The DNA of Entrepreneurial Success

With all that said, keep in mind that people can exhibit behaviors that are significantly different from their natural personalities, at least for short periods of time. Introverts can behave like extroverts, especially when they're with a group of introverts that they trust and feel comfortable with. When someone they don't know walks into their environment, they may return to their more introverted roots. We all have the ability to stretch or hold back our natural styles for a relatively short period of time. The challenge is changing our personality for an extended period.

Just think back to your last job interview, and compare your behavior with the way you acted the last time you went out with one of your good friends. Notice any differences? Anyone who has ever interviewed for a job knows that his "interview personality" isn't necessarily his real personality. Interviewing and dating are basically "sales calls;" in those scenarios--if we're interested in the job or our date--we're selling ourselves. Our objective is for the person conducting the interview to offer us the job or for the person sitting across from us at a candlelit restaurant to be interested in future engagements.

For the most part, personalities, Tier I (developed largely during the early formative years of people's lives), change little over the course of their lives. Their behaviors, Tier II, however, are the manifestations of their personalities and are the aspects of their personalities that are changeable. People can change their behavior to get what they want in a number of environments. I like to use the typical dating personality or vacation personality to illustrate your ability to behave outside your natural personality because almost everyone can relate to it. Regardless of your personality, the dating personality you exhibit, particularly on the first few dates, is probably quite different from what your parents and best friends see.

Imagine that you're on a date; perhaps it's the beginning of a relationship. Do you think that you'll be more aggressive or more accepting? The dating personality is usually accepting. "You're 35, and you live with your mother. That's great. What a wonderful way to show your love and support for her!" When you're on a date, do you think you'll be more calm and patient or be more impatient? The survey says more patient. Imagine it's time to pick up your date. You expect your date to be ready by 6:30. You have plans on seeing a movie at 7, but your date isn't ready. Do you blow a gasket or do you say, "That's OK. Why don't we just have dinner first and then play the rest of the evening by ear?" Right! You're more patient. For those of you who are now married, are you still as patient? I doubt it.

When dating, do you find that you're more sociable and outgoing or more shy, introspective in your thoughts? Most of us are more sociable. For those of us who think selling is just like lying, even we can increase our sociability in the dating process. Do you feel more relaxed or driving when dating, and are you more compliant, wanting to do everything right, or more casual and independent? When dating, we have a tendency to be more relaxed and independent in that we're more flexible and uninhibited. This is a great personality to have in a dating environment.

The dating personality is very resilient, able to sustain itself for sometimes the entire dating process. The challenge with the dating personality is that you're able to be this person for a couple of years but then one morning, you wake up, look at your significant other and say, "I can't believe how much you've changed since we got married." With shock, they look at us and say, "I'm not the one who has changed. You're the one who has changed." The truth is, everyone changes.

While dating, interviewing, or in a selling or speaking role, you can project a personality that's completely different from your everyday nature. The bigger the difference between the way you're acting and your natural style, however, the harder and more stressful it will be to keep up the act. (Those of you who are attempting this know exactly what I mean!) Eventually, for most people, the mask falls off. If you meet someone who appears to be calm, cool, and collected, all you have to do is put him in a stressful situation to unveil the person behind the mask. The best novelists learn to do this with the characters in their stories to give readers the inside scoop on the characters' true nature, showing their strengths and revealing their weaknesses.

Find the Long-Term Personality
According to the Talmud, an important book in Judaism, before a woman shall marry a man, she should see him under three conditions. True personality traits tend to come out when someone is drunk, sick, or angry. I jokingly tell executives who are hiring, "If you really want to know what someone's like, take them out for bad sushi, offer them a couple of martinis, and then piss them off and see what happens" Of course, it would be easier and less painful to have them take a personality assessment.

Since founding and running a successful company is a long-term process, it's best for an entrepreneur to carefully choose a venture that's well suited for his natural personality. The bottom line is that each of the seven personalities is much more compatible with some types of businesses than with others. Rather than swimming upstream with the currents running against your potential success, why not focus on the types of situations and businesses in which you can thrive?

The value of understanding your own personality is that you can leverage your strengths, improve your weaknesses and limitations, and discover the type of organization that you're best served in creating. You have two choices; you can either choose a business that is well designed for you or be prepared and know that you will need to hire and surround yourself with the right people. Both work.

Like this article? Then check out The Entrepreneur Next Door on Entrepreneur Press.

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