Wrestling with Entrepreneurs
Entrepreneurship is tough no matter how you spin it. Whether you’re just getting started or you’re a wily veteran, the entrepreneurial journey can be a rollercoaster ride. In many ways, entrepreneurship reminds me of wrestling, the sport I competed in for more than a decade.
Like wrestling, entrepreneurship can seem like an individual sport. Success, in many cases, depends on your drive to succeed and the ability to push forward when others are telling you to run for the exit. While most entrepreneurs don’t have someone on the other side trying to rip off their head, starting and operating a business can at times feel like the whole world is trying to keep you from getting to the next day. It’s a tough deal, but it’s worth it if you keep practicing.
As a wrestler, I was rarely alone. I had teammates to train with, coaches to help me stay focused and a staff of therapists to keep me healthy and sane. While they might have given me a hard time when I goofed up (like getting in a bar fight three weeks before the national championship), they were always there to pick me up when I needed it the most (like when I tore my knee cartilage six months before Olympic trials). Throughout my career, there was always a feeling of being a part of something bigger than me.
When I transitioned from sports to entrepreneurship, things changed. I suddenly felt alone. There were times when I felt like I was up against the world, and I had no one in my corner to help me “wrestle” with my issues. From staying up late to make sense of the books to chasing clients for payment and struggling with parenthood, at times I felt like a failure. Although I had a team and business mentor, there was something missing. I enjoyed growing my business, but there was a void I wasn’t fully conscious of until years later. That’s where EO comes in.
Joining EO has been a game-changer, to say the least. Like in wrestling, I now have a team that supports me in everything I do. I also have Forum mates to keep me sane, chapter learning opportunities to help me “train” better and a global support system full of people who’ve gone through what I’m going through. From being Forum-trained to attending my first EO University, I’ve felt a sensation I hadn’t felt since competing in Barcelona, Spain, at the 1992 Olympics— I feel like I belong.
Here’s the amazing thing about EO: It doesn’t matter that we all come from different backgrounds and have different businesses. It doesn’t matter what our net gross is or how long we’ve been entrepreneurs. What matters is that we share a passion to be better, a competitive drive to excel and pin our problems to the proverbial mat. One of my new EO Vancouver buddies, Steve Whiteside, said it best: “Being a part of EO means being with winners.” I can get used to that.
Tom Petryshen is the founder of Amplify Services, a digital agency, and director of Ventures in Digital Media, an advertising technology solutions provider. Fun fact: Tom’s life-long goal is to live and work on his own golf course. E-mail Tom at [email protected].