Are You Satisfied?

No, we're not talking about the big meal you had a few hours ago. We're talking turn-of-the-century, down-to-the-nitty-gritty, is-my-business-everything-i-hoped-it'd-be satisfied.

Once upon a time, I asked every entrepreneur I interviewed if they were satisfied with their accomplishments. And without exception, they were not. Absolutely not. It was as if I'd inquired about criminal activity Or the prospect of death. Finally, I stopped asking. Here were great icons of entrepreneurship--many with companies worth tens or even hundreds of millions of dollars, all constructed from nothing--and satisfaction was still a dirty word. They might admit to being successful. But if they were satisfied, they wouldn't say the word. Perhaps they thought admitting it would sound too boastful. Maybe they wereafraid of tempting fate.

But with the year 2000 approaching, Entrepreneur decided it was time to ask again, just in case the answers had changed. Are entrepreneurs satisfied with their businesses? Their lives?

In a word, yes. From Wunderkind and seasoned pros, the word came down, resounding and positive: Yes. It was yes, regardless of age or the size of their ventures; yes, regardless of past challenges or future expectations. It was absolutely yes. Here's why . . .

Gayle Sato Stodder, a freelance writer in Redondo Beach, California, has been writing for Entrepreneur for 13 years.

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This article was originally published in the October 1999 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: Are You Satisfied?.

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