3 traits every successful entrepreneur should have

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I recently came across an interesting graphic that describes a day in the life of an entrepreneur. As you can imagine, the line graph of thoughts and emotions was erratic, with data points representing a battery of ups and downs related to business ownership.

At first glance, I laughed, as I assumed the diagram was a light-hearted interpretation of the struggles entrepreneurs often face—which I imagine was its intent. Then I realized that it wasn’t so much fun as it was an exact representation of the harrowing roller coaster that business owners often experience on a daily or even hourly basis as they manage and grow their companies.

The chart was essentially a zigzag interpretation of the wins, like, “Yeah, we hit this one out of the park!” And the losses, “Damn it, we screwed up!” For every positive affirmation, “Wow, it’s working!” there was an inevitable backlash. This includes ordinary business owners who tell themselves when they or their business falls short. Things like “I’m going bankrupt!” and “Whelp, this is the beginning of the end for my business!” And perhaps most discouraging: “What am I doing? I suck at this.”

The truth is that entrepreneurship is hard. Even the best business leaders often struggle with self-doubt and frustration. They reconcile hope with expertise. They make big important decisions based on sometimes limited information. They stick the neck out, maybe fail, then pull the neck in again. Yes, entrepreneurship can be extremely stressful, but incredibly rewarding.

Related: Why Doubt Can Be Your Secret Weapon

If you’re not comfortable with, or at least open to, the up-and-down nature of business ownership, you may not be cut out to be an entrepreneur. My experience is that the most successful entrepreneurs are fine with the roller coaster. Or at least they are used to it.

Here’s why.

1. Entrepreneurs are optimists

Regardless of these moments of doubt, entrepreneurs are an optimistic bunch. They’re not naïve, but they embody the Stockdale Paradox, a concept coined by Jim Collins that states, “You must maintain unshakable faith that you can and will win in the end, no matter what the difficulties, while at the same time having the discipline to face the challenges. most brutal facts of your current reality, whatever they may be.”

While optimism is often an innate personality trait, it can also be nurtured and developed by those who lack it innately. Even natural pessimists can train themselves to be more positive thinkers and doers by recognizing negative thought patterns and then actively seeking to replace them with healthier words and beliefs.

If you struggle with the mindset, there are many excellent books on developing optimism as an entrepreneur. I suggest you find one that makes sense to you.

Related: Business Owners, Put Your Own Oxygen Mask First

2. Entrepreneurs believe in what they are doing

Entrepreneurs have a strong sense of purpose beyond profits. While others may be overwhelmed with all the daily ups and downs of running and growing a successful business, entrepreneurs believe strongly in the importance of their mission. They also readily accept that they will need to overcome very substantial future obstacles for their vision to come to life.

Vision and mission are vital concepts for most successful entrepreneurs. Mission is the definition of the business objectives that an entrepreneur wants to achieve and the values ​​that will take them there. Vision refers to how the entrepreneur plans the organization to impact society as a whole. Both are key elements in how entrepreneurs intend to leave a positive and lasting mark on the world. Some entrepreneurs call this a legacy; others just think it seems like the right thing to do.

3. Entrepreneurs learn to manage their emotions

Unlike the crazy chart I mentioned earlier, most entrepreneurs don’t go overboard by celebrating the big wins or lamenting the inevitable setbacks. They understand that both wins and losses are part of the journey they signed up for.

Entrepreneurs also value failure to some extent. While no one likes to lose, most entrepreneurs understand that each failure brings them one step closer to success. This goes back to this optimism, but it also reflects the maturity of entrepreneurs in preventing disappointments from consuming them.

Nobody ever said that the life of an entrepreneur is easy. In fact, it’s almost inherently rife with ups and downs. But by embracing positivity, purpose, and balance, entrepreneurs are much more likely to enjoy their roller coaster ride to success.

Related: How Emotions Persuade Entrepreneurial Decision Making

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