Greatness takes Guts – Part 4 of 4

I worry about my oldest son. He’s an entrepreneur. What can I expect, he grew up watching his old man, a fanatical entrepreneur. 

The life of an entrepreneur is filled with high highs and very low lows. I am shocked my wife has put up with my business dreams long enough for us to see success because they put us on the edge of bankruptcy more times than I care to admit. 

History is written by the winners who have been dealt defeat after defeat, but were able to pick themselves up and keep going until they failed their way to success. Nobody is inspired or remembers the dreamer who had a great idea but wasn’t able to overcome the inevitable obstacles thrown on the rough path to greatness. 

That said, I can’t imagine a better way to make a living for my son or for me. I love living life on my own terms and truly feeling that I control my destiny. 

Resilience, or having guts, means you are emotionally prepared for crisis, setbacks, betrayal, and even the depression that comes on the road less traveled of greatness. 

When I talk to entrepreneurs (and now my son) about success, I emphasize some lessons I have learned about resilience and how to overcome obstacles. 

  1. Have a passionate dream that burns deep inside you. If you do not clearly know why you are getting punched in the face with failure, you will give up. KNOW what you are working for. 
  2. Accept failure as a fact of life. Somehow parents want to keep their kids from failing. Failure is a part of the learning process. Expecting a good result from everything you do is nuts and creates impossible expectations. 
  3. Adversity should make you stronger. Look at adversity as an opportunity to harness and use all your skills and capabilities. Steel sharpens steel and adversity should improve you, not defeat you.
  4. Learn from your mistakes and get better. 
  5. Keep your dream alive. Point 1 was to have a passionate dream. Keeping your passion stoked requires work. Know what you are working and remind yourself of it constantly, especially during times of failure.
  6. Get a mentor. Seek support from those who believe in you. Nothing destroys greatness faster than listening to the wrong people. Find a mentor that will challenge you and call you out on your failures and then have the humility to listen and make changes. 
  7. Never stop believing in yourself. Your belief will weaken at times and even feel broken. Read the biography of anyone great. They always had moments of disbelief. The successful people learn to limit those moments and get back to their noble quest fueled by their passionate dream. 

Summed up: Over my past 4 posts I have talked about the characteristics required to achieve something great. Each characteristic is important and truly is an amazing gift. However, few of us are born with all the ingredients needed to achieve greatness. They must be acquired and improved. 

True greatness comes when we begin to piece all these characteristics together. As one part becomes stronger, it strengthens the whole. As the whole is improved, greatness is an expected result. 

For my son and others willing to travel the rocky road of greatness, I wish you success in your pursuit of freedom and living life on our own terms. For me, that comes from being an entrepreneur.