With the emergence of the new freelance economy and the subsequent groundswell of startup enthusiasts, (which incidentally coincides with the diminishing of traditional jobs and increase of the global workforce) more and more people are trying to learn what it takes to achieve successful entrepreneurship. The fact is, it’s just not so simple.

As I stated in my recent book The Entrepreneurs Edge and lecture my students ad-nauseam, first and foremost, you must understand that the mission of getting a business launched and generating revenue must become a purpose even greater than one’s self, in order for both, business and builder to be successful.

For this reason, knowing yourself and understanding your true ‘Inner Entrepreneur’ (or lack of), may be more important than your vision and the business model itself.

If there is anything I have learned in my 35 years as a business builder, business owner, and serial entrepreneur is this; There are no magic beans, there is no such thing as “business ownership utopia”, an entrepreneur’s life is not “normal” nor for everyone and doing something entrepreneurial doesn’t necessarily make one an entrepreneur.

As Morticia Adams once quipped, “Normal is an Illusion. What is Normal for the Spider is Chaos for the Fly”. It truly takes something deep down inside you, to find the humbling journey of an entrepreneur “normal”. You see, entrepreneurship is indeed a journey and a lifestyle, not a mere single act or ultimate destination.

Successful entrepreneurship requires a long-term, committed obedience to stay on the endless road of improving yourself, every single day. This road is paved with the stones of Passion, Perseverance, Purpose, Commitment, Conflict, Courage (aka grace under pressure) and adopting a lifestyle of “Intellectual Humility”.

There are other things that are typically evident in the successful entrepreneur which are creativity, purpose, instinct, and a unique charismatic confidence (sans arrogance) to go along with that passionate never give up attitude.

All of what is stated in the previous two paragraphs are typically inborn traits en-grained in one’s DNA. If they not already there in some faction to be honed, it will be extremely hard, if not impossible to teach, despite all those people and their books promising to do so.

Oh, and beware of the suddenly popular “Entrepreneur Doctor” most of them are just quacks promising something that they never achieved on their own. The self-labeled “entrepreneur”, that has never started and successfully developed a business yet is now offering to sell those “magic beans” with the promise of “business ownership utopia” is simply put, a fraud.

Achieving success requires a daily “rules to live by” in order to attain the foundations of a lifestyle and a mindset that usually precedes success. These rules must become a belief to practice and just a mantra for the aspiring entrepreneur.

With all thy getting, get Intellectual Humility!  

Intellectual Humility – Being intelligent enough to understand the importance of knowing what you don’t know is just as important as knowing what you do know; being understated in a way that your reach never extends beyond your grasp; possessing a mind so open and curious, that you genuinely strive to learn something every day, from everyone that you encounter; being passionately interested in others, knowing that makes you more interesting to others.”

Here are my 15 Commandments of Successful Entrepreneurship and Personal Growth and Development (AKA – The Road to Intellectual Humility)

  • Underachievers make excuses; Winners make time.
  • Learn when to give in, but don’t EVER to give up.
  • Lapses in judgment are human and forgivable, however, there is no such thing as a lapse of integrity.
  • Intelligent people fight fire with water, never with fire. Only the unintelligent allow emotions to cloud their judgments and spur subsequent actions.
  • Be equally passionate about understanding others as you are in your desire to be understood.
  • Winners are articulate, terrific storytellers. Know that to be interesting to someone, you must first be genuinely interested in that same someone.
  • Understand that while TIME may heal all wounds, it will kill all deals. Be expeditious, passionate and determined to finish what you start.
  • Possess a childlike curiosity to go along with a contagious smile and humbleness
  • Know what you don’t know, and be so open-minded that you learn something from EVERYONE you meet.
  • Have high expectations of others, but even higher expectations for yourself.
  • Compromise to cooperate, but never at the expense of your principals or your partners.
  • Always be understated with a grasp that extends past your reach. The world already has too many overstated people with reaches that extend way past their grasp.
  • Always be optimistic and genuinely excited about the future and success of others and let them know it.
  • Demand the highest in quality from your partners and always choose “character” over “characters”
  • Express genuine benevolence, compassion, responsibility, tolerance, and understanding towards everyone, everyday
  • Is there any doubt that by adding the above actions to your daily mindset will make you a better person and even a more an inspirational person at the very least?Better yet, when the above is added to the inborn traits of the entrepreneur as described and defined in the first section of this post, it greatly increases the odds of finding and sustaining business success!

    By achieving what I believe is the most important skill to attain in life, namely “Intellectual Humility” you will find that your potential limitless as you go through life looking for constant improvement of yourself, which is a common thread that you’ll find in most winners and respected leaders.

    “May you always have enough of the things you need for yourself and an abundance of the things you’d like to share with others. In this way, your hands will always be extended in friendship and never in want.” (James Vena)

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