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How to Be Successful? The Stories of These 15 Entrepreneurs Can Give You Some Ideas

How to Be Successful? The Stories of These 15 Entrepreneurs Can Give You Some Ideas

Passion, motivation, the desire to take risks and confidence. These words define an entrepreneur. Perhaps these words makes you envision Steve Jobs and his black turtleneck. Maybe you see the iPhone as one of the most important ideas of all time. Or maybe when you think about an individual who brought a unique idea to the world and worked tirelessly until it changed life as we know it, you picture Thomas Edison.

Both Jobs and Edison are deserving of the Influential Entrepreneurial title, because both men impacted the world with new ways to communicate. But when I ask you to think of some of the most influential entrepreneurs in the last hundred years or so, would you have trouble listing more than two? Read on to learn about 15 of the most influential entrepreneurs.

15 Most Influential Entrepreneurs of All Time

Henry Ford

    Ford was born into a family of farmers, but he was always curious as to how things worked. After receiving a timepiece from his father as a teenager, Ford took the thing apart just to see if he could put it back together. Though Dyslexic, Ford knew he had a passion about knowing how things worked, and he was determined to do something about it.

    In 1891, Ford met with Thomas Edison (who was very intrigued by his auto-mobile ideas) who allowed him to use his warehouses to manufacture two vehicles. When he could, Ford built his own company so he could build the cars how he wanted to. Ford went on to build the Cadillac Automobile company, but he had terrible financial setbacks along the way. He believed in himself and didn’t let financial failures slow him down. Sales for the Ford group are now $190 billion.

    Oprah Winfrey

      Winfrey may be a household name because of her show and her magazines, but she’s accomplished so much more. After facing a tragic childhood and being very vocal about things she had experienced, Winfrey would gain fame in 1983 when she landed her own talk-show. While she was happy with the fame and financial success she was experiencing, she still had entrepreneurial skills. In 1988, she founded Harpo Studios. This business now has over 250 employees and is growing every year. Her personal wealth sits at a comfortable $2.7 billion.

      Larry Page

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        At just 37 years old, Page has a net worth of $15 billion! He’s the co-founder of Google. His parents were both computer science professors at the University of Michigan. He came from a wealthy family, so he was able to attend the best schools in order to complete his degree in Computer Engineering Sciences. He also earned a Masters in Computer Science from Stanford before meeting Sergey Brin in 1995.

        Brin was also a Stanford student, and the two became friends. In 1996, they went into business together and started Google Incorporated. Through networking, they were able to get financial backing from Andy Bectolsheim, one of the co-founders of Sun Microsystems. They would go on to be offered much more from tons of investors.

        Richard Branson

          Branson is a well-known British Industrialist, and you’ve probably seen him on commercials for the Virgin Group’s Virgin Atlantic Airways. Virgin Group spans across 360 different companies including Virgin Records, Virgin Galactic and even some charities. Branson was always of an entrepreneurial mind, as he started his first business venture in 1966 with Student Magazine. The next year, he opened his first charity, The Student Advisory Centre.

          He is heavily involved with all aspects of his company, which helps make him such a success, and part of why he’s on this list. He didn’t stop as soon as he was successful, he continued to work hard because he cares about the work he’s doing.

          Ariana Huffington

            Huffington was born in Athens, Greece in 1950 and is now one of the most professional and successful females within the blogging industry. Along with blogging, Huffington also wrote a biography on Maria Callas in 1981, and Picasso in 1989. She gained more attention in the early 90’s when she supported her ex-husband’s unsuccessful bid for the Senate.

            Always driven, she later founded the Huffington Post. This has spanned and grown and you may also recognize HuffPost Chicago, HuffPost New York, HuffPost Denver, and HuffPost Los Angeles. In 2010, she won the Webby award for the People’s Voice, and she was even named the second place winner in Time Magazine’s Best 25 Blogs of 2009.

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            Charles Kemmons Wilson

              Wilson is one of the most famous entrepreneurs in the hotelier business. Supposedly, he came up with the idea for his business after a road trip helped him see the need for quality hotels. He and his business partner created Holiday Inn of America. It franchised in 1957 and grew dramatically. In fact, by 1958, Wilson and Johnson had managed to create 50 different Holiday Inns all over the country. In just five years, there were 500! And just after a decade, that already impressive number would double to 1000.

              Wilson was a true entrepreneur, as he brought innovative ideas to the market which helped leverage the way things worked as well as adding financial pressure to traditional hotels and bigger competitors.

              Anita Roddick

                Roddick created the Body Shop in 1976 with only 15 products and loads of compassion. She had sourced the products from all around the world and was determined to give shoppers in the UK access to “Greener” products. She was so motivated and passionate about what she was doing, she was able to open store after store. As of 2003, she had built an empire of 1,980 stores serving more than 75 million customers in 50 countries. She sold her company to L’Oreal and made $1.03 billion on it.

                Jeff Bezos

                  Born in 1964, Bezos is the founder, chief executive officer and Chairman of the Board for Amazon.com. Bezos started as an Exxon engineer, but he had always been interested in science. He received an honorary doctorate in science and technology from Carnegie Mellon University in 2008 and graduated from Princeton. In 1994, after a trip from New York to Seattle, Bezos came up with the idea for Amazon. He was able to get backing and now Amazon is one of the most successful e-commerce sites in the world with a revenue of about $25 billion.

                  George Eastman

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                    You’ve probably heard of Kodak, but you probably haven’t heard of Eastman, even though he was the man who made it all happen. He founded the company in 1884, but he was more interested in creating than running the business. He hired Henry Strong as the president and in 1885, Eastman invented the roll film which was used for over 100 years.

                    Penny Streeter

                      Streeter was born in Zimbabwe in 1957, but she moved to the UK in the late eighties. After launching a recruitment business, she was left broke and homeless due to its failure. To add to her troubles, she was faced with a divorce at the same time.

                      Six years later, she decided she had nothing more to lose and started a recruitment business once more. This time, she created Ambition 24Hours and it sought to fill roles in nursing, social work, teaching, lecturing, and care-giving. In 2004, the company expanded into South Africa and in 2006, she made her first noticeable acquisition; the nursing services of South Africa. This was the largest staffing agency for nursing personnel. Streeter went from being broke to having a net worth of $117.80 billion.

                      Linda Bennett

                        Bennett truly worked her way from the bottom. Passionate about the clothing industry, she founded the luxury womenswear brand LK Bennett in the UK in 1990. She opened an accessories shop in Wimbledon with a small savings account and a bank loan. She managed to become an icon, creating shoes for the Duchess of Cornwall which she wore to marry Prince Charles.

                        In 2004, she tried to sell the business, but didn’t, as the asking price wasn’t met. Four years later she sold to a private equity firm called Phoenix Equity partners and Sirius Equity for around $110 million.

                        Madame C.J. Walker

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                          Walker died over 90 years ago, but she made an empire. Born Sarah Breedlove, Walker is known for being America’s first African-American entrepreneur, as well as one of the wealthiest of her time. Many women in the 18-1900s suffered from hair loss (thought to be due to a lack of plumbing and electricity which prevented bathing regularly). Walker recognized it was a problem and decided to make some home-made remedies.

                          They worked so well that she invested and created a business. The products were a huge success and stores across the country were selling her products. In 1908, she opened a college to train hair dressers, and in 1910 she started a factory. She would later become a teacher and lecturer, speaking to female entrepreneurs to help them find their own success.

                          Walt Disney

                            After being hired by the Kansas City film Ad Company, Disney learned how to make animations from cut-outs. He went on to have many successes and failures, but he continued to work on his animation knowledge. In 1932, he won an Academy Award for his efforts in animation. He is of course responsible for Disney Land and Disney World which are currently worth about $35 million.

                            Hans Christian Andersen

                              Anderson grew up poor, but a fortuneteller told him he would grow up to be famous. He tried and failed to become an actor and a singer, but the director of the Royal Danish Theatre took him under his wing and paid for his education. He was bullied at school and began publishing his writings after leaving. His fairy tales became famous and Disney has adapted most of them.

                              Michael Newton

                                Newton started a CCTV system in 1982 that monitored how long a person was at a bar. He introduced a line of multi-channel systems that were able to view a broad range of areas all at once in various locations. Now using this system, over 7 million images are recorded every second. In 1994, he made the move into the commercial airline industry and is now the CEO of the AD Aviation company.

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                                Last Updated on December 2, 2019

                                How to Develop Mental Toughness And Stay Strong

                                How to Develop Mental Toughness And Stay Strong

                                Are you the kind of person who wants to achieve massive success in your life? Do you have the mental toughness to make that happen?

                                I think we can all agree that no matter your ambitions, achieving success can be difficult; and over time, the daily grind can take a toll on your physical, mental, and emotional energy.

                                Achievers and high performers from all walks of life face ups and downs along the path to success—they face failure, burnout, discouragement, fatigue, self-limiting beliefs, stress, and so much more.

                                How do some people continually strive towards their personal goals year after year while others give up on them? How do those people stay strong and persevere when there is so much stacked against them?

                                Studies now show that mental strength is a critical key to success. If you haven’t read Angela Duckworth’s book Grit, you should. In it, she shows that “the secret to outstanding achievement is not talent but a special blend of passion and persistence she calls ‘grit.’” In other words, mental toughness plays a significant role when it comes to achieving goals.

                                Sometimes, our goals wear us down and leave us feeling exhausted. Other times, our goals get difficult, and success seems impossible, so we lose hope, become discouraged, and want to quit.

                                At its core, mental toughness is simply the ability to stick to something when the going gets tough. People with high levels of mental toughness can push beyond these obstacles and forge a path towards success while those with lower levels of mental toughness may abandon their dreams.

                                Want to know the good news?

                                No matter who you are, what you’ve been told, or what you currently believe, you can develop the mental toughness you need to be successful.

                                All you need to do is learn to develop a positive mindset, focus on your why, and utilize the people around you for support.

                                1. Develop a Positive Mindset

                                If you’re going to increase your mental toughness, the first thing you have to do is focus on building a strong, positive mindset.

                                According to the Cleveland Clinic, the average person has 60,000 thoughts per day. Of those, 95% of those thoughts repeat each day and, on average, 80% of repeated ideas are negative.[1]

                                That’s roughly 45,600 negative thoughts per day!

                                Carrying around these negative thoughts is like going on a hike in the mountains with a backpack full of rocks. The hike is hard enough on its own, but having extra junk weighing you down is a recipe for failure.

                                Sometimes, building mental toughness isn’t as much about building new strength as it is about saving your strength for the right tasks. Wouldn’t it be easier to dump the rocks out of the backpack instead of trying to get strong enough to carry the extra weight?

                                Absolutely!

                                But how can we learn to spot those 45,600 negative thoughts and get rid of them? How can we empty our metaphorical backpack?

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                                Well, it gets a whole lot easier if you know what you’re looking for. Some of the most prominent types of negative thoughts are self-limiting beliefs, all-or-nothing thinking, and dwelling.

                                Let Go of Self-Limiting Beliefs

                                It’s pretty hard to be mentally tough when you’re constantly beating yourself up. Self-limiting beliefs are any beliefs that hold you back in some way. Here are some examples:

                                “I’m not smart enough to…”

                                “I don’t have enough experience to…”

                                “I’ve tried that before, and it didn’t go well, so I must just be bad at…”

                                When we allow these self-limiting beliefs to flood our minds, negative self-talk runs rampant, and we crowd out our ability to think positively. We’re effectively working against ourselves.

                                If you want to keep your mind strong on your path to success, you have to overcome the self-limiting beliefs that are holding you back by realizing one key truth: self-limiting beliefs are thoughts, not facts.

                                When you recognize a self-limiting belief cropping up in your mind, quickly silence it by telling yourself that it’s not true and then back that up with some positive affirmations:

                                • “I am smart enough; I may just need to do some more research first.”
                                • “I may not have as much experience as someone else, but that’s not going to stop me from trying. I have enough experience to get started. I’ll figure the rest out on the way.”
                                • “Just because I failed at this last time doesn’t mean I’m going to fail this time. My past does not dictate my future.”

                                Get Rid of the All-or-Nothing Thinking

                                Another form of negative thinking that could be preventing you from building mental toughness is all-or-nothing thinking.

                                All-or-nothing thinking is the concept of thinking in extremes. You are either a success or a failure. Your performance was totally good or totally awful. If you’re not perfect, then you’re a failure.

                                But this isn’t true!

                                If you’re trying to lose 30 pounds and only lost 28, isn’t that still better than not losing any weight at all? I’d say so!

                                If you allow all-or-nothing thinking to rule your mind, you’ll be on cloud nine when you succeed, but you’ll beat yourself up when you “fail.” Acknowledging the shades of gray in between will allow you to see success more often and it will help you celebrate your smaller wins.

                                When you recognize an all-or-nothing thought, remember to look for the positive in the situation. What did you gain by trying? What would you have missed out on had you not tried? Could you do better if you were to try again?

                                Ditch the Dwelling

                                Self-Limiting Beliefs and All-or-Nothing Thinking can lead to a bad case of dwelling on the negative. If you want to build some mental toughness and keep your mind strong, you have to ditch the dwelling.

                                Every day, bad things happen to each of us, and while there’s nothing we can do to prevent that, we can control how we react to these situations.

                                When we dwell on our misfortunes, we waste massive amounts of energy that we could be using to achieve our goals. When this happens, we’re more likely to quit altogether.

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                                But that doesn’t mean you’re not mentally tough; it just means you’re misusing your energy.

                                The next time something bad happens, it’s important to allow yourself to feel the disappointment and frustration, but work on reducing the amount of time you dwell on the situation.

                                Easier said than done, right? Try these:

                                1. Call a friend or mentor and talk it through with them. Get some outside perspective on your situation.
                                2. Time block your dwelling by allowing yourself to dwell for no more than one hour.
                                3. Then, tell yourself to move on, that you’re human, and you’re allowed to make mistakes or experience setbacks.
                                4. If all else fails, find a good way to distract yourself until you can calm down and reexamine things with a clear mind.

                                The faster you can focus on the positives and move past the problem, the quicker you can get back to achieving success in your life.

                                Be Patient about the Process

                                No matter which negative thoughts tend to run around your mind, working to replace them with positive thoughts can take time.

                                Learning to spot self-limiting beliefs, all-or-nothing thinking, or dwelling is one thing, but learning to quiet those thoughts is another thing entirely.

                                If at first you don’t succeed, don’t fret. Instead, take a deep breath and try again. As you work towards improving your mindfulness and your mental toughness, remember that you’re going to get better with time.

                                To make things a little easier, it helps to connect with your purpose.

                                2. Connect with Your Purpose

                                One of the most critical elements to building mental toughness and keeping a strong and focused mind is having a strong ‘why’ for everything you want to do.

                                If you set out to achieve a huge goal that you don’t have a ‘why’ for, you’re going to find yourself distracted, discouraged, or disengaged as soon as you experience your first setback.

                                Think about the last time you were working on a goal or resolution and things weren’t going well, maybe you even wanted to quit. Perhaps you thought you didn’t have enough willpower. Maybe you told yourself that you didn’t have enough discipline.

                                Here’s the truth: you just didn’t have a strong enough why.

                                Simon Sinek has been spreading his message “Start with Why” across the globe.[2] In short, he says that:

                                “Your ‘why’ is the purpose, cause or belief that inspires you.”

                                One of the biggest drains on your mental energy is pursuing a goal or a task that you don’t have a ‘why’ for. This is when we tend to look for external motivation or question our willpower, but those aren’t the issues.

                                Often, we set goals because we like the idea of the goal, not the reality of the goal. Without connecting to our why, we can’t intrinsically motivate ourselves to achieve our most challenging goals.

                                Find Intrinsic Motivation

                                Intrinsic motivation is our innate desire to do something and it comes when we work towards something that satisfies ourselves above all else—not our parents or our bosses or our teachers.

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                                Let’s say you think you want to quit smoking because you know it’s bad for you, but you really enjoy smoking. If you don’t truly want to quit smoking, it’s going to be nearly impossible, regardless of your willpower or mental toughness.

                                But if you want to quit smoking because you just had a baby, and you don’t want your baby growing up around smoke, then that ‘why’ is going to give you intrinsic motivation. Intrinsic motivation is far more powerful than sheer stubborn willpower, and it’s far easier to maintain over the long haul.

                                If you’re trying to develop mental toughness, connecting a why to everything you want to achieve will reduce the effort and energy it will take to achieve those things. Once you’ve found a strong why for all of your goals, you’ll find that you’ll have significantly more energy to pursue your more difficult challenges.

                                3. Find Strength in Unity

                                The final aspect of developing mental toughness is embracing the idea that you’re not in this alone. It’s a fact, anyone who’s ever achieved success in anything didn’t do so alone.

                                Bill Gates didn’t build Microsoft alone. Oprah didn’t build her network by herself. Steve Jobs didn’t invent the iPhone without a team. Michelle Obama didn’t implement the “Let’s Move” campaign on her own.

                                Behind all of these successful people were countless other people who were there offering support, mentorship, guidance, and encouragement.

                                If you want to develop unmatched mental toughness, you need to understand that you don’t have to go it alone. Even the toughest Navy Seals have a team backing them up.

                                If you want to stay strong in your endeavors, you need to build a team of supporters who will step in and back you up when it counts.

                                Find a Mentor or Committee of Mentors

                                The benefits of having a great mentor are far too many to list, but to boil it down to the basics, a mentor is someone who will help show you the path to success.

                                A good mentor will help you discover your greatest strengths, spot and overcome your blind spots, and work through your weaknesses.

                                If you’re struggling to deal with your internal negativity or with finding your purpose, talk it through with a mentor. Sometimes we lose the forest for the trees, and a mentor can help us take a step back and see the bigger picture.

                                Here’s how to find the right mentor for yourself: How to Find a Mentor That Will Help You Succeed

                                Recruit Some Cheerleaders

                                If you want to stay strong, it never hurts to have a group of personal cheerleaders. Unlike mentors who are going to jump in and help you address your problems, a group of cheerleaders will help keep your spirits up.

                                Even if you have a strong ‘why’ and a positive mindset, it’s nearly impossible to maintain a positive attitude 100% of the time. It doesn’t make you weak to need some help from time to time. Having a group of people cheering you on will make all the difference in the world.

                                As you work towards your goals, tell a few close friends about what you’re doing, and when things get tough, tell them about it. And when they give you the pep talk you need, don’t resist their positivity or counter it with your self-limiting beliefs or your all-or-nothing attitude.

                                Allow their optimism to refill your energy and use that energy to press on.

                                Form an Accountability Group

                                Cheerleaders are great, but sometimes we need someone to give us the kick we need to keep going. You might have a strong ‘why’ for running a marathon or losing 30 pounds, but that doesn’t mean it’s going to be easy; and trying to force yourself to follow through is a sure way to tax your mental energy.

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                                Why not save some of your mental energy by forming an accountability group?

                                Find a person or a few people who have similar goals, or at the very least, the need for an accountability partner. Then, form an agreement within the group to push each other every day.

                                Even if your goals aren’t the same, accountability partners are great for giving us the push we need when we need it most.

                                Regardless of which relationships you choose, sometimes we have to be able to work through things on our own. Mentors, cheerleaders, and accountability partners are a great way for us to combat our naturally negative mindsets, but occasionally we have to be able to pick ourselves back up.

                                4. Learn to Pick Yourself Back Up After Setbacks

                                Building a strong mindset and developing mental toughness isn’t easy! Anyone who’s ever achieved massive success knows that obstacles, setbacks, and failure are inevitable, and you’re no different.

                                As you work on your goals, you’re going to face many ups and downs, but this doesn’t mean that you don’t have mental toughness, willpower, or discipline.

                                We all struggle. We all fail. It’s what we decide to do after we fail that truly counts.

                                When you find yourself in a low spot, ask yourself these questions:

                                • “Am I being too hard on myself?”
                                • “Are negative thoughts such as Self-Limiting Beliefs or All-or-Nothing Thinking distorting my view?”
                                • “What’s the positive side of this setback/obstacle/failure?”
                                • “Why was this goal important to me? What was my purpose?”
                                • “Is this goal still important to me? Do I still have a ‘why’?”
                                • “Who can I ask for help? Who can mentor me or cheer me on? Who can help hold me accountable?”

                                Asking yourself these questions is a great way to check in on your mindset. When we get lost in negative thinking or lose connection to our purpose, it’s far too easy to become discouraged. When we feel discouraged, we start feeling weak, maybe even a little hopeless.

                                Also, this article provides some useful tips to help you get back on track: How to Deal with Failure and Pick Yourself Back Up

                                Tying it All Together

                                Are you still with me? I know I’ve thrown a lot at you, from developing a positive mindset and combatting your internal voice to connecting with purpose and building a committee of mentors. It’s a lot to take it!

                                But here’s the bottom line:

                                A crucial part of developing mental toughness is learning to recognize these tendencies and taking action to correct them early on. Developing mental toughness is not about eliminating weakness, but learning how to deal with it and overcome it.

                                No one is perfect, but when we focus on the right things, we can develop a mental toughness worthy of life’s biggest challenges.

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                                Featured photo credit: Zulmaury Saavedra via unsplash.com

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