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Not everyone has to be an entrepreneur, but everyone can learn something from the entrepreneur. After all, if someone like Jeff Bezos can take a small bookstore like Amazon and turn it into the world’s largest online retailer, imagine what we could do with our own lives if we applied the same kind of principles.
All successful entrepreneurs share a set of traits in common. By tapping into those traits, you can radically alter your own life in an upward direction. Isn’t it about time that you unlock your deepest potential?
There’s Always Room For More
The first step towards personal growth is to throw away the idea of adequacy. “Good enough” is no longer part of your vocabulary. Those who settle for “good enough” will never push far enough to uncover true greatness. “Good enough” is for everyone else.
In other words, successful entrepreneurs don’t believe in limits.
Nobody is perfect, which means everyone has room to improve. That includes you and me. It’s called “personal growth” and not “personal stagnancy” for a reason: at some point, you want to be better than you are right now. Your definition of better may differ from mine, but the concept holds true regardless.
If you can earn $5, then you can also earn $10. If you can run an 8-minute mile, then you can also run a 7-minute mile. If you can write a short story, then you can write a novel, and if you can write a novel, then you can write a series. The moment you become complacent and believe that you’ve reached your limit, you’ve lost.
But don’t confuse complacency with contentment. Contentment is to be happy with where you are but still believing that you can improve. Complacency is to stop trying because you think you’ve reached your end.
Embrace Your Survival Instinct
Stress is the main antagonist of our era. Everyone, including myself, is always looking out for ways to “reduce stress,” as if our nirvana is to achieve and maintain a 100% stress-free state. We dread stress, so much so that we forget that stress is often a catalyst for growth.
Successful entrepreneurs embrace hardship. Perhaps we should, too.
Paradoxically, creativity and inspiration tend to flourish under deadlines, constraints, and pressure. Every time we run away, we’re losing out on our own potential. On the contrary, if we face difficulty head on, we can stretch ourselves to new limits.
Running from conflict only makes you better at running from conflict. Facing challenges directly, on the other hand, makes you better equipped to handle tougher challenges that may come your way. Once you adopt a mindset that wants to step outside your own comfort zone, your rate of personal growth will skyrocket.
You may need to make some tough calls. During Virgin’s early years, one difficult decision we had to make involved Virgin Records, which at one point was in desperate need of cash to sign bigger artists. My partners, Nik Powell and Simon Draper, were split on what to do:
Nik wanted to conserve our resources and slowly collect money through our retail operations; Simon wanted to invest heavily in Virgin Records, betting on the notion that we could find the next big artists that way. We needed quick growth, so I took the riskier gamble, following Simon’s advice over Nik’s. It turned out to be the right decision, but it took a lot of courage — and not just from me, but everyone on staff.
Richard Branson, Founder of Virgin Group
Entrepreneurs are always exercising their “stress muscle,” so to speak. In terms of the human fight-or-flight response, they’re always fighting and never fleeing. Is it any wonder why they deal with problems so well? The essence of it is this: they’ve just had a lot of practice.
Set Proper Goals To Pursue
Motivation for personal growth is good. Some say that stirring motivation is half the battle, which is fine, but until that motivation is converted into action, it’s essentially worthless. Potential energy has no impact until it becomes kinetic energy.
Successful entrepreneurs have concrete goals to pursue. Concrete goals are one of the best and effective ways to turn lofty ideas into reality.
It should be noted that there’s a right way to set goals and a wrong way to set goals. While the subject of your goals can be about anything – whether personal, relational, or business-related – the structure of your goals should be specific, measurable, and realistic.
Once you’ve defined your goals, it’s important to work toward those goals on a regular basis. Every day would be ideal but any rate more frequent than once-a-week should be good. This concept of the “non-zero day” highlights the importance of forward momentum: slow progress is still progress!
Perseverance is no guarantee but it is the only way forward. Many tech businesses take the long road to “overnight success”. Even someone like Larry Ellison at the pinnacle of success keeps setting personal and professional goals.
I think I am very goal oriented. I’d like to win the America’s cup. I’d like Oracle to be the No 1 software company in the world. I still think it is possible to beat Microsoft.
Get Back Up and Don’t Look Back
You’re going to fail. A lot. Nobody ever said that meaningful personal growth would be easy; in fact, it’s one of the toughest of human endeavors and you should expect to run into many obstacles along the way. The important bit is that you don’t let those obstacles stop you.
Successful entrepreneurs understand that you can’t succeed if you stop trying.
Every failure is just one more step in the walk towards your goal. You can’t let past failures bog down your perception of what’s possible, or worse, your sense of self-worth. When the entrepreneur falls down seven times, he brushes himself off, refocuses his sights on his goals, and gives it another seven tries.
That’s the motto of Varun Agarwal, the 27-year-old who failed out of engineering school and chose to keep going. The result? In less than ten years, he formed a successful apparel company, wrote a successful book, and even found success as a filmmaker and director.
Put another way, it doesn’t matter that you fail. What matters is how you respond when you fail. Take responsibility, learn from your mistakes, and plow ahead with more fervor than before. That in itself is growth, isn’t it?
Learn to Rest and Reflect
I’ll say it again: personal growth is hard. It requires a lot of energy and dedication and it can burn you out quickly if you don’t keep yourself in check, which is why you can’t be going at 100% capacity 100% of the time. Want to all but guarantee failure? That’s how.
Successful entrepreneurs know their priorities.
Self-improvement is the first thing out the window when you’re exhausted, weary, and out of energy, so remember to rest. Similarly, recreation is good for the mind. Take time every week to sit back and do something that brings you joy. Set aside time to reflect on your passions and ambitions and consider exploring new hobbies or interests.
In other words, as you walk your journey of personal growth, what are you doing in all of that “in between” time? You can’t rush personal growth. There are no shortcuts. Don’t neglect your life in exchange for self-development. It won’t be worth it in the end.
How will you be more like an entrepreneur in your life? Share your own tips for personal growth with us in the comments below!
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