Successful Entrepreneurs Exude Courage
At the end of last year I did a two-week tour of Europe where I attended 10 events speaking and meeting entrepreneurs from around the globe. I spoke with and received feedback from scores of them and found that those who are successful do the same thing:
They move from comfort to courage quickly and with intention.
Every single success story I encountered started with a founder who recognized that the success or failure of the business rested with him or her.
Self-aware and driven to perform at the top of their game, they each told me that they recognized in themselves a stark contrast between when they were becoming complacent and when they were actively engaged in pushing their definitions of self.
They were constantly in courageous pursuit of knowing who they were and how they could improve. They saw the benefits of their self-awareness directly translate into a bottom line result each time they intentionally set out to understand and improve themselves.
Although the words used to describe what courage means were different for each person I encountered, the general definition encompassed a sense of stepping outside of the known, pursuing something and acting with intent despite the possibility of obstacles arising.
Courage did not mean bravado. Nor did it resonate with fear. Courage meant that whatever the founder or firm was doing, he or she was doing it exclusively with the belief that a better outcome would arise at the end despite moments of uncertainty.
Entrepreneurs of successful enterprises also spoke about a continued effort to let courage prevail when they occasionally wanted to hide and seek comfort in the known.
Some entrepreneurs divulged that in the past even when the known wasn't working they had lacked courage to change, adapt or address what needed to be done.
But when they discovered that a prompt move into courage let issues dissolve more quickly, they embraced the need for a courageous effort as often as required to keep their firms competitive and heading toward success.
I had predicted that in the more established economies and cultures of the United Kingdom, I might find that courage was not of as much a value. Or that in the more fluid and tumultuous economy of Greece, that courage would be at the forefront. But universally, courage ranked equally in proportion in all conversations.
No matter where the entrepreneur was from or operated, courage was a required ingredient for success.
With cultures, currencies, economies and competition moving and changing at a pace never seen before, the ability to respond to opportunities and challenges with courage is a requirement for success. Only those who are willing to move away from the traditional, conventional and known in a deliberate way will survive to find success ongoing.
For some people at startups, a whole-hearted effort to discuss courageous strategies was the favorite approach. Others sought courage from a founder leading them into successful pastures. While some leaders spoke of reading inspiring books and connecting with other entrepreneurs, others spoke of relying on personal physical feats and challenges as their courage compass.
For every entrepreneur and firm, the way he or she found and remained in a place of courageous pursuit was different. But they all had explored what would work for them and were actively engaged in keeping courage with them at the forefront of starting, scaling and running their enterprises.
For me, courage has always been a very personal thing. Frankly speaking, I have moved in and out of it over time as I have had success and failure.
Now, I am firmly in a place of courage with my courage compass being set and maintained by a series of activities I do to remind me of the impact I can have, my connection to the emotional outcomes of success and my ability to move beyond my current definition of self when called upon. If you are curious about what I do, check out my process.
Ultimately each person is responsible for his or her own move from stuck to success, from comfort to courage. No matter where you are around the globe or your industry, without courage, the likelihood of long-term success seems to be virtually nil.
So whatever your next move, do it with courageous intent. You will find success ever the more likely.
Entrepreneur Leadership Network Contributor