Darrah Brustein 06C shared her career insight withEmoryWire.
What makes you most proud?
I'm most proud of that fact that I'm living a life that works for me, not one that others would choose for me. Early on in my career, after a number of setbacks like multiple lay-offs and later, crushing financial blows to my first business, I centered my focus on developing a life and businesses that work together to create my personal version of success, and that's freedom of my time. I feel extremely proud and grateful that I now can choose when I'm where (I travel for pleasure about half of every month) and how I spend my time.
What challenges do entrepreneurs face and how can they be overcome?
Entrepreneurship is very 'on trend' these days which is a double-edged sword. On the one hand, it's great to live in a time when there are entrepreneurial celebrities and people have a fair amount of respect for something that can often be considered too risky or frivolous to try. On the other hand, this trend also causes entrepreneurs to suffer from the comparison trap, fearing that they're not doing well enough if they aren't on the cover of a magazine, haven't appeared on Shark Tank, haven't sold a company for a staggering sum, or don't have a small village worth of employees. I believe that an entrepreneur should create a company that suits his or her personality, values, and goals. It's easy to get sucked into the culture of 'you'll sleep when you die' and that it's all about how big of an 'exit' you can get with your company. Take a step back and evaluate how what you're building is (or isn't) in alignment with who you are, and consider getting those to work synchronistically.
Don't be afraid to try a variety of things nor to fail. We are brought up in academic environments that don't generally promote 'failure' as a good thing. However, if we stay within our comfort zones where we know we'll succeed, we rarely learn, grow, nor discover new things that really resonate with us. It wasn't until I was able to recognize that 'failures' really aren't that so long as you don't quit, they're just landmarks on your path that help point you in a new direction. Don't take everything too seriously, believe in yourself, and don't forget to have a little bit of fun along the way.
To learn more from Darrah, watch her Guide to Better Networking videos on YouTube.
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