The Road to Success in Entrepreneurship Part 1: Harnessing Time

“I must govern the clock, not be governed by it.”

— Golda Meir

“We must use time wisely and forever realize that the time is always ripe to do right.”

— Nelson Mandela

Yesterday afternoon I participated in a lively, interesting, and informative hourlong TweetChat via  #comcorpchat about female entrepreneurship. It was moderated by Rieva Lesonsky, one of my personal mentors and a wonderful small business guru and woman entrepreneur before it really took off,  and Brian Moran, an entrepreneurial and marketing guru whose tweets often provide virtual mentorship themselves 🙂 Rieva tweeted something about the state of women and small business in the USA, which really made me think….and then respond to:

 “I first created a magazine for women entrepreneurs in 1986 (ahead of my time:) But, though it’s better, there r still issues.” #comcorpchat (Rieva)

@Rieva Looking back MANY a woman #entrepreneur was “ahead of her time” especiallyU 🙂 which is Y its time2 harness time & act. #comcorpchat (Penina)

As an educator/speech therapist/Autism Specialist I have been both a student and teacher of time and time management; the gateway to self regulation, behavior management, and social skills development. I have learned that it IS possible and even important to cognitively harness time; for better retention in learning (episodic memory), environmental awareness of how to act when/where, and problem solving on the fly. These are crucial skills we need to teach children in school, and hone in adulthood; especially in entrepreneurship . It’s something I discuss in depth in my national Socially Speaking™ Seminars and wrote about in my book, The NICE Reboot. It’s something psychologist and author Claudia Hammond also writes about in her interesting book, Time Warped: Unlocking the Mysteries of Time Perception, which I cited in my book, as well as this insightful post and book review by Maria Popova in her excellent blog, Brain Pickings.

As Lawrence Rifkin recently wrote in this interesting post for Scientific American:

“Physicists study physical time. Psychologists study the human experience of time. But rarely do we explicitly put these two together, and attempt to understand human awareness directly within the scientific context of linear cosmic time itself.”

Maybe it’s time to put these two together in the entrepreneurship space too, especially re: women entrepreneurs. Those who NEED to cognitively harness time more than their male counterparts. Why? Because it is our male counterparts who have historically and more easily been able to get venture capital, take risks, become founders; especially in the tech-startup scene, and command more respect in the blogosphere; all of which I wrote about in my latest Tumblr post. You can read more about that here.

The points I am making, and have been making all along in my misc. writings are that it is time to rethink time, time to act, and time to act differently about entrepreneurship. How? By understanding and sharing that:

• Waiting for the right time to become an entrepreneur is a mistake and a myth!

• There has never been a better time to become a female entrepreneur! 

• It’s crucial to embed elements of social entrepreneurship into your entrepreneurial mission statement and business plan from the start, to stay on track, so that your journey becomes one where you continuously pursue both purpose AND profit!  

Harnessing time i.e. time management is the flip side of productivity and mindfulness; both of which are now written about extensively in the entrepreneurial blogosphere. In fact, I regularly curate content on these and related topics using my Zite App. I then save a plethora of interesting, illuminating articles to both my Pocket and Evernote Apps, using assigned tags and notebooks for easier referencing. This addition to my workflow has helped me write my book, become a more thoughtful and authentic contributor to the collective social media conversation across platforms, and craft a content marketing/digital marketing strategy that’s speaks to our need for “thematic learning” and  thinking human.

Harnessing time is not just a good PR strategy re: newsjacking and marketing. Publicity for an entrepreneur is not just about digital promo-selfies and “blingy” visual content marketing and visual storytelling in cyber space. Harnessing time also goes beyond entrepreneurial and marketing calls to action in real time. It means actively seeking out ways to add global value to a customer’s user experience, one’s own learning experiences to grow leadership skills, and honoring the overall process, not just the product.

Success and failure in life, and in entrepreneurship for that matter, hinges on these, and several other factors. I have been exploring some of them in my latest articles for The Huffington Post, which you can read here. Success is attainable is one knows how to effectively, methodically, practically, and consistently implement steps and a have a plan. To have a structured, meaningful plan to stop procrastinating, increase creativity, and cultivate social intelligence. This way, harnessing time becomes less theory and more practice, less abstract and more concrete.

So how does one actively and cognitively harness time? I have 4 suggestions based on my own Theory of Mind and some great posts I’ve recently read. Ones that resonated with my inner landscape and my NICE philosophy (Nice, Informed, Competent, Entrepreneurship). Here’s my take on how to better harness time:

1. Balance humanity/technology and work/life differently. Think differently about needs vs. wants, and about being creative about the process vs. being quick about product launch.

2. Approach networking opportunities differently. Think differently about quality vs. quantity, and about staying optimistically human in our hi-tech world.

3. Approach problem solving differently. Think differently about the psychological and playful aspects to strategizing about success/failure and trial/error.

4. Approach mentorship differently. Think about asking for business directions as part of due diligence. Think of reverse mentorship as part of entrepreneurial maintenance, especially if you work with Millenials! They can teach seasoned professionals so much about the immersive, intuitive sides to technology and social media! Think of reverse mentorship as changing your car’s oil, or having a yearly physical, only bartering for that service. Find mentors in and out of your industry, to expand your perspective, skill sets, and network.  Use specific criteria such as those listed in my book and in my January 2014 HuffPost article, Lessons in Mentorship.

Harnessing time is an active, cognitive, psychological, and ongoing process; much like entrepreneurship in today’s startup culture. Both require a certain amount of flexibility and a “can-do” mindset. Both allow an entrepreneur to learn to be OK with the fact that they will see a jumble of threads for a while, even a long while, before coming to a point where the hard work, effort, sweat, tears, mistakes, triumphs, tribulations, and Eureka Moments all coalesce into that needlepoint. The one which reveals an exquisite tapestry;  the Big Picture revealed.

Isn’t that what life is all about?  Wishing you success on your own journey, which I hope will be timely, productive, educational, and entertaining; my company’s credo/mission 🙂

Best,

Penina

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About penina4niceinitiative

Penina Rybak MA/CCC-SLP, TSHH, CEO of Socially Speaking LLC, is the author of "The NICE Reboot: A Guide to Becoming a Better Female Entrepreneur". She is an Autism specialist and educational technology consultant turned social entrepreneur. She is also a pediatric speech therapist and the creator of the Socially Speaking™ Program & iPad App. Her second book, "Autism Intervention in the iEra" was published in 2015. Since 2010, Penina has been a national/international speaker about social communication development, balancing humanity and technology, and best practices re: mobile and social technology. Connect with her on LinkedIn to learn more. You can also find her on Twitter: @PopGoesPenina, Facebook: Socially Speaking LLC, Google+ at The NICE Initiative for Female Entrepreneurship, and Pinterest and YouTube as well.
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