When something is ingrained in us, it becomes a lens through which we see the world. Is it fair to think that an engineer sees a city differently than you or I would? How could a musician not find music in their day-to-day activities? Maybe we cannot find the hidden symphonies in our commutes or appreciate fully the architectural feats that surround us, but I believe entrepreneurs have unique qualities that position us for success well beyond our businesses.
Fortune Favors the Bold
Entrepreneurs are often seen as confident; assured in their actions. Naturally, this is the case for some. However, the majority of successful entrepreneurs got to where they are by ignoring a voice booming inside themselves to “Wait!”
In my career, I tried to prepare myself as best I could for my next step but I always had to take a leap of faith to some degree. There is never going to be a perfect time or situation that is a guaranteed win. For any significant opportunity, there is almost always a risk. This spirit allows entrepreneurs to face tough decisions in their lives. Some people have a tendency to agonize over even the most minute choices. Picking out a place to eat dinner can devolve into an hour-long dialogue in which each party wants the other to choose. You will not have this problem with me. Just as in business, you may rethink your decision, but an entrepreneur is ready to roll with the punches and to make course corrections as the results of the decision unfold.
Life Gives You Lemons
The ability to maintain forward motion in the face of the multitude of inputs that come from running a company is a given for all entrepreneurs. When his board fired him from the company he founded, Steve Jobs could easily have decided that his life as an entrepreneur was not meant to be. Instead, he went on to build another company and eventually found himself back at the helm of Apple. These same circumstances might cause many to accept defeat. Instead, Jobs stayed nimble; he knew that whatever happened, his was not going to be a story of failure.
This entrepreneurial focus and perseverance can bring big benefits to life away from your business. Life loves throwing curveballs and it behooves you to learn how to hit them. So, you did not get into the school you wanted or an opportunity requires you to move across the country? Guess what? This happens to countless people every day. The good news is that adaptability can be learned. The more you train yourself to see possibility in the curveballs, the more you will adapt to hitting singles, doubles, and even home runs.
All in the Family
Businesses across the country describe their organizations as a family. At worst, this is lip service. At best, these are corporate cultures in which the team respects one another and holds each other accountable. If you are in a leadership position, it is up to you to instill this mindset and to be the role model for it in your company.
The family that I created as an entrepreneur has made me a better parent in many ways. If I do not set clear goals and expectations at work, I cannot be disappointed or surprised when my team falls short. The same holds true at home. Framing expectations as a dialogue will make your family and your team feel valued.
And, rewarding employees is not necessarily a conversation about dollar amounts. I have found that non-monetary rewards that may take only a few moments of my time are appreciated beyond measure. A handwritten note or a personal call after a team member leads a particularly effective meeting is a small act on my part but immensely valued by the team member. A sense of gratefulness and saying thank you are often in short supply in businesses and in life. I make every effort to place these traits at the core of our company’s culture and to remember it every time I open the front door at home.
An entrepreneur’s traits have such value in both their business and personal lives. It is my hope that they recognize what they have to contribute in both arenas!