We know (or at least we think we know) the items in the entrepreneur’s kit: a bit of money, a phone, computer, maybe an office next to the kitchen but what about the emotional items? The insecurity that looms at the base of the spine? The doubt and uncertainty as close as the collarbone? The closets and dresser drawers full of fear? It’s a scary walk and for the most part, no one or no book prepares you for it. Who knew the road to entrepreneurship was paved with emotion? Remember when you made your big announcement and your friend sucked her teeth and tossed out words that were several degrees less than supportive? At first your chest was puffed with pride. Then she spoke and now you feel like all the air in your chest is gone. Like you’re not just a loser, but you’re a loser with a stupid idea. What do you do when your enthusiasm is pulverized by the fists of questions asked for your own good and the lackluster responses of friends who claim to mean well? Do you pack up the tent and head for home (meaning go work for someone else) or do you pitch the tent deeper into the ground so it won’t sway when the wind threatens? Here’s what I do: I make a little invisible hole so I can tunnel inside my chest and see what’s there. Are my buttons pushed because that person’s words echo my own doubts about my service or are those words useless to me therefore worthy of ignoring? What’s the real issue here? Do I need to devise a standard response to the naysayers, one that allows me to treat the remarks as appetizer not the real meal? One that dignifies me and protects the integrity of what I am working very hard to offer the world? Do I say nothing so that my time is not wasted on a non-buying, non-supportive hater? Am I 1,000% committed? Am I willing to get pistol-whipped with emotion but still get up with blood covering my face? That’s where I go when I get hit with entrepreneur-emotion. I have come to love it, sorta or at least to expect it. I try to allow my inner and outer response to teach and guide me. I breathe deep. I remind myself why I’m doing this. I think of why I fell in love with my product in the first place. I realize I am (for better or worse) married to my mission of comforting the bereaved. That is it. That is all. When the preacher asks I say I do. What about you: are you married to your mission or are you still wearing the engagement ring?