Have you ever woken up in the middle of the night and asked yourself, “Can I really do this?” I have had countless sleepless nights that go something like…It’s 4:09am and I jolt out of bed in a cold sweat wondering if I have what it takes to launch my own company.
My name is Pranjal Hegde, and I am a student in the full-time MBA program at Babson College and founder of Unbox the Creative. Unbox the Creative is an online platform that connects graduate students with start-ups and small businesses for internships, jobs and project collaboration.
As a first-time entrepreneur, my levels of anxiety surrounding my venture are in perpetual flux. I can sometimes go from “I got this!” to “I’m going to have to work for a Dunder Mifflin, aren’t I?” from a single customer survey response. This purgatory of emotions occasionally leads me to question whether being an entrepreneur is in my cards.
Fortunately for me, this cloud of ambiguity is shifting into pointed confidence.
With the help of the Center for Women’s Entrepreneurial Leadership, several of us had the wonderful opportunity to attend the Forte Foundation Annual Conference in New York City. The first day of the conference was focused on encouraging women to strive for careers in industries that are typically ridden with testosterone…investment banking, consulting etc. I was quickly caught up in the sexiness of it all and thought to myself, “To heck with my venture, I’m going to go back into general management and consulting and I’m going to make money!”
At the end of the day I attended a session where a panel of professionals shared their insights as career consultants. Frankly, most of them focused on the benefits of being a generalist (and the perks of racking up hotel rewards points). However, one panelist posed a question to the audience that struck a chord with me. She said, “I don’t care what you take away from today, but consider asking yourself regularly: ‘Am I an Adviser or am I a Decision-Maker? Keep in mind consultants and analysts advise, CEOs make decisions.”
I haven’t been able to shake my private immediate response to the panelist’s question: “I am a Decision-Maker.” While launching a start-up is not for the faint of heart, I realized that it’s not about whether I can or can’t launch my own company, but it’s about recognizing that I have the confidence in myself to make decisions, big or small, and that each decision I make gets me closer to the goal of creating an organization that has real impact.
While my sleepless nights haven’t completely gone away, when I do wake up questioning my capabilities I remind myself that I have the choice to either be an adviser or a decision-maker. I am a Decision-Maker. How about you?
Pranjal Hegde – M’14
Posted in Babson Entrepreneurs