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21 Habits Of Successful Entrepreneurs That Everyone Should Learn

21 Habits Of Successful Entrepreneurs That Everyone Should Learn

What do Richard Branson (Virgin), Bill Gates (Microsoft), and Sara Blakely (Spanx) have in common besides being guests on Oprah? They all share these 21 admirable traits that I encourage you to adopt if you want to blaze your own path to financial freedom and happiness. (Hint- Oprah has them too!!!)

1. Fear Doesn’t Paralyze Them

Oprah says “I believe that one of life’s greatest risks is never daring to risk.” The feelings associated with fear are produced by chemicals released when are body goes into fight or flight mode. Entrepreneurs realize that there is no imminent danger, just huge potential for success when they feel this and it actually gets them motivated to move forward rather than paralyzing them.

2. They have a passion – making money is simply a byproduct

They all make money because they have found a unique way to solve their customer’s problem. None of them founded their company with a goal of getting rich. They had an idea. They had a plan that they followed. They know what the consumer wanted and delivered.

3. Entrepreneurs see failure as part of the path to success

They know that Henry Ford went bankrupt three times and that Coca-Cola only made $200 in their first year in business. They don’t see failure, they see failed attempt. Each failed attempt puts them closer to success.

4. Successful entrepreneurs surround themselves with a great team

They know their strengths and surround themselves with a team whose complimentary strengths make for a balanced workplace.

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5. They indulge themselves

Building in rewards on your path to success is not only a great motivator, but often by creating small goals along the path to the finish line, you actually gain momentum towards the end which is the exact opposite of how a race is typically won.

6. They’re intentional

Their actions are aligned with the intention behind their goal. This allows them to avoid being sidetracked along the way. Having a clear and specific intention allows your energy to flow.

7. They start before they are ready

This is Marie Forleo’s mantra. Why? Because when we wait the perfect time, we are waiting for an impossible thing. Nothing is ever perfect

8. They are the chess players and not the pawns

They make bold moves and plan for all eventualities. They control the game only because they have released their attachment to outcome. This allows for bold moves.

9. They don’t waste time on email and social media

They use communication methods to their advantage. It doesn’t zap their valuable time.

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10. They think outside the box

In the world today, the most successful billionaires have the same 24 hours and the same access to information as the rest of the planet. They set themselves apart by thinking differently than everyone else.

11. Their cup is always half full

Seeing opportunity in everything is a mindset not a personality trait. Successful people recognize their destructive thought patterns like self-doubt and hesitation and then they change them.

12. They take notes

Recognizing that they have very full lives, they take notes about anything that is not relevant to the task at hand and they return to it later. This organized focus allows creative multitasking without letting their work become scattered.

13. They work hard and play hard

For most successful entrepreneurs there is huge overlap between work and play. They know when to go hard and when to relax and rejuvenate.

14. They give useful feedback

Not only do they have a plan, they will listen to yours and give thoughtful advice. They know what they are good at and are generous in helping others to realize their dreams.

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15. They like getting feedback

Being in a small percentile of super successful people, they recognize that their brains work differently than other people’s and they go to others for input recognizing that many perspectives are needed.Even if they find more critics than supporters than aren’t dissuaded from an idea once they get started.

16. Entrepreneurs network constantly

You never know where the next fabulous partnership will be formed so networking is part of what they do at every wedding, school ceremony and business meeting. There is never a wrong time to make the right connection.

17. They ask lots of questions

They are naturally curious about how things work and how others think. Asking questions not only endears them as interested, it also allows them to steer conversation to where it is most useful for them.

18. They surround themselves with the best

This included everything from the best staff and office equipment to the best doctors and lawyers. Their belief that everyone in their life is the best at what they do attracts people who want to be at the top.

19. They are thankful

They recognize the good things in their life and are regularly thankful for them. This is the attitude of gratitude. In Oprah Winfrey’s words “What you focus on expands, and when you focus on the goodness in your life, you create more of it.”

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20. They don’t sound rehearsed

They got where they are by being in touch with what they have that the world needs. They speak about it from the heart and never sound like used car salesmen who have a rehearsed elevator pitch and closing argument.

21. Their self-worth doesn’t fluctuate with their bank balance

Think of Donald Trump- his bank balance has been up and down like an elevator but his confidence and self-worth stay constant.

Start channeling these habits until they are second nature. Acting successful ultimately leads to being successful.

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Last Updated on March 15, 2019

How to Be a Leader Who Is Inspiring and Influential

How to Be a Leader Who Is Inspiring and Influential

When I began managing people 15 years ago, I thought having a fancy title was synonymous with influence. Over time, I learned that power is conferred based on likeability, authenticity, courage, relationships and consistent behavior. When leaders cultivate these attributes, they earn power, which really means influence.

Understanding influence is essential to professional growth, and companies rise and fall based on the quality of their leadership.

In this article, we will look into the essentials of effective leadership and how to be a leader who is inspiring and influential.

What Makes a Leader Fail?

A host of factors influence a leader’s ability to succeed. To the extent that leaders fail to outline a compelling vision and strategy, they risk losing the trust and confidence of their teams. Employees want to know where a company is going and the strategy for how they will get there. Having this information enables employees to feel safe, and it allows them to see mistakes as part of the learning journey versus as fatal occurrences.

If employees and customers do not believe a company’s leadership is authentic and inspiring, they may disengage, or they may be less inclined to offer constructive criticism that can help a company innovate or help a leader improve.

And it is not just the leadership at the top that matters. Middle managers play a distinct role in guiding teams. Depending on the company’s size, employees may have more access to mid-level managers than they do members of the C-suite, meaning their supervisors and managers have greater influence on the employee and the customer experience.

What Is Effective Leadership?

Effective leadership is inspiring, and it is influential. Cultivating inspiring and influential leaders requires building relationships across the company.

Leaders must be connected to both the teams they lead as well as to their own colleagues and managers. This is key as titles do not make a person a leader, nor do they automatically confer influence. These are earned through trusting relationships. This explains why some leaders can get more out of their teams than others and why some leaders experience soaring profits and engagement while others sizzle out.

Eric Garton said in an April 25, 2017, Harvard Business Review article:[1]

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“… inspiring leaders are those who use their unique combination of strengths to motivate individuals and teams to take on bold missions – and hold them accountable for results. And they unlock higher performance through empowerment, not command and control.”

How to Be an Inspiring and Influential Leader

To be an inspiring and influential leader requires:

1. Courage

The late poet Maya Angelou once said,

“Courage is the most important of all the virtues, because without courage you can’t practice any other virtue consistently. You can practice any virtue erratically, but nothing consistently without courage.”

Courage is required in the workplace when implementing new strategies, especially when they go against professional norms.

For instance, I heard Lisa TerKeurst, bestselling author and founder of Proverbs 31 Ministries, explain her decision to move away from her company’s magazine. While the organization had long had a magazine, she saw a future where it didn’t exist.

In order to make the switch, she risked angering her team members and customers. She took a chance, and what started out as a monthly newsletter, has grown into a multi-dimensional organization boasting half a million followers. Had Lisa not found the courage to change the direction of her organization, they undoubtedly would not have been able to experience such exponential growth.

It also takes courage to give and receive feedback. When leaders see employees who are not living into the company’s mission or who are engaging in behavior that may undermine their long-term success, one must risk temporary angst and speak candidly with the colleague in question.

Similarly, it takes courage to hear constructive criticism and try to change. In business, as in life, courage is necessary for being an inspiring and influential leader.

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2. A Commitment to Face Your Internal Demons.

If you feel great about yourself, enter a leadership position. You are likely to be triggered in ways you didn’t think possible. You are also likely to receive feedback that may leave you second-guessing yourself and your leadership skills.

The truth about leading others is that you get to a point where you realize that it is difficult to take people to places where you yourself haven’t gone.

To be an influential and inspiring leader, you have to face your own demons and vow to continually improve. Influential leaders take their personal evolution serious, and they invest in coaching, therapy and mindfulness to ensure that their personal struggles do not overshadow their professional development.

3. A Willingness to Accept Feedback

Inspiring and influential leaders are not afraid to accept feedback. In fact, they actively solicit it. They understand that everyone in their life has a lesson to teach them, and they are willing to accept it.

Inspirational leaders understand that feedback is neither good nor bad but rather an offering that is critical to growth. Even when it hurts or is an affront to the ego, influential leaders understand that feedback is critical to their ability to lead.

4. Likability

Some people will argue that leaders need not worry about being liked but should instead focus on being respected. I disagree. Both are important.

When team members like their boss and believe their boss likes them, they are more likely to go the extra mile to fulfill departmental or organizational goals. Likable leaders are moved to the front of the line when it comes to being influential.

Relatedly, when colleagues feel management dislikes them, they experience internal stress and can spend unnecessary time focusing on the source of their manager’s discontent versus the work they have been hired to do.

So, likability is important for both the leader and the people she leads.

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5. Vulnerability

Vulnerability is critical for being an inspiring leader. People want the truth. They admire leaders who can occasionally demonstrate vulnerability. It promotes deeper relationships and inspires trust.

When leaders can showcase vulnerability appropriately, they destroy the illusion that one must be perfect to be a leader. They also demonstrate that vulnerability is not a dirty word; they too can be vulnerable and ask for a helping hand when necessary.

6. Authenticity

Authenticity is about living up to one’s stated values in public and behind closed doors.

Influential leaders are authentic. They set to live out their values and use those values to guide their decisions. The interesting thing about leadership is that people are not looking for perfect leaders. They are, in part, looking for leaders who are authentic.

7. A True Understanding of Inspiration

Effective leaders are inspirational. They understand the power of words and deeds and use both strategically.

Inspiring leaders appropriately use stories and narratives to enable the teams around them to see common situations in an entirely new light.

Inspirational leaders also showcase grit and triumph while convincing the people around them that success and victory are attainable.

Finally, inspiring leaders encourage the teams they lead to tap into their own genius. They convince others that genius is not reserved for a select few but that most people have it in them.

As explained in the article True Leadership: What Separates a Leader from a Boss:

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“A leader creates visions and motivates team members to work together towards the same goal.”

8. An Ability to See the Humanity in Others

Inspiring and influential leaders see the humanity in others. Rather than treating their teams as mere tools to accomplish organizational goals, they believe the people around them are unique beings with inherent value.

This means knowing when to pause to address personal challenges and dispelling with the myth that the personal is separate from the professional.

9. A Passion for Continual Learning

Inspiring and influential leaders are committed to continual learning. They invest in their own development and take responsibility for their professional growth.

These leaders understand that like a college campus, the workplace is a laboratory for learning. They believe that they can learn from multiple generations in the workplace as well as from people from diverse racial and ethnic backgrounds.

Influential leaders proactively seek out opportunities for learning.

The Bottom Line

No one said leadership was easy, but it is also a joy. Influencing others to action and positively impacting the lives of others is a reward unto itself.

Since leadership abounds, there is an abundance of resources to help you grow into the type of leader who inspires and influences others.

More Resources About Effective Leadership

Featured photo credit: Markus Spiske via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] Harvard Business Review: How to Be an Inspiring Leader

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