Article from E-Myth

Just because this is just such a good article I am copying and pasting this article from E-myth for you to enjoy..

The Entrepreneurial X-Factor

2010 | Sep 22 By E-Myth Business Coach


According to legend, this is the ad placed in a London newspaper in August 1914 by Antarctic explorer Sir Ernest Shackleton.

While it’s not exactly the kind of ad we suggest you use to recruit employees, it certainly makes clear the kind of person Shackleton was looking for. Adventurers, visionaries, risk takers, people willing to work hard only for the promise of possible recognition…

Sound like anyone you know?

In a lot of ways, you could use this very same ad for an entrepreneur.

What are Entrepreneurs Made of?

Entrepreneurs posses that indefinable quality or characteristic that drives them forward, that enables them to persevere, struggle, and overcome obstacles in order to succeed at building a thriving and successful business. You can call it the “Entrepreneurial X-Factor” — and regardless of what many believe that “X-Factor” might be (attitude, passion, obsession, or simply abundant self confidence) — most entrepreneurs believe there is something that sets them apart. Although it can be argued that it is not necessarily an intrinsic quality, there is a certain something that sets the successful entrepreneur apart from the rest.

Here’s what the late Anita Roddick, founder of The Body Shop, had to say on the topic in her book, Business As Unusual:

Dysfunction is the essence of entrepreneurship. I’ve had dozens of requests from places like Harvard and Yale to talk about the subject. It makes me laugh that ivy leaguers are so keen to “learn” how to be entrepreneurs, because I’m not convinced it’s a subject you can teach. I mean, how do you teach obsession? Because it is obsession that drives the entrepreneur’s commitment to a vision of something new.

Potential entrepreneurs are outsiders. They are people who imagine things as they might be, not as they are, and have the drive to change the world around them. Those are skills that business schools do not teach.”

She believed that the ingredients of that X-Factor are passion and vision.

But there is often something more, something that is far more visceral and almost spiritual that exists for the truly passionate visionary.

Richard Branson, of Virgin fame, said “Above all, you want to create something you are proud of… I can honestly say that I have never gone into any business purely to make money… I’ve had to create companies that I believe in 100%. These are companies I feel will make a genuine difference.”

So although a vision, and a passion are essential, it can also be said that purpose drives them both.

The Secret Ingredients

Vision.  Every Successful business venture starts with a vision. Someone has an idea, a dream, and starts to work out the beginnings of a plan. And a vision is purposefully created. Other times a business owner may find themselves thrust into that position unexpectedly when they realize that they are in possession of something that has great potential. In that case, a vision is birthed. However it comes about, without a clear vision there can almost certainly be no real passion or purpose beyond making a profit.

Entrepreneurs must believe in their vision unequivocally. And the infectiousness of that vision, and the passion it will hopefully ignite, will enable them to get others to believe in their vision as well. They will gladly and often enthusiastically share that vision with anyone and everyone that cares to listen. Part of the “X-Factor” is in keeping that vision alive and real.

Although the necessity of vision cannot be overstated, a balance of realism is needed, as well. According to a recent article in The Telegraph, a group of social scientists decided to do some experimenting around the differences between what they call “declarative” self-talk (I will!) and “interrogative” self-talk (Can I?). Their conclusion? Self-talk might be the way to go.

“Setting goals and striving to achieve them assumes, by definition, that there is a discrepancy between where you are and want to be. When you doubt, you probably achieve the right mindset,” one researcher explained to author Daniel Pink. “In addition, asking questions forces you to define if you really want something and probably think about what you want, even in the presence of obstacles.”

Passion. This is what infuses the spirit of the successful entrepreneur. As Anita Roddick explains “An entrepreneur is very enthusiastic and dances to a different drum beat, but never considers success as something which equates to personally wealth. That never enters our consciousness. We have incredible enthusiasm, and I think part of the success of any entrepreneur is energy. If one has that energy one can create a wonderful enthusiasm.”

This passion is often infectious and is evident to others. In the successful business the impact of this passion is felt throughout the leadership team and into the employee level as well. It has been said that no one cares about your business as much as you do, but a burning, focused, and tangible passion for the vision will move and inspire a team like little else. In fact, one could argue that if a business owner doesn’t seem to really care about his business then why should anyone else?

Purpose. Being possessed with the need to create meaning is what drives and motivates the passionate, visionary entrepreneur. They start a business because they want to build something that will have a meaningful impact. For some, there is often a desire to make the world a better place. Although creating wealth and making a profit are still goals, they become a means to that end and not an end themselves.

Guy Kawasaki states in his book “The Art of the Start” that entrepreneurs strive to create meaning, which will become the driving motivational force behind their ventures, for one of three reasons: 1) to increase the quality of life and to change people’s lives for the better; 2) to right a terrible wrong, which is usually the case in the realm of “social entrepreneurship”; or 3) to prevent the end of something good that will require an innovative approach to be possible.

Taking A Look Within

Is there a guaranteed path to entrepreneurial success? No, but there are certain elements that are universally recognized as contributing to it. Certainly timing, circumstances and capital play a critical part. However, even those alone cannot assure success in building, establishing, and growing a dynamic business venture. Although it has been described in other terms, that somewhat elusive “X-Factor” can be found in vision, passion, and purpose.


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