At Inc's iCONIC conference this week I met and listened to some of the most successful entrepreneurs on the planet share their stories of founding and growing successful companies.

I have selected some of my favorite quotes from that event that demonstrate how Thoughtfully Ruthless these entrepreneurs have been with their time, energy, and resources.

Be Thoughtfully Ruthless with Your Time

"Everyone is chasing more time. Everyone says they need more time. Forget that. Do what you love. Be with the people you love, that is your priority." Bert Jacob, founder, Life is Good

"I built a business from giving people back time, by becoming more organized." Kip Tindell, founder and CEO, Container Store

You choose where and how you spend your time. Never forget that it is your choice and within your control. First you have to know what makes your eyes sparkle, and then you should spend your time there.

Be Thoughtfully Ruthless with Your Energy

"Never give up what you believe," Daymond John, entrepreneur and Shark

"Say what everyone else is thinking. Yes, my business partner is 84 but he works harder than the rest of you." Dana Settle, founder, Greycroft

"What you think of you matters most, not your mother." Marcus Lemonis, The Profit

"Compassion matters, but care about yourself first." Bert Jacob, founder, Life is Good

Not enough entrepreneurs are sensibly selfish about putting themselves first. A strong sense of self-worth will differentiate you from your peers and give you endless energy and inspiration.

Be Thoughtfully Ruthless with Your Resources

"Seventy percent of our investment decisions are based on the team." Mark Suster. partner, Upfront Ventures

"Follow the One versus Three rule. One great employee is worth three good ones." Kip Tindell, founder and CEO, Container Store

"Get creative when you have no marketing budget. We created statistics people would want to share. How many gallons of water went into creating a garment and how many hours of conscious labor; our customers want to share that information and we got free marketing with our Karma Counter. We have now paid 13,100 hours of ethical labor, created garments with 10,800 yards of sustainable fabric, and saved 3.9 million gallons of water." Allison Beal, founder, Style Saint

"Don't pretend, really invest in your people. We give employees 283 hours of formal training in their first year. If they quit, it is expensive for us, but our employee turnover is only 10 percent against an industry average of 100 percent." Kip Tindell, founder and CEO, Container Store

"Pay attention to where it is easiest to get talent. LA is the third largest tech community; it is easier to attract and retain great talent in LA than the valley," Dana Settle, co-founder, Greycroft

Being ruthless in a thoughtful way about your resources is the greatest control over the speed of your growth. Do you have the right capability and capacity on your team to meet your growth goals?

One key differentiator that I have found in my work accelerating innovation with successful executives and entrepreneurs is that it is not enough to be brilliant--you have to be brilliant and demonstrating your brilliance. All of these entrepreneurs that I met and listened to demonstrated this unique trait. Do you?

Published on: Jun 30, 2015