What is Blue Heart?

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There is a place – a dark, dark place – that exists beyond our physical and mental limits. It’s a place beyond despair, beyond exhaustion, beyond any place we ever thought we could exist. I call it Entrepreneurial Space … A place without oxygen, without gravity. It’s a place where you cannot breath, a place where your efforts seem to have no influence on your direction.

You know this place, and you know it well when you decide to become an entrepreneur. As I have previously mentioned, according to Brad and Dunstreet, 90% of all entrepreneurs who fail, fail voluntarily – they simply give up. All entrepreneurs visit Entrepreneurial Space in their journey; few leave.

How do you know when you are in Entrepreneurial Space?

We all have self-doubt and we all get physically tired, but that does not necessarily mean you are in Entrepreneurial Space (ES). You know you are in ES when your efforts seem to have no bearing on where you are going. Newtonian laws do not work in ES; actions do not create reactions. In fact, they seem to set you back further. There is an indescribable mental anguish comparable only to the pain you feel when trying to exit a nightmare, just 100 times more painful. A sense of desperation engulfs your body and mind as you battle to cling to your veneer of “I’m doing well.” Everyone seems more successful than you. Everyone seems happier than you. Those self-help books that you keep next to your bed have no effect. You cannot even retain a page of reading because your mind wanders so easily. It’s beyond a place of exhaustion.

You cry when you watch emotional adverts; you watch Rocky or The Pursuit of Happyness to find kinship. Psychologists might declare you depressed, but you know it’s not that – it’s something worse. Your ego and reputation are in the blender, your bank balance lost its balance months ago. It’s this place, this dark dark place, and you know you’re in ES when you get there. The deeper you go, the harder it is to leave.

Blue Heart

Blue heart is the relentless ability to stand up again and again. It’s the courage to try again; it’s the inexplicable strength to get into the ring again knowing that you are likely to take a beating.

Some might describe people with Blue Heart as the people who have managed to switch off or reinterpret the feedback loops in their lives. Rejection, debt, failure and the like are classified as temporary, worth it in the end, or simply ignored. Like Rocky in the ring, every punch received is not counted, it’s expected; it’s part of the sport. Rocky does not say “that’s not fair” when he takes a body blow and drops to the floor. He just stands up again, and does what he does: fight. That’s Blue Heart – standing up again, without thought, without consideration of the consequences, without fear. You just do it, ‘cos it’s what you do. You have a dream to win, and you are going to.

So this article is dedicated to these fighters. Sometimes we lose the fight, take some time off to recoup, retrain and then try again. Sometimes we take years to win, and sometimes we get lucky and win in the first round. I salute this courage in you. I respect it. I admire it.

It is my belief that only those with Blue Heart make it out of Entrepreneurial Space alive. This entrepreneurship gig is not a science; it’s a personal journey we all go through alone while trying to learn from those who have been through it already, or from those who are on it right now.

Here is a poem I wrote that tries to describe that optimism despite the feedback and the pain.

Waiting for the deal to be signed

I’m waiting for the deal to be signed.
They said we would know by February.
I’m waiting for the opportunity to be mined;
It’s going to change everything, it’s going to be the key.

I’m waiting for the deal to be signed.
They said we would know by March, for sure.
Oh, joy, as we leave our troubles behind,
No more cash flow issues, no more.

I’m waiting for the deal to be signed.
They said April the fifteenth’s the date.
I’m waiting for my pockets to be lined –
I cannot go on at this rate.

I’m waiting for the deal to be signed,
The board’s now deliberating in May.
Oh, Lord, how much strength can I find?
I’m just praying my staff will stay.

I’m waiting for the deal to be signed.
The buyer is on leave in June.
I’ve had my personal finances redesigned,
I’m going to have to sell my home soon.

I’m waiting for the deal to be signed.
Why did he go on training in July?
I feel like I’m losing my mind.
I see it in my dreams; the end is nigh.

I’m waiting for the deal to be signed.
August’s the month, I feel it in my bones.
Coming to work is becoming a grind.
How sweet it will be to pay off those loans.

I’m waiting for the deal to be signed.
Why the hell did they fire him in September?
The last of my team have resigned.
My last real salary, I cannot remember.

I’m waiting for the deal to be signed.
In October the new guy starts.
I’ll persist, it’s by persistence I’m defined:
It’s what makes me different, it’s what sets me apart.

Maybe the deal won’t be signed.
Perhaps all it takes is another few weeks.
How do I know if I’m brilliant or blind?
I’m going to give my pitch a few tweaks.

It seems like the deal won’t be signed.
He said so for sure.
Fate has been really unkind.
I’ll wait a few weeks, then call him once more.