What characteristics, traits, or factors come into play to create the dividing line between entrepreneurs that can execute and those that fall short? Is the distinguishing factor their intellectual ability and academic sense? Probably not. There are countless stories of entrepreneurial success where founders of transformative companies either dropped out of high school or college. Take Bill Gates, Exhibit A.
His entrepreneurial success isn't even environmental in that more successful entrepreneurs are born into social networks that provide an advantage over others. A vast social network is helpful, but this cannot be the answer. There are several stories of highly successful entrepreneurs that came from abject poverty before finding success. Take Oprah Winfrey, Exhibit B
If entrepreneurial success is not necessarily dictated exclusively by intellectual ability or social status, what characteristics or traits do high-achieving entrepreneurs possess that others do not? I believe this boils down to four key characteristics: vision, passion, adaptability, and resilience.
Innovation cannot happen without vision, the ability to not only recognize opportunity and connect dots but also the wherewithal to question why a solution does not exist to a problem. Truly successful entrepreneurs can frame the future before it happens and to cast a vision of an improved condition before others recognize the issue.
Entrepreneurs are unfathomably passionate and mission-focused. They have an innate ability to lead from the heart and possess an unshakeable sense of purpose. Entrepreneurship offers a journey with no clear path. Without passion, most people cannot weather the storm of rejection and short-term failures.
Entrepreneurs must be adaptable. We live in a highly dynamic world where conditions, economic and otherwise, change very rapidly and generally beyond our control. Entrepreneurs must be flexible, nimble, and self-aware enough to adapt quickly to these changing externalities.
The one certainty with entrepreneurship is failure. Many failures, at least on the surface, appear fatal and cause many people to simply walk away from the idea. Resilient entrepreneurs, on the other hand, are able to sidestep failure, pivot, and move in a different direction. The most successful entrepreneurs have lengthy resumes chock-full of failure; but, due to resilience, these people only had to be right once. And that sets them apart from the ones who cave in to the pressure.
There are certainly other character traits and influences that play a role in entrepreneurial success; these are simply four of the most common characteristics I have witnessed in impactful entrepreneurs. Regardless of whether you are an entrepreneur in the pure sense or an intrapreneur solving problems within a large organization, remember these eternally true words of Steve Jobs: “Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do."
Entrepreneurship Is A Beautiful Thing, and only the ones ready to pursue their vision relentlessly, remain focused in the face of daunting pressure, have mental clarity and are resilient can achieve this beauty. I wrote this book; Entrepreneurship Is A Beautiful Thing because I see a future where Entrepreneurs can truly experience the joy in running a business that outlives them and gives them peace. This book is a must-read for every high-achieving Entrepreneur. Click here to get a copy and kindly share the highlight of your experience with me.