Erik Schiemann has raised hundreds of millions of dollars in financing to scale commercial solar across the US.
During our interview on the DealMakers Show Schiemann shared his passion for exploring what else is out there, developing the mindset of comfort in the chaos, the principle of learning to clean your own weapon first, and what’s happening in the renewable energy space. Plus, how to create and pull off a spin-off.
Erik Schiemann was born in a small town in Minnesota.
It was a great environment. He was fortunate to have those parents which instilled in him that he was capable of anything he wanted to do, and to go out and do it.
For Erik that meant aspiring to get out and explore what else existed beyond the borders of his small town. To go out on his own, without his support network.
Also being patriotic he obtained a four-year scholarship in the Army ROTC. That made him a commissioned officer in the United States Army.
He attended Michigan State, where he initially thought he wanted to become a lawyer. However, his senior ROTC officers who would evaluate his summer training believed he would be a great infantry officer instead. They shipped him off to Korea.
Becoming Comfortable In The Chaos
The Army landed Erik in the DMZ between South and North Korea in a tense time between the two countries.
He was there living with his infantry soldiers. He grew mentally, physically, emotionally, and as a leader. He went on to serve in Afghanistan and Iraq as well.
In these environments, you learn to lead. You learn to assess and navigate risks, how to act in the face of uncertainty and risks, take your team there, and be willing to learn and adapt in the field.
Schiemann says it “shaped my ability to now be comfortable making the big decisions with minimal data in taking that leap.”
Once you’ve come from operating on limited data in life and death situations like that, any decisions you have to make in your professional career, and in starting and growing a business, are far less intimidating. They aren’t going to kill you.
Having that comfort in the chaos of running and leading a business can make it all come much easier. It can be a great asset in decision-making and moving fast.
In fact, this is so important and pivotal that Erik’s top piece of business advice before starting a business is to have that confidence among the uncertainty.
He says, “Hang in there. It will all work out. Just because you have a plan doesn’t mean it’s the plan that’s actually going to be the way it goes.” Yet, he says “It’s going to be okay.” Looking back you’ll be able to see how things worked out, despite your anxiety and doubt in the moment. Believe in the long game.
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