Living the 7 Entrepreneurial Virtues
Last month, I shared how to avoid the 7 deadly entrepreneurial sins so you could innovate without fear. But entrepreneurs, and those who are entrepreneurial in their roles, aspire to live life beyond mere survival and safety. They strive for something bigger and more meaningful.
So here are descriptions of the 7 Heavenly Virtues for you entrepreneurial types to help you reach for the clouds.
Temptation is abundant in the entrepreneurial world. Most people are looking for shortcuts: a faster, easier way to take the market, get funding, lock down a client. Most shortcuts, if even effective for the long run, can come with a price. The best businesses are built on a solid foundation of integrity. Their business models are backed by research and tested to prove viability. Above all, the ethical choices you make will impact the respect and trust you retain in business for decades to come. Those who misrepresent to gain fast traction are doomed to follow in the footsteps of Enron. Better to be a Jeff Bezoz than a Kenneth Lay.
Exuberance is a trait of many entrepreneurs and CEOs. They love to get excited and get people around them excited as well. But the leader who gets excited all the time about every little thing creates excitement fatigue. Followers begin to lose interest because they can't distinguish between actual major milestones and missteps. A leader who shows self-restraint can pick the moments to generate enthusiasm. Moderation will help sustain energy that builds over time.
One doesn't have to give away their fortune to be charitable. Charity can come in other forms than money. The best and most respected leaders give their time, their energy, their thoughts, and their life lessons. But they do it now, they do it often and they do it with intent. They make a concerted effort to engage with those who have not yet achieved, and they do it selflessly.
As one of my personal core values, the idea of diligence has helped me benefit from wonderful opportunities as it has protected me from bad ones. Entrepreneurial people are ready to jump at a moment's notice, but those who can comfortably step back, do their homework, and deliver with consistency will grow bigger and better every time.
Patience may be the hardest virtue for entrepreneurial types to master. Once a vision is finished in your head, you want it to exist tomorrow (or at least by next week.) But the best success is built over time. A business or process cultivated carefully over time will grow bigger, be more competitive, and last longer. Plant your seeds today and enjoy helping them grow. And if you feel anxious along the way, at least learn to manage your impatience productively.
I have said many times that nice people will sabotage you in business. But as a New Yorker, I appreciate that you can be brutally honest and direct while still being kind. In fact, the kindest move you can often make is to save people from wasting their time and energy on a dead end campaign. Beyond that, a smile and a little tasteful humor at no one's expense will go along way to endear you to others.
Entrepreneurial people, born or made, are gifted leaders. It takes strength, power and a healthy ego to lead people into the unknown. But the act of being humble, best demonstrated though self-awareness and acknowledgement of others, is sure to have people following you to great heights for all the right reasons.
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