Part IV: Do A Selfie. Do You Have The Right Stuff?
So far, In part 1 of our series on entrepreneurship, you determined your non-negotiables – those persons, places, things, and times that you are not willing to compromise or relinquish.
In part 2, we learned about some data resources and web sites to help you ferret out the competition.
Then, in part 3, we discussed the importance of narrowing your focus and starting small.
But perhaps we should have started with a more essential question: Do you have the ‘right stuff,’ the personality profile that matches the entrepreneurial persona? Entrepreneur gurus agree on a common bank of personality qualities that are reliable predictors of entrepreneurial success. In fact, five specific groups of traits that seem to characterize the successful entrepreneur.
- 1. Thrives on uncertainty and ambiguity, and has a high degree of risk tolerance
The entrepreneur accepts and embraces the risk vs. reward reality, with an unwavering conviction that toleration for risk is directly tied to one’s probability for success. In a word, the greater the risk, the greater the potential reward. S/he is resilient in his/her experience that innovation is sometimes messy, unpredictable, and uneven, and has the ability to bend without breaking.
- 2. Is passionate and optimistic about his/her beliefs and life around them
The entrepreneur does what s/he loves and loves what s/he does. S/he not only sees the glass as half full, s/he derives satisfaction in finding new ways to fill the glass to the brim with new and exciting possibilities. The entrepreneur is driven by a clear and compelling sense of purpose. Apathy, indifference, boredom, and pessimism are not part of the entrepreneur’s lexicon or frame of reference.
- 3. Is goal oriented, decisive, persistent, and tenacious
Entrepreneurs are not just ‘idea’ people, they are doers. While others idly persist in ‘talking the talk,’ the entrepreneur concentrates on ‘walking the talk.’ And s/he does so in the midst of naysayers, failure, obstructionists, and setbacks. In fact, the more resistance an entrepreneur meets, the more determined s/he is to persevere to bring an idea to fruition.
- 4. Is willing to listen and learn, has great communication and people skills, and values others as his/her greatest natural resource
S/he grasps the importance of knowing how to listen for understanding, how to sell his/her product or service to potential financial backers as well as clients. As a keen student of human nature, the entrepreneur has honed his/her innate leadership skill to inspire and motivate. S/he is secure enough in his/her own self-worth to recruit the best and the brightest as collaborators.
- 5. Sees opportunities where others see problems
The entrepreneur embodies the adage, “Those who say it can’t be done should get out of the way of those who are doing it.” Failure is not an option. It’s not a question of whether something can be accomplished, but rather a challenge as to how it can be brought to successful fruition. The entrepreneur thrives on solving problems, on shattering traditional paradigms and disrupting the status quo.
Do you recognize a ‘selfie’ in the above description? If so, proceed upward and onward. Just a parting word of caution from a self-described non-entrepreneur. To paraphrase a quote from Tom Hanks’ role in the film, “A League of Their Own”, as he was responding to the complaints of one of his team about how difficult the life of a female ball player was, he said, “Yes, it’s hard! It’s supposed to be hard. If it weren’t hard, everyone would do it! Hard is what makes it great!”
Undoubtedly, every successful entrepreneur would respond with an unequivocal ‘Yes!’
Dr. Marie Langworthy is a retired educator and current author/editor. Through her online business, Super Writing Services (http://www.SuperWritingServices.com), she specializes in “writing it right”–the way you, the client, want to say it. Her recently co-authored and published book, SHIFTING GEARS to Your Life and Work After Retirement, is available on Amazon.com and on the Shifting Gears website (http://www.ShiftingGearstoYourLifeandWorkAfterRetirement.com). Marie is a contributor to Boomer-related publications, web sites, and blogs, and is available for interviews on the timely and broad range of Boomer retirement issues.