I recently read a great blog post which got me thinking about what it takes to be an entrepreneur. Startup Canada is also in town this week and I’m attending most of their events, so I figured it was a timely topic. Meredith Bell (the author of the blog above) suggests that you have to be smart and strong-willed to be an entrepreneur. Strong-willed and confident, oh and self-disciplined. The list can be long and daunting. I’d say all of the above are important, and you don’t need to be super strong in all of them to succeed. There is one that I think Mrs. Bell missed in her article, and it came to me as I was tucking my daughter into bed two nights ago.
My daughter was stressing about the first day of school, the uncertainty of it and the excitement. Which teacher would she get? Would her friends be in her class? What about if she didn’t get her locker in the right part of the school? I keyed in on the uncertainty and anxiety she was feeling and told her that, based on my experience, when something happens that I don’t like, I change it, and she could do the same. There it was, my unbridled confidence and optimism. Is this the secret to being an entrepreneur? I always though of myself as a glass half-full type of person, always seeing the positive in things. Is this the secret to my success in business thus far? My (what some people might call semi-delusional) outlook on life “if something isn’t going your way, change it” may quite possibly account for most of my success. Tony Robbins I am not, don’t worry. I’m not going to break out into a self-help conference here.
My point is that I don’t really stress about things I can’t control. I know from past experience that if something doesn’t go my way, I’ll change it. Why stress about the unknown? There’s enough to concentrate on right here in the present.
When I first started in business and was looking to hire my first employee (1995-ish), my parents told me “Why do you want to hire someone? Why deal with all the issues that come from having an employee? You’re making a good living.” Yes, I was, but I was unfulfilled. I wasn’t happy just selling my time and expertise. I knew there was a cap on what my income could be, and I also knew that I wasn’t building anything sustainable. So I changed it .. and I had the confidence and optimistic outlook to look past the important people in my life who were counselling me to go in a different direction.
There are many examples like this. Actually, my business and personal life are filled with them. If you’re trying to decide whether entrepreneurship is for you, and you’re a glass half-full type of person, I think that can get you really far. Of course, you need other things and a bit of luck, but with an optimistic can-do attitude you can accomplish much.
Oh, and my daughter had an awful first day of school this year. Bad homeroom, her best friend is in a different class, and she wasn’t assigned a locker. Looks like I’m going to have to work on her “power of positive thinking” if she’s going to follow in her dad’s footsteps (actually, I want her to become a lawyer .. I don’t think you need positive thinking for that job .. that might actually be a hindrance .