There is a saying that there are only three types of people in the world: those who watch what happened, those who wonder what happened and those who make things happen.
Entrepreneurs fall into the last category, of course. They are change agents, people who don’t see the world as it is but as it could be. Entrepreneurs don’t sit on the sidelines and wish for a better world. Rather they go out and create it. They don’t wait for things to be different. They are the difference.
Being forward thinkers, entrepreneurs continually push themselves to become better and do better. They are game changers. They ooze confidence and inspire greatness.
Today is a great day to become an entrepreneur because the price of admission into this elite club is free and yours for the taking.
Do you really want to succeed as an entrepreneur? Follow these five steps and you’ll be well on your way to developing the leadership qualities it takes:
1. Willingly fail and reflect. “Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better,” goes Samuel Beckett's line. It's not always easy, the trying again part.
Another important thing is taking time to reflect on what went wrong. In the book The Call of Solitude, Ester Schaler Buchholz says, “Others inspire us, information feeds us, practice improves our performance, but we need quiet time to figure things out.”
In his book, Fail Up, radio broadcaster Tavis Smiley recalls lessons he has learned through reflection. He sheds light on these so-called failures that were, in hindsight, his best teachers.
You’ll only learn by failing over and over again. When you do this, you’re able to grow. And in spite of life’s inevitable setbacks, you’ll come out the victor.
2. Embrace and confront your fears. According to author Brendon Burchard, fear can be categorized in three ways, which all relate to pain. The first is loss pain, which happens when you’re afraid to move ahead because you fear you’ll lose something valuable.
The second is process pain, which inevitably occurs every time you try something new. You have to go through the process of learning to deal with it.
The last is outcome pain. This involves not getting the outcome you desired.
Burchard insists that people need to overwhelm their fears. Just as an army invades its enemy from every side, a person should do the same with fear, attacking it from every side, as if going to war.
For Shark Tank host Barbara Corcoran, public speaking was her Achilles' heel. But she overcame it by going to war. She volunteered to teach a real estate night course in front of a small group of students to overcome her fear.
3. Practice self-discipline. This is the ability to delay instant gratification and the ability to work hard now to reap benefits later. When Academy Award-winning actor Jamie Foxx was a boy, his grandmother routinely made him take piano lessons even though all he wanted to do was go outside to play. He had no idea that those lessons would lead to his eventual success. To this day, he continues to hone his craft and disciplines himself to practice playing the piano for two hours many a day.
No one sees the years of hard work you might put into an endeavor. They only see the outcome. If you want to reap the rewards of tomorrow, you must put in the work today.
Related: How Much Sleep Do You Really Need?
4. Get some sleep. Shortly after the debut of her eponymous news site, Arianna Huffington collapsed from exhaustion and lack of sleep. She’d been working 18-hour days because she was so committed to growing her company. When she collapsed, she hit her head against a desk and found herself lying in a pool of blood.
In her book Thrive, Huffington details the ordeal and says it was a painful wake-up call. She knew she had neglected sleep and took steps to correct it.
When you get the sleep you need, you’ll feel more energized, charged and ready to tackle any problem entrepreneurship throws your way.
5. Give to others. In his book, Give and Take: Why Helping Others Drives Our Success, Wharton Business School professor Adam Grant teaches the idea of generosity in a professional setting.
For centuries, people have focused on the individual drivers of success: passion, hard work and sheer will. But things have changed. Success is increasingly dependent on how we interact with others and how much we give them.
According to Grant’s research, the most successful people are those who consistently give. Grant takes this to heart so much that he not only puts in long hours as a professor, but also as many and sometimes even longer hours giving and helping others.
That ancient book, the Bible, was right all along: Happiness comes from giving.