Your entrepreneurial venture begins with you. Entrepreneurship is a challenging and rewarding path. Are you cut out for it? What will give you the ability to grow through failures, carry on when things get tough, boost your spirits in difficult moments, and ultimately achieve success? Although research on the psychology of entrepreneurs shows there is no single set of characteristics suggesting success, here are seven characteristics often shared by successful entrepreneurs.
Curiosity. Inquisitiveness is extremely common among successful entrepreneurs. Keep your mind active. Investigate how the world works and where things tie together. This will strengthen your ability to see things with a fresh perspective. Learn from achievers. Examine their lives and accomplishments. Note what made them great. Question what they did that you could do. Consider what you would do differently if you were in their position. Ask questions, check out competition, look for new ways to do things. View your surroundings as inspiration for value creation.
Commitment. While passion may lead you to start your own business, commitment will keep you going and allow you to persevere through every dilemma. The ability to withstand repeated rejection and disappointment is an essential part of an entrepreneur’s makeup. Successful entrepreneurs draw lessons from rejection, as well as prevent it from damaging their self-esteem. Deflect the rejection away from yourself and use it as an indication to fix flaws in your business ideas. Focus on comparing yesterday to today with an attitude of “look how far I’ve come.” When you see what you have achieved, it fuels motivation. It drives you to continue to moving forward. Continues to produce results. Helps you persevere.
Optimism. Despite challenges, successful entrepreneurs maintain a buoyant attitude. Being optimistic about a situation means approaching it as a possibility to be explored. When a problem occurs, an entrepreneur sees it as a learning opportunity. Build your confidence. Use the lessons taken from each situation to develop and refine your ideas. Be optimistic. Know that there is a solution to every complication.
Flexibility: We know that entrepreneurship is a challenging arena. Unexpected demands and problems appear constantly. To battle on, it helps to be flexible in your thinking so you can roll with punches, solve problems readily, and recover quickly from setbacks. To become more agile, build a structured critical approach to problem solving. Keep a journal and record your thoughts. List the challenges that you face — stumbling blocks or perceived limitations that prevent you from advancing. For each of these, one at a time, write down everything that you know about it. Ask yourself what you need to know. List all of your ideas and act on them, developing a time line to overcome this hurdle.
Ownership. Successful entrepreneurs have a high internal locus of control — they trust in their ability to determine their success. Entrepreneurs have an almost pathological need to control their own fate. They see that their own actions, decisions, and responses — despite what life throws at them — will make or break them. This means taking responsibility for doing the things that need to be done. Hone the understanding that you are in complete control of your responses to the experiences life throws at you. Build confidence that you can conquer and carry out your dream.
Leadership. As an effective entrepreneur, you must guide and motivate your team, empower them and lean on them for support. It is critical to share your vision in a way that inspires. Clear, compelling communication is key. By developing focus and involvement for the team, entrepreneurs have a greater chance of realizing their visions of greatness. Create your vision, your compelling call to action, and model it consistently.
Connection. If you think or act like you’re an island, you’re bound to fail. Entrepreneurs must break out of the silo that entrepreneurs often unknowingly build. Create a network, a tribe. Choose individuals who will help form the collaborative bonds needed to grow your idea. Make emotional connections that do more to generate effort than any financial reward could create. Cultivate strong ties to family, friends and colleagues. Take time to invest in the relationships that matter. And then fortify your ability and willingness to reach out for support when you need.
Self respect. Care for your body and mind as much as for your business. Take care of your self as a pillar of your daily practice. Three key areas to uphold are: Rest — get adequate sleep and time to renew; Exercise: walk, run, go to the gym, whatever you enjoy; and Diet: nourish your body with healthy choices and a few treats. Pleasure is important too. Tend to your body and spirit to be successful in your life.
Entrepreneurs see the world differently. Find and nurture your authentic self, heighten your awareness, and devote yourself to the pursuit of your idea. Develop these characteristics as part of who you are as aligned with where you want to go.