I am often asked what is the most important characteristic of an entrepreneur. It's akin to asking what DNA is and trying to explain it in one simple thought, rather than accounting for the complex and unique structure of individual strands. I find it a very difficult question to answer because the response is complicated – just like most entrepreneurs.
Truth is there are many characteristics you need to be in order to be a successful entrepreneur. You need to be Passionate. Purposeful. Focused. Driven. Ambitious. Unrelenting. Courageous. The list goes on. And ultimately it's a list that's as unique as the makeup of all human beings.
There are many challenges you will face as an entrepreneur that will test your DNA and whether you have what it takes. If you've built the right organization you will be constantly challenged in the decisions you make. Decisions that you will often make, by the way, in the absence of any experience, knowledge or true depth of the problem you are solving. You will be asked to do the impossible on no budget. To not only take yourself out of your own comfort zone, but also to lead others into the unknown at precisely the same time as you are trying to chart your own path. There's no recipe – although there is much theory.
The best learning, I have found, is in the stories and lessons from people who have been in the trenches of building their own businesses. They are the soldiers on the front lines who can tell you precisely what they have encountered and how they managed to take the hill. They can communicate how they accessed their own unique DNA to overcome the battles they faced. I believe that these stories, and this rich field of knowledge is untapped – one that we here at YouInc are working hard to deliver to you. I am a huge believer that when you really internalize what someone is sharing, you learn exponentially from his or her experiences. I love this quote, which always reminds incorporate the lessons from others into my decisions:
"Don't read a book and be a follower; read a book and be a student." - Jim Rohn.
Often, we are pigheaded or too embarrassed to say we don't know the answer. And we fail because we don't take the time to see what others have done previously in an effort to avoid the mistakes they have made. Now of course we do need to make our own mistakes in order to learn and test ourselves. And to fail is really helpful to your growth as an entrepreneur. Sometimes you will embark down a road and stumble along the path. But it's how you treat the misstep that really counts.
Just think about paying what you learned forward when you trip up. Be unashamed to tell others. I like to think of entrepreneurs as Columbus – finding out what the world is really like and charting the path so others can explore after us. Collectively, we can add colour and texture to the landscape of what we have seen and done.
Business is a constant battle. A battle that is not about just facing down your competition but about the internal battle of testing your own mettle to find out what is at the heart of your DNA. You instantly become the General when you lead a business. Problem is you haven't necessarily been to boot camp yourself. So take the time to share, learn and grow by reading about and listening to what other entrepreneurs have to say. They may just stop you from going down a road that is a dead-end and steer you onto a path that leads to the Stars.