The Entrepreneur’s Solution For Kryptonite

By Randy H. Nelson

Ask any entrepreneur of any age, gender, or industry the reason why they started their own business, and their response will almost always be the same:

“Autonomy.”

Entrepreneurs love being their own boss and calling the shots on a daily basis. I get it, I am a serial entrepreneur, and have been one for almost 30 years.

I own my company, and I love being my own boss. I get to call the shots, control my own schedule, and nobody can make me do anything I don’t want to do. Sounds appealing!

But in business, as in most things in life, when something sounds too good to be true, it usually is.

The reality is that most entrepreneurs fail. In fact, 70% of companies close within 10 years of business. Entrepreneurs have autonomy but many of them spend a lot of time making costly mistakes. One of these mistakes is the incessant desire for chasing “shiny objects” that look like opportunity, but in reality are major distractions that can lead to potential failure.

The “shiny object” that the autonomous entrepreneur chases is their Kryptonite. It appears cool and inviting, with a bright future, but in the end, it could very well kill the business.

So how do we fix this problem? Add a dose of vulnerability to the entrepreneur’s life.

When an entrepreneur is willing to be vulnerable, they invite others to give input. They become more self-aware of their own strengths, and especially their weaknesses. They show the courage to admit that they might actually be wrong, and don’t have all the right answers. As a result, they are far more willing to forgo chasing their Kryptonite. The vulnerable entrepreneur understands fully the need for a focused business plan built on both strategy and great execution.

Becoming more vulnerable takes courage, but the best entrepreneurs on the planet clearly understand the importance of balancing their desire for autonomy with their need for running a successful long-term business.

Autonomy + Vulnerability shifts an entrepreneur from an “I don’t know what I don’t know” entrepreneur to an “I know what I don’t know” entrepreneur. An autonomous and vulnerable entrepreneur knows to avoid their Kryptonite at all costs, and to focus on the real opportunities that will yield the best results.


Randy H. Nelson is a serial entrepreneur, speaker, coach, former nuclear submarine officer, and author of The Second Decision with ForbesBooks. Learn more at randyhnelson.com.

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