Maybe You Are an Entrepreneur, You Just Don’t Accept It Yet – My Career Curveball
Originally published on LinkedIn.com
“All of old. Nothing else ever. Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better.”
I like this famous quote of Samuel Beckett. I know it has probably been used a billion times in millions of contexts, but it is the kind of quotes that are really inspiring. Talking about #careercurveballs is a little bit like emphasizing on Beckett’s quote showing that failure is a part of success. But instead of “failure” and “success”, I would rather see curveballs as change and failure as learning. In the end, it is the lessons of life that shape the changes of our careers.
I could not speak of career experience. For this, I would need to have one. Let’s be honest, I am a 27 year-old entrepreneur and I have no intention to give life-lessons to anyone, in fact I couldn’t. However, there are two “learnings” that I would like to share with you and that I think I can share mainly for one reason: Because it helped me understand where I wanted to go, while this was so hard for me to understand. Therefore, if you have the same kind of issue, I have the secret hope that it can help you.
Focus on what is of interest to you
I started my studies with a bachelor degree in political science. At that time I knew I liked history and politics in general. When studying political science, I understood I was more interested in international relations and its related business implications. I also understood that I was good in methodology of qualitative and quantitative studies. My ambitions led me to apply for a master degree at The Graduate Institute Geneva. Of course, the competition is tough to enter this prestigious institute and despite the fact that I originally wanted to do a degree in International Affairs, I applied for the master in political science, feeling that I had better chances.
Fortunately, I was not accepted. (Today, I say fortunately but at that time, believe me, I was really disappointed). This master was addressed to people going for a career in research in political science. I was good at executing research, but I had no passion for it and I liked international business more than political science. You want to work in digital marketing for the watch industry? Do not apply for a job in operations management at Richemont because it is a company you like and because you are able to manage operations – That is simply not the job you want to do.
This learning helped me take a path that was a good fit for me. Indeed, two months later, I started a masters in international business development. Certainly, it was not at “The Graduate Institute Geneva”, but this degree included all the topics that were really of interest to me, and I had a blast.
Accept who you are
My conversion to business studies was a success. After one semester studying international management and marketing, I was already picturing myself working in big multinational corporations such as Novartis, Nestlé, or Caterpillar. This was even reinforced when I started my exchange at the Copenhagen Business School (CBS) where the presence of big firms like KPMG, BCG or Novo Nordisk is permanent through diverse events and workshops.
Logically, when my friend Jan told me he badly wanted to create a business of his own once in his life, I could only answer that I had absolutely no intention to do so. I have seen my father struggling being an entrepreneur. I have seen how hard that is and how much sacrifice it represents… I am not willing to follow the same path. “I will be just fine as a manager in any kind of business, no need to take so many risks!”
Two weeks later, Marius, Florent and I started working on Novertur, the start-up I now run as co-founder and CMO since two years. What happened in this 2-week window? I still have no idea, but today some things are certain: I love my job, I love creating what we are creating and I love being an entrepreneur. In the end, I was probably born to be so and I just needed the right “learnings” (or curveballs, if you prefer) to accept it.
Take advantage of change
My career changes so far are not drastic, nor dramatic. They are just changes of views and of direction in what I should do and what I am doing. There is no underlying scoop, but two basic things which too often we forget for the sake of comfort and uncertainty avoidance: Always focus on what you are really interested in and, most importantly, always accept who you are. So far this has led me to live an incredible entrepreneurial adventure and to take advantage of change. I can’t wait for the next #careercurveball!