Typically, when an entrepreneur has a good idea, there are at least five other people trying to do the same thing. What sets successful entrepreneurs apart from the unsuccessful ones is grit—the ability to continue working toward a goal no matter how hard it gets or how long it takes. Talent, intelligence, and even education does not guarantee success. Of course, talent, perfect skills and qualifications can help your entrepreneurial efforts, but experience tells us that entrepreneurs (and people in general) succeed because they demonstrate extraordinary grit to reach their dreams.
Calvin Coolidge, the 30th President of the United States, summed it up pretty well when he said:
“Nothing in the world can take the place of Persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. The slogan ‘Press On’ has solved and always will solve the problems of the human race.”
Here are inspiring things entrepreneurs with grit do day in and day out that propel them to success.
1. They believe in themselves.
Let’s face it, entrepreneurs enter a world where there are vastly more failures than successes. To succeed, they have to believe in themselves. They have to believe that their ideas and businesses will defy the statistics and become success stories. This is not to say that entrepreneurs with grit have all the answers, rather it is to say that they have great self-confidence and belief that they have what it takes to make it.
2. They work tirelessly.
Entrepreneurs with grit work tirelessly day in and day out with an unwavering resolve to finish the task at hand despite the doubters, detractors and distractions. This tenacity to keep going even when the odds are stacked against them is the key to their success. It’s not about striving for perfection, but rather persevering when others quit. Work comes first and the payoff comes later… often much later.
3. They demonstrate great courage.
Entrepreneurs with grit know that failure is an integral part of success. They, therefore, do not fear failure or shy away from trying new things and taking calculated risk. In fact, they are constantly trying new things, testing new systems, adopting new technology. Sure, they stumble sometimes, but they always get back up again. Risking takes courage. They risk because it is through trying that one learns what works and what doesn’t work. It is through trying that one gains experience and makes progress.
4. They remind themselves of their goals.
Entrepreneurs with grit constantly remind themselves of their purpose and goals lest they forget and lose their way. This constant self reminder of their core objectives is what motivates them to push past the cacophony of distractions and naysayers along the way. Positive self talk empowers them to push past failures, disappointments, fatigue and many other challenges on the way. This is how they manage to never lose sight of their mission, or what brings them true joy and happiness in business and life.
5. They maintain a positive attitude.
Entrepreneurs with grit choose to be positive no matter what. They are always brimming with optimism and see opportunities in challenges. A positive attitude allows them to let go of setbacks encountered along the way and move forward with hope and optimism that all will work out well in the end. Significantly, a positive attitude, bright outlook on life and hopeful enthusiasm is contagious. It is the glue that holds the operation of teams and businesses together when all is not going well.
6. They single-task.
Sometimes we assume “more is more”—taking on more things produces more results, but it is clearly not true. Studies show that we are not the brilliant multitaskers we think we are. Our brains are simply not capable of handling multiple tasks at once as optimally as we would want, which is why entrepreneurs with grit pick one project at a time and work on it. Prioritizing and staying focused on one thing at a time boosts their efficiency and productivity tenfold. They get more done better this way.
7. They seek the counsel of others.
Entrepreneurs with grit have respect for other people’s opinions and judgments, especially those who have gone before them. They also have the humility and open-mindedness to seek the counsel, advice and help of others when they need it. Former Skype CEO Tony Bates says one of the most exceptional facts about Silicon Valley is that competitors frequently come together to solve problems and seek moral support. While this doesn’t necessarily mean that people should divulge intellectual property, says the UK transplant, entrepreneurs should never be afraid to ask questions of their colleagues.
8. They learn from every experience.
Every failure, every mistake is a learning opportunity for entrepreneurs with grit. They pick lessons from their own experiences and the experiences of others, both good and bad, and use those lessons learnt to inform their actions going forward.
As Brian Chesky, CEO of Airbnb, emphasizes, “The most important thing you can learn how to do is to learn…”
Unfortunately, people tend to stop learning as they grow older. But not entrepreneurs with grit. Entrepreneurs with grit never stop learning. They are constantly seeking new information and adding to their reservoir of knowledge for success.
9. They stay the course.
Entrepreneurs with grit toil away quietly, improving their skills, product and service through focused hard work. When others jump from one shiny idea to the next and are derailed from their core goals by fads in their industry, entrepreneurs with grit stick to their course. They don’t abandon ship halfway through the journey; rather they modify systems as necessary and try creative new strategies when one tactic doesn’t work. They make smart plans and follow through to completion.
10. They distinguish good grit from bad.
Some people sacrifice too much in the name of working hard to improve the future such that their families and colleagues feel abused or neglected. Conscientious entrepreneurs with grit, however, balance things out so that more people benefit and fewer people suffer as the result of their efforts. And they always, always create time in their busy schedule to spend quality time with their family and close friends.