Is there a formula for successful entrepreneurial endeavors?


Do you ever find yourself wondering how someone got so successful?  Perhaps they are half your age, ¼ the experience in life… but everything they touch exudes successful outcomes?  I have been a curious observer, partly because of my social science education – always looking for a pattern, a behavior, a core value that propels people to success.  Partly curious because I want that success for my life, my art, my business.

As usual, I have been reading a number of amazing articles, and books with the goal of answering this question.  I am not sure I discovered the “formula” or the “secret sauce” for success.  But what I have observed is that enterpreneurs share a number of core attitudes or disciplines.  Here are a few things gleaned from my reading:

  • Age is really just a number. Some people market using their youth, or old age… and if that works, go for it.  Some people can have an older age and be unteachable, unbendable, unchanging and exhibit lack of wisdom for business interactions, and some young guns can be sharp and wiser than their elders.  Age is just a number, not a measurement of successfulness, wisdom or skill.
  • Be a life long learner – Always grow, always learn, read, invest the time and effort into your skills. I try to skim the business journals weekly for thoughts, and I subscribe to several daily emails that distill headline articles and thoughts on business /entrepreneurialism, and catch up on my 30 minutes of quick reading while on the bus to work.   I read a quote in that I love, which sums up this idea “You don’t just need to be a master in your field, you need to be well rounded genius capable of talking about any subject whether it is financial, political or sports related.  Consume knowledge like air and put your pursuit of learning about all else.”
  • Develop a meteoric mind that is resilient – Train for your life as though it is a marathon… build up stamina and work harder, longer…. Keep your mind focused on the prize. We all get a bit tired at times, or lose our focus to distractions.  Some enterprenurs suggest that you take a pen and paper (ok, or your laptop, smartphone, ipad) and list distractions that come up…. This will help you to be mindful and recognize them and recognize as you wander off task.  Take a long hard look at your day, and how you are spending it to find those daily activities that waste your energy, your mind power, your strength.
  • Goals should be front and center – I remember the very first time I sat in the drivers seat of the car, with a very brave dad ready to teach me driving skills. “Always look forward- you may need the rear view mirror occasionally but you never drive constantly looking backward.”  Dad’s driving lesson is sound business advice…. Focus on the goals and drive in that direction.
  • Plan Big, Reach beyond what your capacity is for your goals – most successful people were desperate to get out of a bad situation and their initial dreams and goals were far beyond their scope. Dream big, plan big, and keep those plans in view.
  • Know yourself, believe in yourself – Every start is not guaranteed to succeed, but the difference between those who fail and those who succeed is perservierence, returning to the process, trying again, overcoming complex problems – driven by a fundamental belief that you can succeed.
  • Remain grateful – no matter what comes, keep yourself thankful for the opportunity to try, to do, to achieve that passion that drives you.
  • Watch your body language – I just watched a video about the difference in body language as it equates to job interviews. The idea of successful applicants was that they presented with a dominant stance, taking up lots of space.  (Conversely, hunkering in, trying to become as small as possible is deemed as negative, passive).
  • Seek opportunity to support the success of others. Surround yourself with successful people, and strive to help others achieve their success.  Mom was right when she told us “birds of a feather flock together.”

No doubt i could keep going with a longer list of qualities, attitudes and philosophies but these are the core.  And as i have spoken with successful people i have found many of these qualities true of them.  I am learning to build them into my repertoire as well!