On Tuesday, the nation held its breath while the controversial 45th president of the United States recounted a tumultuous year in his first State of the Union address.
2017 saw wildfires, hurricanes, and utter devastation--and then there were the natural disasters that happened outside of Washington, D.C.
But through it all, the leader of the free world remained steadfast, or as steadfast as you'd expect from an entrepreneur who--let's not forget--has been through plenty of public tumult before.
No matter on which side of the aisle you sit, let this bipartisan note simply highlight a masterful lesson in the art of building your own empire, which no one nailed more succinctly than Tom Brokaw.
No matter what you think of Trump, we should take note of Brokaw's assessment.
Actually, Brokaw nailed Trump's rise to the presidency before the State of the Union even began, while the commentators were still trying to forecast an utterly unpredictable affair.
Brokaw opened up the NBC News broadcast by recalling that, as a news journalist, he had been following Trump's business career since Trump was 34. Then he revealed that, in the decades since, he had learned that the president "considered himself one of the great salesmen of the world."
He continued, "The fact that he sells sizzle more often than he does substance doesn't get in his way. He has utter confidence...that's how he's got to be the president."
When it comes to selling sizzle over substance, we could certainly debate the appropriateness of such a technique--politically and otherwise.
But as someone who has bootstrapped his way to a viable business, I can't deny Brokaw's getting to the heart of what has made Trump succeed. And as a lifelong learner, I can't help but wonder if there's something to learn from Trump's undeniable belief in himself, paired with his acknowledged identity as a masterful salesman.
Brokaw sent a clear message to entrepreneurs who have created a business out of nothing (and to those who want to follow suit).
If we can suspend our political beliefs for one moment, I think we can agree that Trump achieved his presidential status by being Trump--a confident salesman. And since we can't deny his results, we can only take what lessons we can from the correlative circumstances we can see.
For now, I'll classify that as making the best of a situation--another surefire trait of entrepreneurship.
Still, and I can't stress this enough, this isn't an article designed to clarify intentions or excuse behaviors. It's simply a cursory assessment of what seems to achieve certain results in our 21st-century society.
And when it comes to achieving results, it seems that Brokaw couldn't have said it better.
"Even [in] the ups and downs during all of this," Brokaw recounted, "he's not lost faith in himself. There's never any self-doubt."
What no one ever talks about in entrepreneurship is the loneliness, the doubt, and the strength it takes to believe in your mission day in and day out, when all you can think about is how nice it must be for those who go home at 5:00 p.m. every day and collect a steady paycheck.
For the rest of us, the daily grind can wear on our souls like a boxing match with endless rounds. In those moments, it's worth remembering what some simple self-confidence can do to propel us towards the results we desire.
In fact, having coached wildly successful entrepreneurs and learned what still holds them back, I can confidently say that confidence--and its sisters, persistence and perseverance--is the 20 percent of work that creates 80 percent of the results, no matter what industry you're in or what business stage you're at.
Ultimately, no matter who you are and what you want out of life, I invite you to believe in yourself. The results seem to indicate that confidence is far more than half the battle.
Luckily for all of us, that's the one thing we can control.