Being an entrepreneur is hard. Really hard.

You put everything on the line: your talent, your creativity, your ideas, your money, and yet you still do it, sometimes again and again.

That's why your friends often don't understand. (Sometimes even your family doesn't understand.)

"Why don't you just play it safe and get a job?" they ask. The next time people ask, show them this.

Here's why you're an entrepreneur:

1. You hate the idea of finding yourself in the wrong life.

Unexamined decisions, unforeseen consequences, drifting along with the current.... It's easy for people to end up in places they never would have chosen. And then they feel trapped.

And, late at night, they often wonder what it would be like if their lives were different.

Entrepreneurs don't wonder--at least not for long. They wonder, and then they go find out. And that's because ...

2. You want a calling--not just a career.

Anyone can build a career; all you need to do is a land a job to find your life's work. Very few can build a business from nothing--and make it their life's mission.

3. You embrace your own definition of success.

Maybe it's money. Maybe it's status. Maybe it's power.

Or, more likely, it's living life the way you want to live--and in the way that makes you as happy and fulfilled as possible.

4. You're not afraid to dream.

And you're not afraid to fail.

And you're not afraid to succeed.

5. Your happiness comes from seeing others succeed.

And the best way to do that is to be in the position that best allows you to help them succeed.

6. You were once told you weren't good enough.

So you decided to prove those people wrong. But along the way your motivation shifted. Now you don't care what other people think.

Now you're not trying to prove other people wrong.

You're just trying to prove to yourself that you are right, because you are the only person whose opinion truly matters.

7. You don't care about doing the expected thing; you care about doing the right thing.

And to do that, you have to be in charge.

8. You don't care about choosing from the best available option.

Instead, you want to decide what is the best possible option, and then go and make that happen.

9. You want a better life for your children.

And you feel the best way to do that is to set an example by believing in yourself.

10. You want your earnings capped only by your talent.

Work for others and they decide what you can make.

Work for yourself and you decide, through your effort and perseverance and ingenuity, what you can make.

11. You ask, "Why not me?"

Entrepreneurs don't assume wildly successful people possess special talents or gifts from the gods. Entrepreneurs look at successful people and think, "That's awesome. They succeeded, and I will too.

"People do great things every day--so why not me?"

12. You want to look back on a life well lived, instead of at a retirement watch.

That watch? It means you served a company. A life well lived means you served others and, by so doing, also served yourself.

13. You want to be remembered.

But not just for what you did; more important, you want to be remembered for the kind of person you were--and the way you made other people feel.

14. You believe effort should always beat politics.

And the only way to ensure politics doesn't play a part is to run your own business--and build a company with a culture you and your employees love.

15. You've decided merit is the only currency worth earning.

Seniority, corner offices, fancy titles: They're great. But they are also often given (and not always to the most deserving).

Accomplishments are always earned.

16. You feel business is the last unexplored territory.

And you're convinced new discoveries are out there waiting for you.

And, most important...

17. You simply don't know any other way to live your life.

So you don't even try.

Why would you?

You're an entrepreneur.