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These 7 Behaviors Prove That You’re A Born Entrepreneur

These 7 Behaviors Prove That You’re A Born Entrepreneur

Have you always felt like you were destined for more? Like you were meant to strike out and do your own thing? That’s how I’ve always felt. I wasn’t much interested in fitting into society, but was more focused on how I could change it. My earliest memory of entrepreneurship was coming up with the idea to sell balloons to my friends at school. I seem to recall that I would sell them for $2.50. Unfortunately, I wasn’t as intelligent as I was ambitious. I still remember trying to cram a blown-up balloon into my school bag and wondering how I was going to fit in more than one. Fast forward about 20 years and I’ve still got that itch. The company I work for was recently acquired by a huge, billion-dollar corporation. It made me think: Do I want to subject myself to the whims of forces out of my control? The answer was “no”. I felt like I could be an entrepreneur, but I had to model myself after other people who have made it. Here are the seven behaviors I discovered that make people born entrepreneurs:

1.  Never felt as interested in buying things as I did in working out how they were being sold

No matter the craze: Apple products, mobile games, clothes, sneakers, or luxury goods, I couldn’t get sucked in. Instead, I watched on the sidelines as other people couldn’t help themselves and shelled out their hard-earned cash to buy something they couldn’t live without. I was more fascinated how companies and brands did this. What made them so attractive? How did their customers feel after acquiring their products? How did they make them feel this way? I was hell-bent on understanding this.

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2. An insatiable hunger to learn more about people and what makes them take action

I’ve always been interested in people and what makes them tick. There’s this quote which is often attributed to Einstein that I love: “Computers are incredibly fast, accurate, and stupid; humans are incredibly slow, inaccurate, and brilliant; together they are powerful beyond imagination. ”Our brilliance comes from our minds. They can sometimes fail us when we most need them to work, but they have already gotten us this far. Having said this, there are numerous “loopholes” which make us susceptible to triggers that can make normally very rational people behave irrationally. This fascinates me. It’s what makes people consider that something is a bargain if they see a “SALE” sign next to it, even though they may not know what the original price was. If it fascinates you too, then you could be a born entrepreneur.

3. Refusal to settle and accept that this is all there is to life

When I commute to work I try to block myself from the wave of dreariness that hits me every time I board the train. Everyone looks bored and is trying to distract themselves from the reality that they have created. When I surreptitiously peek at their phones it’s always the same culprits: Facebook, Candy Crush, Instagram, envy, instant gratification, and jealousy. This is not how life’s meant to be lived. I don’t have any of those apps on my phone. Don’t get me wrong. Some days I just want to forget the world and get lost in a game. The problem is when it happens every single day, without knowing it you’re conditioning your brain to get stuck in a rut. Once you’re there it’s hard to get out.

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Entrepreneurship is about getting out of your comfort zone every single day. The only thing that’s certain is that there will almost always be a new challenge to throw you off balance. If you don’t like that then the routine of a regular job probably suits you.

4. Have a high emotional intelligence

Being an entrepreneur is less about being smart and more about knowing how to manage your own emotions. Time and time again we see people who have no formal education coming out on top simply because they possess grit and the courage to keep the dream alive. While this might seem simple, it’s not easy. Think about Colonel Sanders trying to find a kitchen that would cook his Kentucky Fried Chicken. 1,009 times he was told “no” before he found a place that would accept his recipe, and now look at the legacy he has left: thousands of jobs and happy customers all over the world. He might not have considered himself an entrepreneur, but in every sense of the word, he was. Would you take 1,009 “no’s”? I’m not even sure I would. Think hard about this before you decide to venture out.

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5. Constantly having ideas of ways to improve existing products

I can’t help it. When I see products I have to analyze them and see whether they can be improved in some way, shape, or form. Sometimes it’s not even the product. It’s the marketing and advertising. If it’s done poorly and doesn’t accurately communicate the benefits it drives me up the wall. This circles back to a desire to understand people. If there’s no interest in people, there’s no interest in their problems. That’s reflected in the product. People don’t want something cool and shiny. They want their itches scratched.

6. Unafraid to lead, be unpopular, and buck the trend for the greater good

This is something a lot of people can’t handle. Too much of their self-worth rests in the basket of other peoples’ opinions. Of course, this is all in their heads; people will respect you more if you tell them “no” sometimes. The difference here is when you’re an entrepreneur and trying to change people’s opinions or behaviors, you’re doing it on scale which is exponentially more difficult. Entrepreneurs are about creating value through new concepts. Sometimes it takes months- maybe years- for acceptance of a concept. That’s why patience and perseverance in the face of rejection are important traits in entrepreneurs. If you aren’t able to do something by yourself for a period of time before it becomes popular, entrepreneurship may not be the right avenue for you.

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7. Great keeper of habits

Entrepreneurs are able to fall in love with boredom and compound consistent, hard work every day. Too often the romantic aspect of entrepreneurship is emphasized, while the hard work involved is overlooked. Yes, entrepreneurship can sometimes provide stomach flips but a lot of the work is also dull and uneventful. For example, you might do a lot of cold calling trying to find customers. Not only can this be nerve- wracking, it’s also dull. In the early days if it’s just you on your own, you might have to do a lot of the writing, coding, or designing yourself, which is hard work and can be monotonous. Entrepreneurship isn’t for people who can’t focus and stick to tasks. Keeping good habits is the fuel that supports the belief that you can create something worthwhile that will benefit society.

How many of these seven behaviors do you possess? Do they reaffirm that you are (or are not) a born entrepreneur?

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Last Updated on April 22, 2021

How to Work Hard the Smart Way: 4 Daily Rituals to Follow

How to Work Hard the Smart Way: 4 Daily Rituals to Follow

Habits are what sets an average leader apart from a great leader. We can argue that talent is the biggest factor; we may debate how the amount of charisma sets the two apart. Yet, if you were to show me what you believed to be a great leader, I can show you the habits that made her/him great. Great leaders have great habits and know how to work hard the smart way.

Developing Great Habits Is Hard Work

In my early college days, I had spent a lot of time learning how to play the trumpet. Playing the trumpet took time and discipline. I had some natural talent, but not enough to hide my lack of ability. My trumpet teacher was a man of discipline, and there was no doubt he had talent. What stood to me was his work ethic. He had to be one of the hardest working mentors that I had the privilege of working with.

One afternoon, I was in his office getting ready for my weekly trumpet lesson. As I was preparing, my eyes scanned the room and saw that there were quotes all over his office. My eyes rested on one quote that forever changed my thinking about my playing. It was a quote from my high school basketball coach Tim Notke that would become popular through professional athletes Kevin Durant and Tim Tebow:

“Hard work beats talent when talent fails to work hard.”

Hard work trumps talent. The key to success is not found in your talent or ability. Talent and ability are necessary, but they are not the primary factors. They are supporting roles in the story you are writing.

Ultimately, hard work is the key to your success. A good work ethic creates the momentum that propels you forward towards your goals.

Motivation Is Not the Answer

How many times have you seen someone go to a conference, get inspired, and then come home and do nothing?

If motivation were the answer, the world would have transformed hundreds of times over. Yet, when we look out our doors or turn on the news, we do not see a utopian society.

We have thousands of people who become inspired but lack the work ethic to apply anything they have learned. Time and time again frustration creeps in. We are so motivated and inspired by what we see but fail to put in place the things that would change our lives.

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Frustration happens when the gap between what you expect to be true and what is true gets bigger. Motivation tends to create an expectation that is not rooted in reality. We want to take on the world but cannot get off Netflix long enough to do so.

Motivation is not the answer, but working hard is. Good habits and routines that produce success are the byproducts of a strong work ethic. The habits and routines we create and follow are the foundation on which we build a winning life.

How to Work Hard by Working Smarter

Here are 4 routines that will help you learn how to work hard and achieve your short term and long term goals.

1. Define What a Win Looks Like

In football, a player that crosses into the end zone gain points. In soccer, a player kicks the ball into the net to score. Hockey, lacrosse, and basketball are all the same. The player takes the object and moves it into the designated area to gain points. The team with the most points wins the game.

Why is it that we can define what a win looks like in sports, but we fail to do so in our leadership, our businesses, or our homes?

Learning how to work hard without setting a target is futile. It is insanity to work hard without having a clear direction to place your energy. I would argue that defining a win is one of the most important routines that a leader can have. Defining a win separates superficial activity from meaningful activity.

When I define a win, I know the goal line I have to cross[1]. Knowing where the goal line is informs me of the activity I have to engage in to cross it. Without a clear direction, I am spinning my wheels hoping that I will get to a destination I haven’t defined. It is like asking a GPS for directions but failing to input the destination.

4 Steps to Define a Win
  • Know the outcome you desire.
  • Declare the outcome in specific, meaningful terms.
  • Write the outcome down.
  • Set your activity list to only do that which will complete your goals.

Let me give you an example. 15 years ago, I started speaking professionally. As a young and naïve speaker, I thought winning meant that I had to get a reaction from the audience. If they cheered, smiled, or cried, I considered myself a winner. The problem was my lack of understanding of what a win looked like. As a seasoned speaker, my wins look different.

As of today, when I speak, I am not looking for any emotional reactions from the audience. I win if, and only if, I clearly communicated my point so that anyone hearing the talk can take it and apply it to their lives that day. That is how I define a win when I speak now.

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Create a habit of declaring a win. When you do, you will see your productivity soar and your encouragement increase. Pairing a hard work ethic with wise decisions creates victory. Stop being a mouse on a wheel that goes nowhere, and start being the captain of your fleet.

2. Evaluate Your Activity

Not all activity is equal. There are things you must do, things you need to do, and things we can either give away or delete. The greatest challenge of a leader is understanding the difference. Understanding what activity is busywork and what activity is mission work is pivotal.

Not only do we need to learn how to evaluate our activity, but we must make this a core routine in our arsenal of success. Stop working so hard on everything and start learning how to work hard on the right things.

Not every activity will move the needle forward for you. In fact, you were never meant to do everything yourself! Once we stop trying to be a martyr in our leadership, we can start looking at how to take things off our plates through delegation.

Based on the Eisenhower box, there are 4 things that we look at when deciding on which activities are important:

  • Do now
  • Plan to do it later
  • Delegate to someone else
  • Delete it

Powerful questions are the way you discover if the activity is right or not:

  • Does this activity move me towards or away from my goals?
  • Do I have to do this activity or can I give this activity away to someone else?
  • Does this activity have to be now right now or can it be scheduled for later dates?
  • Does this activity have to be done at all?

Evaluating the type of activity you engage in should be a routine that you do daily. Learning how to work hard should create progress. Having a system of evaluation and a routine to do it will help.

3. Prioritize Your Calendar

If you were to show me your calendar, I could show you why you are not further along. When you lack the routine of placing things on your calendar, two things happen.

First, what does not make it on your calendar does not get done.

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It is a simple truth that is often overlooked. Your calendar contains the power to change your life. Yet, we don’t use our calendars to their fullest potential.

“You will never change your life until you change something you do daily. The secret of your success is found in your daily routine.” -John C. Maxwell

Also, if you don’t mark you activities on your calendar, you are leaving it open to other’s priorities.

“The key is not to prioritize what’s on your schedule, but to schedule your priorities.” -Stephen Covey

Having a routine in your life where you place things on your calendar is pivotal to your success. This is not a routine one should overlook.

It’s time to take your leadership and business to the next level. It’s time to start putting your daily routines on your calendar, along with your priorities.

4. Reflect on Your Day and Plan the Next

We are all about the morning routine. Whatever that looks like for you, there should be a routine in the morning that sets you up for success.

Hard work starts when your feet hit the ground in the morning. Creating the habit of winning starts with the first thing you accomplish that morning. If you win your morning, you will win your day.

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Best Morning Routine to Prepare to Work Hard

    But how often have you heard people talk about an evening routine? Tomorrow is won the day before it happens. When you fail to plan your day, you may put your effort toward in the wrong things. Route replaces routine. Indecision replaces decisiveness. Losses replace wins. The discouragement will deflate your momentum and increases the chances of procrastination. That is why we set our schedule the night before.

    “Every battle is won or lost before it is ever fought.” -Sun Tzu

    Working hard doesn’t have to be hard work. It shouldn’t take much out of you learn how to work hard as long as you work smart. Having a time where you reflect on the day and set your priorities is the difference-maker.

    Use these questions to reflect on your day:

    • What went well?
    • What didn’t go well?
    • What can I change?
    • What do I need to start doing?
    • What do I need to stop doing?

    The Bottom Line

    Navigating through life is hard work. Yet, the work doesn’t have to be hard when you work smarter. When you create routines that support your mission, you create wins. Working hard, the smart way will tip the balance in our favor.

    Boxing legend Joe Frazier said:

    “Champions aren’t made in the ring; they are merely recognized there.”

    Champions put in the hard work behind the scenes. The world recognized them as a champion when they saw the results of the hard work. Right now, you are doing the work of creating a champion in yourself.

    That work is setting your routines in order because you now know that success flows from your daily routines. If you are not experiencing the success you desire, then it is time to change things up.

    More on Creating Healthy Routines

    Featured photo credit: Zan via unsplash.com

    Reference

    [1] The Balance Careers: Interview Question: “How Do You Define Success?”

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