Turns out your attitude is the most important factor for leveraging your failures and becoming a successful entrepreneur. Not personality. And not character. Oh sure, whether you are outgoing or risk averse, full-to-the-brim with new ideas or resilient – can all make a difference.
Vince Fowler is a Calgary-based leadership coach, speaker and owner of Vested Interest Group. His coaching contracts often begin with a personality test which he explains is simply a self-awareness tool. He uses the DISC system, which analyzes responses to a series of questions and places you in one of four personality quadrants: dominant, inspiring, supportive, or cautious.
“You can be a successful entrepreneur regardless of which quadrant you’re in,” reports Fowler, “It’s true more entrepreneurs fall into the dominant quadrant, but that’s not what determines their success.”
Your birth determines your personality, your experiences develop your character, but your attitude is a choice. Every successful entrepreneur, according to Fowler, will choose an abundance of the following five key attitudes.
Entrepreneurship is not for the faint of heart, says Fowler. While it’s true there are times of joy and fun, enthusiasm and energy, it is also a rough, dark and scary journey. Most of the entrepreneurs that quit do so because they don’t have the stomach to get past those dark days. If you’re a successful entrepreneur, you can choose to see past the pain.
When you have clarity of purpose, you will always have the confidence to execute. That means you’re willing to put up with lots of discomfort – emotional, financial, sometimes even physical – to do what you know you have to do. Fowler paints a picture to demonstrate this point. If there’s a fire in your house and you live on the second floor, you know what you need to do to survive: you jump, even though you may break a leg. You take the risk because you have clarity of purpose: I must survive this fire. Without clarity of purpose, you will not inspire staff, or potential clients, or even vendors. They will walk. And your business will fail.
Being a successful entrepreneur means making decisions and acting without the luxury of having all the facts. Sometimes very few facts. If you’re the type of person who prefers not to make your move without knowing all the variables, you’ll have a hard time moving your business forward. And moving it forward is the key: go north, or go south, it doesn’t matter. But standing still will get you nowhere. Let’s take the decision of firing someone, for example. Fowler is clear. “Do they align with your values or not? If not, they’ve gotta go. Now, before they do more damage to your brand.”
Relevant data simply has to be reviewed. Every time you execute there is a result. If you don’t pay attention to the data in that result, and compare it with the data from previous results, then how can you measure your progress or make changes?
“If people don’t pay attention to data I don’t see how they’re going to be competitive,” says Fowler. “I don’t see how they’re going to win and I don’t see how they’re going to achieve what they say they want to achieve.”
Failure is the currency with which success is bought. If you do not fail, you will not learn. If you do not learn, you will not succeed.
“The entrepreneur’s mantra should be ‘I eat failure for breakfast’”, quips Fowler, “There is significant failure in entrepreneurship, in start-ups, in scaling a business, because we are always coming up with new ideas. Innovation is just a way of asking for problems.”
Fowler himself took a failure-riddled road to his current happy-entrepreneur status. Fired three times, he thought for a time that he was broken because he could not stay employed.
Why can’t I make things work? Fowler asked himself. “I’d get frustrated or bored, or both, and either I’d get fired, or I’d quit. Since working on my own, I’ve been the happiest man on the planet.”
More on this and other business topics can be found in our latest book, Rock Your Business: Three Simple Steps, One Giant Leap to Success for Your Startup, available now on Amazon.
Originally posted on www.TroyMedia.com.
Boni is co-founder of Ingenium Books and an author, editor, and ghostwriter. She also manages communications and media for the Alliance of Independent Authors. As an award-winning former Canadian television reporter, news anchor, producer, and talk show host, working under the names Boni Fox and Boni Fox Gray, Boni covered politics, government, the economy, health, First Nations, and crime. She won several Canadian Association of Broadcaster (CAB) awards and a Jack Webster Award for best documentary. Boni also held senior management roles in government, leading teams responsible for editorial, issues management, media relations, strategic communications planning. Boni is co-author of Rock Your Business: 26 Essential Lessons to Start, Run, and Grow Your New Business From the Ground Up.
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