The Entrepreneurial Spirit

Joe Love

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Deep down inside each of us has an entrepreneurial spirit. The term entrepreneurship doesn’t apply strictly to our careers and the way we go about making money; it applies to every part of our life.

“What?” you ask. Did someone change the definition of entrepreneurship and forget to tell you? Not really. Strictly speaking, entrepreneurship still refers to starting up and operating your own business, a professional endeavor that requires independence, creativity, individuality, and risk. But you can apply to your personal life the same skills that make you a successful entrepreneur.

In the traditional business sense, an entrepreneur is a person who doesn’t want to be locked into a job. He or she is someone who has many skills. An entrepreneur is not a nine-to-five person who collects a paycheck every week or two. Entrepreneurs have a true pioneer spirit. They don’t just have a dream; they follow through to make it happen. Successful entrepreneurs have their head in the clouds and their feet on the ground.

For example, being an entrepreneur is similar to sitting in a kayak with the waves breaking over your head. The force of the water is much greater than the force of you trying to paddle. But if you make the right moves by focusing your concentration and being diligent and careful, you can get where you want to go.

As an entrepreneur myself, I’ve learned that you have to paddle as fast as the current. If you don’t, the current will push you sideways and take you off course. Then you are vulnerable to the waves that will flip you over.

Successful entrepreneurs feel that a life without risk is a life without living. Who wants to live a life without risks? You never achieve any success or happiness in life without taking risks. But you can greatly minimize the severity of the risks by simply planning.

The two main reasons why businesses fail are; (1) inadequate cash flow and (2) lack of planning. It’s very basic, it boils down to is asking yourself two basic questions, “Where am I going and how will I get there?” For example, if you take an automobile trip, you need gas and a map. The same thing applies to business. There must be sufficient planning and conceptualizing in order to move forward. If you don’t know where you are going, you aren’t going to get there.

Another key to successful entrepreneurship is doing something you love. The people who are successful in business and in their personal lives, are doing something they really love to do. There are many people who start businesses that they aren’t really interested in. And therefore, they don’t put their whole heart and soul into it and they fail.

One quality that serves us well in both our personal and professional lives is perseverance. It is quality that you must have to achieve success and happiness. For example, it took Thomas Edison roughly 20,000 failures before he got the light bulb to work. And horse jockey, Eddie Arcaro had to ride in 301 races before he finally won a race.

You must have sufficient knowledge and experience in the area you decide to pursue as well. For example, if you want to start a photography store, you need to have good knowledge and experience in the field of photography. Many people for example, have started restaurants just because they have some good recipes. But because they didn’t have any business experience in the restaurant industry they failed.

A common pitfall in both personal and professional life is that people create rules for themselves and then don’t know when it’s appropriate to break them. Don’t lock yourself into just one game plan. Flexibility is one the most important requirements for success.

You must be flexible because sometimes you have to follow your heart and know when to change course and investigate something new. Changing careers is difficult, you wonder if you’re throwing away something for which you have studied long and hard. It’s not smart to change if you don’t have a good reason. Change for the sake of change, or to escape something, is rarely a good idea. You should make a change only if it will improve your life and make you happier.

People who lived in the Industrial Age are usually not very open to change. People who have lived most of their lives in the Industrial Age still believe that to be successful you have to follow the same formula; get a college education and then you can get a good, secure job for life. They believe that it doesn't matter whether or not you like your job, it’s a regular paycheck, and that’s your security.

Another reason people are reluctant to make a change is because they fear the disapproval of others. People who make major changes, especially career changes, are sometimes looked at by their colleagues, friends, and family with raised eyebrows. Professionals especially are looked at with disbelief. The people around them wonder what possessed them to want to make a change. After all, they reason, you’ve gone through all this training; why would you want to give it all up?

This type of reasoning is very detrimental to success, because it assumes the individual doesn’t grow. You don’t have to decide what you are going to do in the eighth grade and stick with it the rest of your life. You can switch jobs. You can and should make career changes.

Having the entrepreneurial spirit means wanting to run a business the way you run your life. And wanting to run your life the way you run your business. To run a successful business you want to increase the number of clients you have. To have a successful personal life you want to increase the number of friends you have. You need to have a business plan to guide your business success. You need to have goals and objectives to guide and measure your personal success.

The parallels are endless between a business and your personal life. For every example of the entrepreneurial spirit in business there is a parallel in life. Having the entrepreneurial spirit means your personal and professional life cannot be separated. Being an entrepreneur is a way of life. All you need to do is get yourself into an entrepreneurial mind-set, and you’ll have the power to make things happen.

Copyright© 2005 by Joe Love and JLM & Associates, Inc. All rights reserved worldwide.

Joe Love draws on his 25 years of experience helping both individuals and companies build their businesses, increase profits, and achieve total success. He is the founder and CEO of JLM & Associates, a consulting and training organization, specializing in personal and business development. Through his seminars and lectures, Joe Love addresses thousands of men and women each year, including the executives and staffs of many of America’s largest corporations, on the subjects of leadership, self-esteem, goals, achievement, and success psychology.

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