It's easy to recognize entrepreneurs when they're in their natural habitat. It's a lot tougher to spot one in the wild. And it's really tough to spot one who hasn't started a business -- yet.
But it can be done.
1. They 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.
Entrepreneurs build a business from nothing -- and make it their life's mission.
2. They hate the idea of living 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 ...
3. They define success their own way.
Maybe they define success by money. Or by status. Or by power.
Or, more likely, they define success as living life the way they want to live -- and in the way that makes them as happy and fulfilled as possible.
4. They're not ashamed to dream.
And they're not afraid to fail. (They hate failing, but they aren't afraid to fail.)
And they're not afraid to succeed.
5. Their happiness comes from seeing others succeed.
And the best way to do that is to be in the position that best allows them to help other people succeed.
6. They want to prove the naysayers wrong.
So they decided to prove those people wrong. But along the way their motivation shifted. Now they don't care what other people think.
Now they're not trying to prove other people wrong.
They're just trying to prove to themselves that they are right, because theirs is the only opinion that truly matters.
7. They don't care about doing the expected thing; they care about doing the right thing.
And to do that, they have to be in charge -- because it's a lot easier to do the right thing when you get to decide what you will do.
8. They don't want to make a choice from column A, B, or C.
Instead, they want to decide what is the best possible option, and then go and make that happen.
9. They want a better life for their children.
Everyone wants that... but entrepreneurs feel the best way to do that is to set the example of believing in yourself.
10. They want their earnings to only be limited by their talent.
When you work for someone else, that person or company decides how much you can make.
Work for yourself, you decide, through your effort and perseverance and ingenuity, what you can make.
11. They 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. They want to look back on a life well lived... not a retirement party.
That watch? It means they served a company. A life well lived means they served others and, by so doing, also served themselves.
13. They want to be remembered.
But not just for what they did; more importantly, they want to be remembered for the kind of person they were -- and the way they made other people feel.
14. They believe effort should always matter more than politics.
And the only way to ensure politics doesn't play a part is to run their own business--and build a company with a culture they and their employees love.
15. They've decided merit is the only meaningful currency.
Seniority, corner offices, fancy titles: They're all great. But they're also often given (and not always to the most deserving).
Accomplishments are always earned.
And earned always feels more rewarding.
And, most importantly...
16. They just don't know any other way to live.
So they don't even try.
Why would they?