5 Entrepreneurial Lessons Learned From Gettysburg01. September 2017
I recently went on a road trip that started in Massachusetts and ended in Washington D.C. I visited major cities on the way including Baltimore and Philadelphia.
As the trip was drawing to a close, my friends and I visited one more place. That place was Gettysburg. Gettysburg was the town in which a battle of the Army of the Potomac and Army of Northern Virginia took place. It was a turning point during the Civil War and lead to the Union taking a stronghold.
The Civil War always fascinated me, but I’d never been to where an actual Battle took place. Gettysburg was the perfect place to start.
I could only walk in awe as I scanned over the monuments of the Battlefield. You could get a sense of where the Union and Confederate Army stood. I continued to walk in silence, unable to speak a word but rather taking everything in. An eerie feeling arose.
In three days, there were over 50,000 casualties.
There is a lot that can be learned from the battle of Gettysburg, especially when it comes to entrepreneurship.
Leave A Legacy
We stand here, almost 150 years after the Civil War took place. We still remember the names of the most prominent Generals. You have to make an impact on the world if you wish to be remembered centuries later.
Not that the entire world needs to know your name. Wouldn’t it be nice for generations to know who you are? How many of you know the stories of your ancestors? It’s not that they did anything wrong, they lived a nice safe life. If you want your name to be remembered, you need to do something that’s worthy of remembering.
When walking through the different monuments, you realized that these were actual people who put their lives at stake to fight for something they believed in. I’m sure they didn’t go in with the intent that Gettysburg would still be known today, but it happened.
As an entrepreneur, what are you doing each day? If you’re not an entrepreneur, what are you doing that will give a lasting impact on the world? You only have once chance at this thing called life why not put your best foot forward?
Do you want your name to live on? If you do, you will need to put in the work each day. I’m sure the soldiers didn’t want to go to Battle each day, but they did it, anyway.
No matter what you’re doing in this world, make it a goal to leave your mark. You don’t need to impact millions but rather one person. And when you leave your mark on one person, you change their entire life.
Fight For What You Believe In
Both the Union and Confederate Army fought for what they believed in. They had their separate ideologies and would preserve those ideologies at all cost, even if that meant going to war.
Most people don’t fight for what they believe in. They let others walk all over them. The Confederate Army knew going in they were outnumbered at a ratio of 2:1. Did this stop them? Hell no!
If you believe you or your company can change the world why would you quit the first time that someone laughs at you? When you’re getting knocked down time and time again, continue on. It doesn’t matter how outmatched you are; it matters how badly you want to succeed.
The Confederate Army continued to fight until they couldn’t. Under the command of General Lee, they could’ve caved in multiple times. They fought for what they believed and that carried them.
Understand that not everyone will agree with you. You can take a look at the political system to understand that. Yet, everyone believes in something.
If someone doesn’t believe in what you say that doesn’t mean he’s right or you’re wrong. We each have our own opinions. And with your opinion, you should believe in it wholeheartedly.
You will not become successful if you think you’ll be successful. You have to believe that you will be successful, no matter the cost.
When the odds are against you and this is true in the entrepreneurial world, continue on no matter what happens. Because you’d rather continue to fight knowing you gave your best effort.
It doesn’t matter if you’re a solopreneur, you will need a team around you whether that’s friends and family members or other entrepreneurs you can bounce ideas off.
The Civil War and specifically Gettysburg displayed that you need to teamwork to win. If the soldiers didn’t help each other, there would’ve been more casualties.
It’s easy to go at alone for a while but eventually, there will come a day when you burnout. You need to create a team before that happens.
What are the tasks you do each day that you no longer wish to do? Or the tasks you don’t mind doing but take up your time? Remember, time is the most valuable commodity. Once it’s gone, you can never get it back.
Teamwork is setting up a support network of others to help you on your journey. Being an entrepreneur and a solopreneur it can be a lonely journey. There are not a lot of entrepreneurs in the world and it’s easy to be misunderstood. Creating the right support network will help you on the days when you aren’t at your best.
When you allow teamwork in your business, you’re opening the door for everyone to share their ideas. Even though General Lee and General Meade were at the head of their respective Armies during Gettysburg that doesn’t mean they wouldn’t take ideas from the soldiers around them. Because everyone has an end goal, and that’s being successful whether running a business or fighting a war.
How do you perceive the Battle would’ve ended if each side didn’t strategize, especially the Confederate Army? The Confederate Army was already outnumbered and they couldn’t afford to continue losing troops at the rate they were.
The Union Army was feeling pressure from President Lincoln to end the war already. And General Lee wouldn’t let that happen.
When you’re starting a business, you have to strategize. How will get your product or service known in the marketplace? How are you going to drive revenue for your company? You can’t go in without answering those questions.
You can’t plan for everything. There are things that’ll take place in your business you never could’ve seen coming. But this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t plan at all.
Come up with a strategy for creating a successful business. You need not know everything but rather a blueprint. With the blueprint, be expected to change course.
In the Battle, maybe the right side was getting flanked more than the left and the General’s changed their initial strategy. Create a strategy but be ready to change it.
Before the start of your business, take the time to think through everything. I used to be the person who’d launch something or start something without taking much time to think through it. I figured I’d learn along the way. This was nice until I wanted to take the business and myself to the next level.
Slow down, you need not have your entire strategy done in one day. This can take several weeks. While no strategy is perfect, you should try your best to get it as close to perfect as you can.
When starting a business and much like the Battle, you will encounter failure. You can let that failure knock you down or you can persist through it. The choice is up to you.
Continue to push on when everything seems to go awry. When negative events happen in your life, take a step back. Are you going to let this negative event define you? Push through any adversity you face.
I can imagine there were many adversities each side faced during the Battle of Gettysburg. Yet, each side continued to fight.
There were close to 15,000 casualties during the first day of the Battle. This didn’t deter either side from coming back.
Picture the emotions the soldiers must’ve felt. Their friends and family being killed or wounded around them. The soldiers had to continue fighting or they would’ve been another statistic. If the soldiers can persistent throughout the Battle, you can persist through anything you might be facing.
Are you going to go the extra mile during your journey as an entrepreneur? When everyone is relaxing, are you putting in the work?
Understand that entrepreneurship isn’t for everyone. It doesn’t matter if you’re not an entrepreneur but someone who’s trying to become successful in any endeavor you will have to persist.
I learned a lot from my first trip to Gettysburg. I intend to take another trip to Gettysburg by the end of the summer. If you have the chance to visit, go!
Have you ever visited Gettysburg? Let us know in the comments!