Going to work each day brings with it a series of events and experiences either mundane, mildly momentous or moving toward magnificent.Of course difficult days can be the opposite of these ranging from mediocre to complete mayhem. For the entrepreneur, these experiences can aggregate into what eventually becomes success or failure, including rejection and other missteps along the way, as well as momentary epiphanies and exultations when results exceed expectations. So it also goes with regards to both ends of the spectrum and our ongoing discussion of what traits an entrepreneur must have to survive – six of them. We’ve already covered the first three: 1) No requirement for previous experience but must have ability to pull in experts to balance this out, 2) Common sense plus willingness to break rules, 3) Knack for taking risks. You’ll want to read the details for each of these in my previous post. Let’s take on the last three characteristics now, keeping in mind the extremes I just mentioned — mundane or magnificent, success or failure – are scenarios the entrepreneur will most assuredly face and need to navigate to come out on top.
4. They Learn From Their Mistakes — Balancing the other side of cocky confidence, entrepreneurs must be humble enough to learn from their experience and failure. Not surprisingly, overconfidence can be a liability that muddles judgement, creates a misconception of control and can lead to lousy decisions. They must learn from their mistakes and – I’ll add — take into account input from others when crucial decisions are being made.
5. They Have the Passion to Persist – I pointed at passion earlier and there are plenty of studies to promote discussing it further. According to researchers at the University of Maryland, passion is a critical ingredient in growing a new, profitable organization, period. Passion ignites inspiration, endorses the dream and deep commitment to purpose which keeps industrialists forging forward and breaking through barriers. Think tenacity combined with “love what you do and love doing it.”
6. They Are Resilient in the Face of Failure — Resilience rounds out the list. To move forward passionate entrepreneurs must rebound from unexpected challenges and failures, learning from their mistakes and rebuilding. Examples are everywhere – consider Thomas Edison’s 10,000 tries needed to invent the light bulb or the rise and fall and rise again of Steve Jobs. Resilience is not letting failure define you but leveraging lessons which failure provides as an opportunity for a fresh approach.
Our entrepreneurial conversation began with my recounting a breakfast meeting I had with a former colleague who was thinking about starting his own business. Does my friend with the entrepreneurial flame burning inside his belly (it wasn’t the coffee) have what it takes to start his own venture? I believe he does. He’s highly knowledgeable and is carefully gauging what’s necessary to find success glowing and growing like an aspiring sunrise. His vision, passion and expertise are huge, his risk taking is relevant and rational. Good at breaking rules, he owns his mistakes. Hard work is part of his genetic profile, along with incredible resilience. Finally – if he was ever the last kid picked when dodge ball teams were divvied up he always showed up the next day to play again. That alone is massive. How about you? Is becoming an entrepreneur part of your future fortune? Are you ready to find out? Begin with an honest, self-assessment on the above traits then call up a business savvy friend or two and plan on meeting for breakfast.
Side note …Have you ever actually made the entrepreneurial leap? If you have, write to me and let me know what it took to get you to where you are today — your expertise, risks taken, passion pursued — it would be super to hear your experience first hand. My hat’s off to all business owners who forged ahead, dodged the failure bullet and made it work — well done!*
*excerpted in part and reprinted from Mary Elston management column with permission from Soundings Publications, LLC.