is plaguing your business? And, more importantly, what should you do about it?
There are a few telltale signs to look out for.
3 Signs You’re A Bored Entrepreneur
Your Future Is Smaller Than Your Past
Do you feel like the best of your game is behind you? That your greatest successes are in the past rather than waiting to be realized? If your answer is yes, that’s a major sign you’ve outgrown your current venture.
You’re No Longer Motivated
You likely became an entrepreneur because you felt passionate about something—so passionate, in fact, that you were motivated to work longer than the norm, excited by the challenges ahead and endlessly fascinated by the latest innovations in your industry. If the parts of your job that used to energize you now leave you feeling listless, unmotivated, and drained, it’s a clear sign you’re bored and it’s time to shake things up.
You’ve Become A Bottleneck To Your Own Team
Your boredom might also be getting in the way of the growth aspirations of your team. Think about the last few times someone came to you with new ideas to expand, improve, or streamline a process. Did you run with it, or did their idea just sit on your desk collecting dust?
You could also be a bottleneck to your own team if you find yourself lighting fires at work just to feel the excitement of putting them out, or if you’ve suddenly become problem-focused rather than opportunity-focused. That shift in vision says a lot about your mindset.
So, what’s the solution?
The solution to your boredom isn’t to quit the game. The solution is to find a new game. A better game. A bigger game.
And you do that through collaboration.
You do that by figuring out what sets your company apart—the one thing you do that nobody else does and that you do really well—and combining that unique capability with another company who’s got a different capability, one your own company is missing.
Because together you can scale in a way you could never do on your own. You’re bored because your company has grown as much as it can. You’ve already taken your company 10x. However, your 10x capability multiplied by another company’s 10x capability makes a 100x result, and neither of you has to change a thing. You just stick to doing what you do best.
With so much growth potential ahead of you, with so many new opportunities for expansion and innovation, you’re bound to feel that entrepreneurial fire once again. And that means you’re no longer at risk of diminishing your existing company’s value—or your own sense of self worth.