3 ????’s to Success Top Entrepreneurs All Have in Common
October 7, 2016

It’s been quite the hiatus since I’ve written any articles. Apologies to those I promised weekly content to. No excuses here, just know it gets easier to not do the longer it sits on your to-do list.

A lot has changed in the past several months both in business and in personal life, but, alas I’m still here teaching and preaching entrepreneurship. I’ve transitioned to a lot more talks and teaching but I missed the power of written word.

So let’s get it!

Everyone has his or her take on what it takes to be a successful entrepreneur.

Google it now and you’ll find about 5 890 000 results. The 6 steps to… The 25 traits of… How to be the next…

Some mention the quality idea, the business model, the timing of your launch. Others mention the traits that set the “successful” apart — creativity, optimism, versatility, drive, self-confidence, instinct… the list goes on. The Secret will tell you to “visualize” success if you want to actualize it. There are certainly enough lists.

Most people tend to think the most successful entrepreneurs, business owners and CEOs we see and read about on a regular basis just got lucky. That the key to their success was the sum of the perfect equation of entrepreneurial traits, skills, money and background. A magic formula no one else seems to know or have access to.

So why am I writing another? Well the research and insights I’ve picked up over the years have told me a different story. Like DJ Khaled, I got the keys, keys, keys…

And now you do too…

They didn’t want Rooster to win.

???? The most successful entrepreneurs possess True Grit

As I mentioned a few articles ago, entrepreneurship is about the long haul. It is going to take time.

This journey requires a thick skin, focus, creative thinking and the resilience to take the road less traveled.

True Grit.

If you aren’t a John Wayne fan, I’m sure you’ve seen Jeff Bridges as the legendary “Rooster” Cogburn. It is the story of strength and unrelenting spirit in the face of all adversity.

Mattie definitely had the ????s

That’s the truest essence of what entrepreneurship is about.

  • Persistence and perseverance despite fear and the unknown.
  • A determined appreciation, or rather understanding of each step of the journey
  • An unwavering commitment to your goals

“GRIT is your capacity to dig deep, do whatever it takes — especially suffer, sacrifice, struggle, and stumble — in order to achieve your most worthy goals.“- Andy Miller, CEO of Big Swift Kick

It’s deeper than skills or your societal circumstances, true grit is what truly sets you apart. The motivation you find when nothing else is there to show you it’s worth it. Anyone can work hard when they’re motivated, it’s quite easy.

The difference between the most successful people and everyone else is that successful people go to work everyday regardless of how they’re feeling.

The guy that gets punched over and over, knocked out, shot a few times for measure, left for dead. Bruised, broken and bleeding that same guy gets back up, limps to redemption and somehow triumphs.

Against all odds.

We love those movies right? I mean who didn’t tear up watching Rudy?

Don’t front.. you cried!

“Since when are you the quitting kind?… So you didn’t make the dress list. There are greater tragedies in the world… Oh, you are so full of crap. You’re 5 feet nothin’, a 100 and nothin’, and you got hardly a speck of athletic ability. And you hung in with the best college football team in the land for two years. And you’re also gonna walk outta here with a degree from the University of Notre Dame. In this lifetime, you don’t have to prove nothin’ to nobody — except yourself. And after what you’ve gone through, if you haven’t done that by now, it ain’t gonna never happen. Now go on back…”

My father refers to it as “hanging-in-there-ness.”

It’s about overcoming setbacks without becoming discouraged or losing steam.

The amazing thing is that beyond my personal feelings and Papa John’s creative wisdom; true grit is actually a proven measure success!

“Grit is the tendency to sustain interest in and effort toward very long-term goals. [It] equips individuals to pursue especially challenging aims over years and even decades.” — Dr. Angela Lee Duckworth

Dr. Duckworth, psychology professor at the University of Pennsylvania determined that grit has better predictability for ultimate success than IQ. You can actually take UPenn’s grit assessment and calculate your grit score on a scale of 1 (not gritty) to 5 (extremely gritty.) Check out her amazing Ted Talk

Through studying individuals in various social contexts, like CEO’s , teachers, WestPoint graduates and sales teams, Dr. Duckworth found that the true measure of success was not social intelligence, family income, good lucks, physical health or IQ.

To be like the most successful people in the world it has been proven that it doesn’t matter how smart or clever you are. Success is not quantified solely by being born with a gift or talent or by any special circumstances regarding your social standing.

Success is instead, directly correlated to effort.

What truly matters is your ability to find that special motivation within to simply last and bear through the difficult and uncertain times. It’s the ability to view failure as a temporary condition and bounce back up. The reality is very few people are actually willing or able to do that.

They don’t want you to win Oregon Trail.
So when it comes to the Wild West of life when you face rattlesnakes, shootouts, typhoid fever, cholera and dysentery, how will you persevere?

When it really comes down to it how able will you be to get back up after a knock down? Simply put, those that develop “hanging-in-there-ness” are more likely to achieve.

Open a book, read it, improve yourself. That’s a major ????

???? The most successful entrepreneurs Never Stop Reading

Another one. Grit alone isn’t enough.

The second proven key to success the most successful people in the world have is they never stop reading.

In the hunt to find the secrets behind true success, Steve Siebold interviewed more that 1,200 of world’s wealthiest people over the past 30 years. The one factor that rang true in every single case? The world’s wealthiest people attribute their immense success to picking up a book.

“Walk into a wealthy person’s home and one of the first things you’ll see is an extensive library of books they’ve used to educate themselves on how to become more successful. The middle class reads novels, tabloids, and entertainment magazines.” — Steve Siebold

Warren Buffet is known for spending 80% of his working day dedicated to reading

“Read 500 pages like this every day. That’s how knowledge works. It builds up, like compound interest. All of you can do it, but I guarantee not many of you will do it.”

The most successful names all read and do so regularly:

  • Bill Gates reads 1 book a week and for an hour a day as part of his bedtime routine.
  • Mark Cuban reads 3 hours a day.
  • Mark Zuckerburg reads a book every 2 weeks.
  • Elon Musk learned to build rockets from reading books!

Cloth Talk!

“27% of American adults didn’t read a single book within the last 12 months.”

Furthermore, it’s also been found that there is a direct correlation to the reading habits of wealthy people vs. the poor. Tom Corley, in his book Rich Habits: The Daily Success Habits of Wealthy Individuals found that 85% of rich people read for self-improvement and success whereas 79% of the poor read for entertain. The same reflects in TV, 67% of rich people watch TV for an hour or less a day while 77% of poor people watch more than an hour.

“It’s not okay to sit around all day watching House of Cards, and then complain you’re not successful.” — Gary Vaynerchuk

Don’t complain to me if you are binge watching your favorite series during every free waking moment instead of dedicating some time to building yourself and your business.

The ???? to my daughter’s success? More baby books.
While I do have to get my zombie fix every week, my time is always focused more on the books I can read. I’ve even tried to instill it in my 1 year old as we’re intently focus on growing her bookshelf more than her toy chest.
It’s worth another article but here are a few of the books that have changed my life and way of thinking:
  • I Write What I like — Steve Biko
  • Essentialism — Gregory McKeown
  • Mastery — Robert Greene
  • Things Fall Apart – Chinua Achebe
  • Oh, the Places You’ll Go! — Dr Seuss
  • Start With the Why — Simon Sinek
  • The Giver — Lois Lowry
  • Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future — Ashlee Vance
  • The Jordan Rules — Sam Smith
  • The Power of Now — Eckhart Tolle
  • To Kill a Mockingbird — Harper Lee
  • Thrive — Arianna Huffington
  • The Entrepreneur Equation — Carol Roth
  • Great By Choice — Jim Collins
  • The Power of Broke — Daymond John

Many successful people dropped out of school, were terrible students or never went. Success is not limited to only formal education but on the disciple to constant learning. Reading allows you to never stop learning.

It doesn’t stop there. Reading regularly also benefits your business skills. Reading brings you increased focus, increased writing and speaking skills and my favorite; it gives you global and historical perspective. Reading pushes you out of linear ways of thinking and keeps you in formed.

In his book, The School of Great, Lewis Howes says, “Our capacity for success and greatness is embodied by the people we surround ourselves with.”

 Reading surrounds use with those great minds we otherwise wouldn’t have access to. Learn from the minds of those who have already achieved what you want.

Stop speaking 10,000 words. Focus on intake.

Yesterday you said tomorrow!

???? The most successful entrepreneurs just START

At least three times a week I get asked a mix of:

“How do you become an entrepreneur?”

“Well I have this idea, but I don’t know where to begin?”

“Someday I’ll do it… when I’m really ready”

“How do I launch?”

“How do I know I’m ready?

I’m screaming while even typing this…

Right now.

I can’t deal with these questions anymore.

Everyone has ideas for days, but can’t action a single thing. What is there to actually discuss?

“But I’ve been trying… I’m just focused on learning more… The time isn’t right… I’ve been thinking about it for a really long time…”

If you have nothing measurable to show, then you have done absolutely nothing to date… Simple as that.

If another person asks me how to be an “entrepreneur” I’ll scream… Just bloody start! Now! There isn’t a manual! There’s no formula. Thats the most frustrating part of it but also the most liberating.

Many people believe starting a business is a mysterious process. They know they want to start a business, but they don’t know the first steps to take. No one does, just do it!

The locksmith. He has all the ????s

Stop making excuses. Right now. Seriously. Just stop.

There is no right time. There is no right amount of money. There is not right time for the market. There is no right moment to deal with red tape.

Stop being so scared. Rejection, criticism, doubt, failure; that’s all part of the game.

Just get out there today.

Solve a problem and get something under your belt.

Deliver on the skills you say you have.

Embrace the uncertainty; the positive is that it means you can do anything!

They say the best teacher is your last mistake. Or is it experience?

“Experience. It’s the only reliable teacher I’ve ever had. No books ever captured what it’s really like. You just gotta do it.” — Mark Cuban

Do. Fail. Get up. Run. Fall again. Get up. And then win!

Sometime we get so caught up in our dreams and goals, but we let it blind us. It doesn’t matter how much you dream, how much you plan, how many ideas you have; if you don’t start today you will never make it to your desired achievements. It as simple as that.

Sometimes we over complicate what it means to be an entrepreneur, certainly what it means to be successful and even more how to actualize it all. The more we complicate it the easier we can avoid the hard work required.

There’s no way to avoid that risk. You have to put in the work.

Get out there today and just do it. Start. Pick up some books along the way; it’s what every single successful person before you did. That’s a good sign right? And if you don’t have it yet, focus on building the resilience this path is going to require. It’s the only thing that is going to keep you going most days.

These are just the keys I’ve found along my journey. I’m no DJ Khaled but hope they’ve given you some value and inspired you to go out an be a better version of who you were yesterday.

What other ????’s to success do you believe set the best of the best apart from everyone else? Tell me in the comments below!

Watch the video! Don’t play yourself!

 If you enjoyed the post, please let me know!

Be sure to check out some other recent posts I have written:

Entrepreneurial Lessons from the Boxing Ring

A Tribute to a Great Entrepreneur and Mentor

A Guide To Purpose Driven Entrepreneurship

What Art School in Italy Taught Me About Business

Entrepreneurial Lessons from a New Father

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