Newton's First Law of....Entrepreneurship?

August 8, 2018

 

In 1687 Isaac Newton proposed new ways of thinking about motion. In his first law, Newton stated that:

 

An object at rest remains at rest unless acted upon by an external force.

An object in motion remains in motion with the same speed and in the same direction unless acted upon by an external force.

 

This 330+ year old framework changed the way people looked at physics and is still used today.

 

How does it apply to us as entrepreneurs? Well what if that "object" was YOU! Let's look at it this way:

 

An entrepreneur at rest remains at rest unless acted upon by an external force.

An entrepreneur in motion remains in motion with the same speed and in the same direction unless acted upon by an external force.

 

Why does this matter? It highlights that, without external forces, we remain where we are.

 

An entrepreneur at rest remains at rest unless acted upon by an external force.

In times of rest when we are not moving in our entrepreneurial efforts, we will remain at rest. Movement and action do not come suddenly or spontaneously. A great idea does not all of a sudden become a best-selling product without the force of effort to develop it. A great product does not move to customers without the force of marketing and sales to promote it. Without force, we remain at rest; and rest does not lead to revenue.

I recently found myself in a slump. My forward entrepreneurial motion had slowed to zero. I found myself at rest. Dissatisfied, unmotivated, and unhappy - I was going nowhere.  

 

What I needed was a force. Something to help push me from rest into motion again. A call with a mentor and friend was that force this time around. The conversation was with my friend Vincent Pugliese, author of "Freelance to Freedom: The Roadmap for Creating a Side Business to Achieve Financial, Time and Life Freedom". His listening ear allowed me to express the situations that had stopped my forward motion and allowed me to refocus, and take the first steps into motion again.  

 

Other times that force for me is pure willpower, forcing me to "snap out of it". The key in those moments is recognizing my situation; realizing I have have come to a rest; and exerting the force and willpower to shift into motion. I exert force by making the decision to start writing or making the needed phone calls. In some cases, I physically force myself into motion by going for a run to get things flowing once again.

Without those forces, I remain where I am, without movement.

 

An entrepreneur in motion remains in motion with the same speed and in the same direction unless acted upon by an external force.

The flip side to this law of entrepreneurship is that an entrepreneur in motion remains in motion unless acted upon by an external force. This is great if our motion is taking us in the right direction. What if it isn't? Well, this law highlights that we can't expect to get something new by doing the same old thing. Need to pivot to a new demographic? Want to expand into a new market? Hoping to grow the business? None of these changes in direction naturally happen without the influence an of external force. As entrepreneurs we need to exert force. What force can we exert to shift the direction of our motion? Perhaps its pausing to re-evaluate where we are right now or maybe its hiring a consultant to add expertise to our organizations. Or maybe it's investing more into the business through capital or other resources. Whatever it may be, the important thing to realize is that unless we exert that external force, our motion will continue in the same direction, regardless if it is where we want to be going.

 

What external forces are at work in your life? 

What forces can you call on to get you out of that rut, or shift your direction when you're not aligned? The best entrepreneurs have teams of resources that surround them. Mine include self-care routines and mentors that will apply force to challenge me to move when I'm resting. It includes financial experts that can apply force to make sure I'm moving in the right direction financially. My team has technical experts that keep me abreast of developments in the industry and allow me to apply force in shifting the direction of my movement if necessary.  

As an entrepreneur, you need to know when to put the right force in the right area or you will remain stuck where you are. As Newton's First Law of Entrepreneurship states:

 

An entrepreneur at rest remains at rest unless acted upon by an external force.

An entrepreneur in motion remains in motion with the same speed and in the same direction unless acted upon by an external force.

 

What force in what area will make the most impact for you right now?

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