The idea of being an entrepreneur is great, in fact it’s a very exciting prospect to think that you can make all of the money you want, have all of the time you want, and create all of the success you desire with your own effort and energy. I love it! However, consider that the majority of us come from an orientation where we have the typical “9-5” mentality. So before we can fully transition into entrepreneur mode we have to break some paradigms about what we think entrepreneurship is, and is not.
Beyond the “to do” lists of the most successful entrepreneurs I know, lies a way of thinking that acts as the guiding force to their seemingly invincible take on the world mentality. If you think like this, chances are you may be well on your way to doing something insane…like attempting to innovate in the public sector, which for all intents and purposes is actually insane.
Entrepreneurs actually believe they can change the world. They really believe that what they are doing is relevant, and necessary. They believe the world needs what they have to offer. I heard Sean “Diddy” Combs say “You have to be crazy and out of your mind to want to succeed as an entrepreneur”. #TRUTH
Here are a few ways entrepreneurs think differently over other people:
1. Your thoughts are Childlike.
Entrepreneurs tend to act like kids in a candy store, very compulsive, all over the place, and perhaps sometimes a slight case of OCD. Nothing is off limits, everything is for the taking, and their inquisitiveness is as infuriating as it is contagious. It’s akin to keeping the childlike tendencies baking well into adulthood. Think about it, children are no holds barred! They do, choose, create, and think how they feel. They are liberated to the millionth degree. This ability to embrace your creativity and imagination is where innovation has it’s starting point, and without it, nothing new would abound or be created.
2. You can know for a fact you can do better.
Innovation presupposes that whatever came before it is ripe for improvement. For entrepreneurs, this assumption is the driving force behind their efforts. Jeremy Johnson, lifelong entrepreneur and co-founder of 2U, puts it aptly:
“An entrepreneur’s train of thought goes like this: ‘everything around me was invented by someone and that person probably isn’t any smarter than I am.’ We believe almost everything can be improved upon in some way. We start to imagine what could be instead of what is…the world is malleable and many of the rules that exist are more like guidelines.”
3. Optimism is your guiding light.
This probably seems like an egregiously obvious thing to point out, but its importance simply cannot be overemphasized. You have to believe beyond a shadow of a doubt that you can do whatever it is your plotting to do. There are plenty of entrepreneurs that exist who have a somewhat negative disposition. But I would argue that those who think this way generally don’t get very far. Again, you need jump on the crazy train if you plan to be successful because if you don’t believe in you, trust me, no one else will! The pessimistic side of things won’t help, so lose the attitude and embrace all that could be.
4. You’re a rule breaker.
Entrepreneurs, by nature, are rule breakers and dissenters–they despise the status quo. This is an attitude as much as it is a mentality, or a way of thinking if you will. Meredith Fineman, CEO of FinePoint Digital PR gives an all-too-familiar look at what goes through the mind of an entrepreneur on a regular basis:
“It’s hard for me to relate when people can’t wait for the week to be over or can’t wait to rush out of the office for Happy Hour. My job is never done, nor do I want it to be. That’s not to say that I never do things for pleasure, but I am constructing my own life and not constructing it based on someone else’s ideas or standards.”
This is #BeyondTruth. This is the paradigm I referenced earlier. You work Monday through Friday, and than on Thursday you’re complaining about wanting the week to be over, and then on Friday you are ready to rush to the nearest bar. It’s a learned behavior and an engrained mentality.
5. You embrace failure, and fear, and in your mind “risk” isn’t a factor.
This last point is a direct result of the one set of attributes that keeps the majority of people held back in their holes. Entrepreneurship is about failure. People who have a fear of failure will never wholly succeed in business because fear is the impediment to innovation. If you can’t openly embrace creativity and imagining things you want to create without fear of failure, ridicule, or criticism, then how can you ever bring an idea, product, or service to market? Entrepreneurs run towards their fears, boldly, and swiftly. Also, taking risks is just the same as taking a chance. Rolling the dice if you will. How many shots are you taking? Think about it. In basketball if you take 15 shots and you only make 5 that’s not as great as taking 30 shots and only making 15. What things are you doing consistently that set you apart?
I traveled to the Israel Conference in Los Angeles, CA last year in 2014, which is a business, entrepreneurship, and innovation conference for Israeli based companies and one of the Entrepreneurs got on stage and had this to say:
“Our mentality in Israel in the technology space is to fail fast and as much as possible. This is how we innovate and create great ideas so quickly.”
Thinking like an entrepreneur requires a mindset that embraces no limits and embraces the possibility of “what if”, even when the idea of “what if” seems incomprehensible. Go out and journey today and see what you can create for yourself.
Stay in Love, and Peace.