What is Wrong With You?

by Ann Vertel, Ph.D.

Most of my life required the wearing of a uniform – Girl Scouts, McDonald’s, Pizza Hut, Candy Stripers, Catholic school, and for twenty years, the Navy.

I loved being in the Navy. It felt like a family and was filled with excitement, energy, adventure, travel, and the opportunity to handle more responsibility than most people see in a lifetime. Most importantly, I loved working with some of the finest, most ethical, honest, and heart-centered people I have ever known.

But despite my love for the people and my respect for the organization itself, I always felt like I was trying to fit into a coat that was a little too tight.

I remember a boss once telling me…literally…to get back in my box. I followed the rules when they made sense and stretched against them when they didn’t. And I always felt a little like a failure because I did not completely comply.

Before retiring, I took a course that helps senior officers transition from the military into the private sector. I was the only one striking out on my own. What felt natural to me seemed foreign to the other officers attending. I was excited to create and launch something new and could no longer trade in one uniform for another.

I’ve had my own business for nine years now and have never looked back. It has been more difficult, challenging, and frustrating than I ever imagined. And it has been more rewarding and fulfilling than I ever thought possible. The thought of working for someone else now makes me shudder.

Being an entrepreneur means you are a rebel.

You see things in ways that other people do not or will not. Your mind spins with ideas and your need to create is a driving force that cannot be squelched, no matter how hard other people try to stomp on it.

Regular people do not understand how or why you do what you do.

As a group, entrepreneurs tend to be abundant, optimistic, risk-takers who thrive on creativity and are comfortable with ambiguity. They tend to flock with other entrepreneurs because that is where they and their ideas are understood and encouraged. It is where failed attempts and mistakes are embraced and celebrated. It is where imperfect action is not only expected as a daily action but is a requirement for success.

If you have always felt a little like an outcast or told your ideas are stupid or wrong, you just might be an entrepreneur in conformity clothing.

There is nothing wrong with you. You’re not ungrateful for what you have. You’re not lazy, crazy, or wrong. You’re an entrepreneur.

Maybe it’s time to embrace your inner rebel and swim against the tide. Why would you want to fit in when you were born to stand out?



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One Reply to “What is Wrong With You?”

  1. Ann Vertel

    Thanks for the positive feedback – love the “break free from the flock” analogy, makes me feel like Jonathan Livingston Seagull (or am I dating myself?!??!) 🙂

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