How To Overcome Friction In Entrepreneurship

Dan Sullivan
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Friction holds you back, slows forward momentum toward your goals, and is inevitable along your entrepreneurial journey.

But how can we overcome friction in entrepreneurship? How can we alchemize friction into something that works with us instead of against us in our pursuit of freedom?

In The Strategic Coach Program, everything is structured around the knowledge that entrepreneurs do what we do in order to expand our Four Freedoms:

  1. Freedom of Time
  2. Freedom of Money
  3. Freedom of Relationship
  4. Freedom of Purpose

As we work toward attaining these freedoms, friction slows us down. But friction is, in fact, the raw material for freedom.

The difference between friction and obstacles.

Before learning how to overcome friction in entrepreneurship, it’s important to understand what friction is and how it differs from obstacles. An obstacle is external. It’s a roadblock or hindrance outside of yourself—like a wall or closed door. Friction, on the other hand, happens on the inside. It’s an experience of emotion that can include frustration, anger, and a sense of being trapped or otherwise bothered.

Essentially, obstacles can become friction when they’re internalized. In my book Not Being Bothered, I dive deeper into this concept and its solutions as it pertains to entrepreneurship.

Because you’re always doing new things and entering new territory, you’ll likely always experience friction. The key is to learn how to transform that friction quickly and effectively so it can be a lever for progress.

Friction points for entrepreneurs.

Friction doesn’t always occur at the level of intellect and brainpower but within your energetic and emotional centers. For this reason, it can sometimes be difficult to intellectualize the feeling of friction. You might think, where is this feeling coming from?

As an entrepreneur, it’s common that you might experience friction resulting from …
… not operating within your Unique Ability.
… fears, hesitations, and doubts surrounding big extremal events.
… not having the right people with the right skills to support you.
… a personal environment that isn’t inspiring or growth-oriented.

Friction arises when you do things that simply aren’t in your wheelhouse. Instead of trying to muscle through projects and tasks that wear you out, surround yourself with people who can (and would love to) execute your vision, and watch your friction become the catalyst for your freedom.

How to overcome friction in entrepreneurship.

To transform your friction into freedom, get a piece of paper and write down the words “Time,” “Money,” “Relationship,” and “Purpose” on the left-hand side, from top to bottom. Then, next to each category, identify where you’ve experienced friction in each of these areas and what you did to transform and overcome it. Next, pick a few of the listed examples and expand on them.

At this point, you’ll have a string of entrepreneurial successes to illustrate an accomplished past where you’ve transformed friction into freedom. This shows that you already have the capability to overcome and transform friction.

Next, you’re ready to learn how to address your current friction. So, name three current areas of entrepreneurial friction you’d like to transform.

Ask yourself: What freedom—time, money, relationship, purpose—will I experience once I’ve successfully transformed each of these sources of friction? What is the first step—no matter how simple—toward that freedom through entrepreneurship?

When you think of this first step, start with the “Who”—the person or people that can support you with this transformation using their skills and abilities. Then, finish the exercise by outlining what you’re most excited about for each friction-turned-freedom. This is how to overcome friction in entrepreneurship: you turn it into something that serves you and your mission.

As you can see, all friction is the raw material for creating future freedom. So, instead of denying or fighting against entrepreneurial friction, embrace, identify, and transform it to unlock your desired future. Download your free copy of The Strategic Coach Road Map For Entrepreneurs to take the next bold step toward life at the next level.