In 2001 I discovered I was a much
better entrepreneur than I was a corporate ladder climber. As I turned
in my 2-week notice at Motorola after 10 years, I was ecstatic to
finally be my own boss. Within 18 months I was broke, frustrated,
overwhelmed and doubting my ability to be successful as a business
Then, it hit me.
I was trying to build success the way I showed up as an employee. I
had not developed a successful set of character traits to succeed on my
own. So I began to study hundreds of extraordinary entrepreneurs from
all walks of life in a “success modeling project” and discovered that
there are 7 common character traits they share.
1. Clarity of Purpose.
Knowing what to direct our energy, focus and resources on is only
possible when we are clear about our purpose. What are we here to
accomplish? What has to be done right now? If you aren’t clear, then you
will end up spinning around in your head and feel overwhelmed. When
you have a clear sense of purpose, you can easily determine what to
invest in, what to spend time on, and what tasks are the highest
priorities in the moment.
2. Discipline to Say No.
Saying no to distractions and bright shiny objects creates more space
for what’s important. Many of us have this false belief that saying no
will limit what we can have. Or because we don’t really know what we
do want, we say yes to everything hoping at some point the magic “a-ha”
will reveal itself. Saying no means we can have more of what we really
want – because we have made it a practice to keep out what isn’t
serving us so there is room for having what we do want. Practice having
the discipline to say more yes only to the things that feel 100% on
track…and “maybe” to the rest. Create a system to evaluate and filter
out what doesn’t make sense.
As entrepreneurs we are often faced with complicated decisions,
unpleasant interactions and gut-wrenching choices. Having confidence
helps us have the gumption to do the right thing – even when it’s hard.
Confidence comes from feeling clear, energized, skillful, supported and
aligned with the appropriate resources. If you find yourself holding
back or fearful of taking action, you might need a confidence boost! One
way to get a boost of confidence is to gather the facts – what is real
vs. what you might be “making up” in your head. Consider making a list
of the facts so your emotions don’t get the best of you.
4. Take Calculated Risks.
An entrepreneur can only grow by taking risks – often into unknown
territory. But they aren’t blind risks…they are calculated based on
priorities and known risks. Priorities are the things that you need the
most right now – cash flow, team support, credibility, an urgent
project, etc. A calculated risk is a decision you make to move towards a
goal, even if you don’t know how it will work out, because at this
point it aligns with the criteria you’ve established for success. If you
follow entrepreneurs who have a track record of extraordinary success,
you’ll notice they don’t always have clarity on how a decision will
work out, but they make consistently good decisions. Learn how to build
your own decision making formula for success!
5. Ruthless Leverage.
Entrepreneurs burn themselves out when their success depends solely
on them. Leverage is a way of looking at your business growth
opportunities to impact and succeed through systems, delegation,
replication and automation. The degree to which we choose to use
leverage is the degree to which we can grow. Extraordinary entrepreneurs
typically have a big vision – bigger than anything they can pull off
alone – so they will align with others who can implement their ideas
Deep inside of your subconscious mind, you have a congruency
barometer – is this task, project, opportunity or business model good
for me, the people I serve and the world around me? When your congruency
barometer doesn’t perceive a fit, you will sabotage your progress. In
order to make big leaps into unchartered waters, extraordinary
entrepreneurs have to have a “fit” between the direction they are
heading and what they value in life. These factors often include the
time you have for family or how much work you think a project will take
will take or whether you believe you can pull off the vision. Whatever
it is, get congruent and you’ll notice a huge shift in your results.
7. Possibility Attitude.
Do you sort for why things won’t work…or why they will? Many people who are natural problem solvers tend to see all the reasons why something won’t work …
“I’ve tried it before”
“That’s too hard”
“How will I pay for it”
Extraordinary entrepreneurs recognize that all things are possible –
it’s their attitude towards the goal that has to shift. When you
believe you can accomplish anything you “sort” ideas and opportunities
differently. Someone who has a limited filter typically rejects 99% of
new ideas. Someone who sees everything as a possibility only rejects
what isn’t in alignment. Which one are you?