"What doesn't kill you makes you stronger."
Regarding the choice of entrepreneurship, truer words have never been spoken. Ask any entrepreneur how many times they've questioned their ability to move forward, or how many sleepless nights they've had, and they will tell you it's been too many to count.
Still, with all of the pain and uncertainty, and with the countless times we've had to talk ourselves off the ledge, we can't imagine doing anything else.
As we approach Thanksgiving (and probably the question from a well-meaning relative, "If it's so hard, why don't you just get a job?"), here are 10 gifts that our entrepreneurial journeys have given us.
1. Freedom to be mission-driven.
Every day, entrepreneurs can move forward with a mission...to make an impact and to be part of something bigger than themselves.
"We're here to put a dent in the universe. Otherwise, why else even be here?" ~Steve Jobs
2. Unlimited opportunities for personal growth.
Entrepreneurship stretches us in ways we can't predict, in all phases of our journey. No matter where we are in the process, we are always at "base camp," with another mountain before us to scale.
"You will either step forward into growth, or you will step backward into safety." ~Abraham Maslow
3. Ability to recover from failure.
Entrepreneurship provides countless opportunities for failure. We hire the wrong people and hold onto them for too long. We underscope, underestimate, and undercharge. We invest in the wrong opportunities, and pass on the right ones. We trust too easily or not enough. And every time we stumble, we rise again and keep going. Failure makes us stronger and wiser.
"Failure is the only opportunity to begin again, only this time more wisely." ~Henry Ford
4. Ability to employ others and support their families.
We create jobs, we build communities, and we empower our employees to plan for the future.
"A leader is great, not because he has power, but because of his or her ability to empower others." ~John Maxwell
5. Ability to spot potential in others and help them achieve it.
One of the greatest entrepreneurship gifts is helping others see what we see in them. Empowering others to be successful and to believe in themselves is one of the most rewarding aspects of leadership.
"When you catch a glimpse of your potential, that's when passion is born." ~Zig Ziglar
6. Ability to help others fulfill their business missions.
Our customers hire us because they entrust us with their missions. They believe we can help them succeed. They believe in our products & services, in our leadership, and in our people. They have chosen us.
"Get closer than ever to your customers. So close that you can tell them what they need well before they realize it themselves." ~Steve Jobs
7. Ability to mentor and inspire others.
Our journeys equip current and future entrepreneurs with the courage they require to move forward with their own journeys. Whether it's intentional or by default, we inspire others to keep going.
"We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give." ~Winston Churchill
8. Ability to connect with other catalysts and game changers.
Leaders attract and pursue other leaders. We intentionally seek out like-minded people who take responsibility for their outcomes, and who are committed to leaving the world in better condition than when they arrived.
"You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with." ~Jim Rohn
9. Ability to support the less fortunate.
Entrepreneurs have the power to start movements that can profoundly impact those in need. From an office coat drive for a local homeless shelter to financial support for a global humanitarian organization, we can make an impact in the lives of those that struggle.
Life is Good is a great example of how entrepreneurship can impact millions of people. From massive fundraising concerts to donating a portion of proceeds to hunger initiatives, they have integrated social impact into every aspect of their business.
"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has " ~Margaret Mead
10. Ability to acknowledge others who have helped them along the way.
It takes a village to become a great leader. One of the most rewarding aspects of village-building is the ability to turn to those that helped us along and say, "Thank you."
"Trade your expectation for appreciation, and the world changes instantly." ~Tony Robbins
From our entrepreneurial family to yours, best wishes for a meaningful Thanksgiving.