Being a successful entrepreneur is a balance between art and science. The science pertains to the functionality of a business: finding the right private exchange health care for your employees, determining the right infrastructure and protocol for communication, etc. The art pertains to your personality traits and actions that create the heart and soul of your business.
There’s endless “nature versus nurture” discussion over whether the traits of a successful entrepreneur are ingrained or learned. Which came first, the entrepreneur or the startup? Regardless of whether the traits are learned or taught, some important characteristics align with the classic virtues.
Whether you’re running a restaurant, coaching executives, selling insurance from home or anything in between, here are four virtues every entrepreneur needs to succeed.
Tenacity refers to one’s staying power in the face of adversity. It is their determination, perseverance, strength of purpose, and tirelessness in pursuit of their goals. Your tenacity directly impacts your resilience and your ability to keep going when the going gets tough. Considering there are a lot of tough times as an entrepreneur– physically, mentally, fiscally, and even spiritually– being tenacious is key.
To develop your perseverance and tenacity, you need to reframe your way of thinking. Practice mindfulness exercises– like meditation– to help you shift your thought process and turn negatives into positives. For example, failing a significant sales pitch isn’t make or break for your business. Rather than accepting failure and leaving the business world, consider what you did well and what you could do better next time.
Respect is an important virtue whether you are an entrepreneur or not. To be successful, you need to treat others with respect. Not just the people who stand to make you more successful either. You must treat someone with respect whether they’re the CEO of a company you are pitching or the janitor who cleans up the office at the end of the day. Respect given is respect earned.
In addition to showing respect to others, you must also be able to show respect to yourself. Know your limitations and don’t sweat the small stuff. Use positive self-talk and treat your body and mind as you would treat an important asset. After all, when it comes to your business that is exactly what you are.
To be a successful entrepreneur, you can never lose your sense of wonder. As a part of that, you must always be willing to expand your horizons and learn something new. Your sense of wonder drives your curiosity. It makes you willing to try new things and take your business to new places. It can ultimately be the virtue that helps you develop the product or service that will change the world.
As with many virtues, wonder ties into other virtues, traits, and experiences as well. Our sense of creativity and imagination is fueled by wonder. Wonder also works closely with our last trait, which may be the most important of all: passion.
There is a saying that tells us, “if you love what you do for a job, you’ll never work a day in your life.” An experienced entrepreneur will tell you that you will certainly work and you will work hard. However, at the end of the day the blood, sweat, and tears are worth it because you are working for something you love.
Passion is what keeps entrepreneurs going when tenacity falls short. It allows us to cultivate respect for the environment in which we thrive. It keeps us moving forward on the monotonous days when wonder is lacking. When all else fails, our passion endures, and when our passion fades? Well, it’s time to start chasing the next dream, isn’t it?