EE 003: The Act As If Principle of EXECUpreneurship
Not everyone is cut out to be an EXECUpreneur. There are specific traits that you must work to cultivate in order to find success. To bring to life the results you seek in your EXECUpreneurial journey, you must be in the process of developing the characteristics that are commonly found in successful EXECUpreneurs…at all times. It is an evergreen process of development.
I call it the “act as if” principle.
Act as if you are already that successful EXECUpreneur. What would she do? What would she say?
Successful people have certain habits and ways of conducting themselves. This provides them with the ability to accomplish more during the day and allows them to have the right mindset. While some people are born with these characteristics, most people who dream of becoming successful EXECUpreneurs have to work to develop these traits. They have to incorporate them into their daily lives. Every single day.
Here are seven character traits that you need to possess (to some degree) if you want to find success as an EXECUpreneur.
The first characteristic that most successful EXECUpreneurs possess is tenacity. When it comes to business, tenacity means that you don’t take failure personally and you keep working, sometimes for years, to get the things you want in your life. A tenacious EXECUpreneur will never give up and can bounce back when they face setbacks and run into challenges. When they run into roadblocks and experience a failed attempt, they don’t give up; instead the try something new or take another route.
Other people tend to give up and quit when they become frustrated or when something is “too hard”. EXECUpreneurs, on the other hand, merely shrug their shoulders and move forward with their plan. It is often wrongly assumed that highly successful people don’t experience failure. Nothing could be further from the truth. They simply have a higher tolerance to the experience of failing.
They “fail faster”.
Speed is an essential element of success. Embrace the fact you’ll face failure and speed up the process to get to the success sooner. Attempting to avoid failure is futile and rather subversive to success. Successful EXECUpreneurs never give up trying. This is where curiosity outlives passion. The flames of curiosity are fanned by the good and the bad. Passion relies solely on the feel good stuff. The difference between successful people and the rest of the population is that people who are successful understand that failure is just a part of the game and continue moving forward in the wake of failed attempts.
It is a common assumption that successful EXECUpreneurs are driven by money. However, most EXECUpreneurs will tell you that they are driven by their passion for their service or product. They are driven by their need to solve a problem and make life better, more comfortable, and cheaper. They believe that they will be able to change the world. They are excited by what they are doing and believe that their passion will get them through the difficult times.
Having a passion that is based on your business’ specific mission provides an intrinsic drive and belief that the internal reward will help sustain you between paydays. It is your passion for what you do that will push you to go the extra mile. Your passion will provide you with the excitement to go to work every day and get things done. You’ll begin to be excited to see what can happen.
Tolerance of Ambiguity
This personality trait is defined merely by the ability to withstand the fear of uncertainty and potential failure. Successful EXECUpreneurs are inherent risk-takers. The ability to control one’s anxiety is the most critical characteristic of successful EXECUpreneurs.
EXECUpreneurs face an abundance of fears; the fear of humiliation, the fear of running out of cash, the fear of missing payroll, the fear of having to declare bankruptcy, the list goes on. These fears may relate more to the entrepreneur than the typical exec.
The corporate executive has to face similar fears when they are at the helm of a company over which they do not have control. There is no loyalty anymore. That was a thing of the past. It’s more a “perform or get cut” kind of environment in the corporate world. That can be riskier than straight entrepreneurship at times.
The successful EXECUpreneur is able to look fear in the face and push forward with their plan. The ultimate EXECUpreneurial test happens on the mental battlefield. You have to decide to either go with the fear and quit, or push through the fear and move forward in pursuing your goals. Successful EXECUpreneurs always push through the fear. They are able to control their thoughts and mentally commit to their plan and the actions that follow. The EXECUpreneur will look at a situation and know that they have some control over the outcome.
One of the defining traits of all successful EXECUpreneurs is their ability to spot an opportunity and imagine something where others haven’t. EXECUpreneurs have an inherent curiosity about the world around them that provides them with the ability to identify overlooked niches and puts them at the forefront of innovation and emerging fields. They are able to imagine another world and have the ability to communicate their vision to others. Visionaries have a gift.
Successful EXECUpreneurs are always looking for ways to change the things around them and make them different, unique, better. They are willing to take the risk to see their vision become a reality because they know that it is going to be something big.
A critical EXECUpreneurial trait is self-belief. If you don’t believe that you have what it takes to do something, then you won’t succeed in your business venture. You have to have faith in your thoughts and opinions and know that you are capable of accomplishing anything that you put your mind to achieving. You have to be sure that your product or service is something that the world needs and that you can deliver it to overcome the naysayers in your life.
There will always be someone who “is just trying to keep you from getting your hopes up” or who’s “just trying to keep you safe” by telling you that you’re ill-equipped for EXECUpreneurship. Tell them to shut up. Politely of course, or not. Some people just don’t hear “polite”.
Researchers describe this as task-specific confidence. It’s a belief that turns the risk proposition around. Task-specific confidence provides you with the assurance that you can get the job done based on the research you’ve conducted. You must have this type of confidence and be willing to take calculated risks. Successful EXECUpreneurs know that they are right and are confident that they are making the right decisions for their life.
Your ability to survive in business depends on your ability to adapt and be flexible to the continually changing world. The final product or service that you offer will likely look different from when you started. Flexibility is what allows you to respond to the changing tastes and market conditions. It is an essential trait if you want to be a successful lifelong EXECUpreneur, not a one-hit wonder.
If you are unable to remain flexible in your journey to EXECUpreneurial success, you are going to be in for a huge disappointment. This is because in business something will eventually go wrong. It always does. Those who are successful understand that things aren’t always going to go the way that they want or plan.
The true EXECUpreneur embraces their position at “the drawing board”. For they go back to it on the regular to revisit, revise and revamp. They are able to see when things are going off track, figure out why they are going off track, and make the necessary adjustments to get back on track.
The difference between successful people and the rest of the population is that they are able to properly manage the time that they have. You’ve heard it before, “We all have the same 24 hours.” The successful put their time to work for them instead of the other way around. They are highly focused individuals, which allows them to complete tasks without wasting their most coveted commodity.
This results in their accomplishing more throughout the day, without having to put in excessive hours. Each of us has a unique way of keeping ourselves on task. What works for you may not work for me and vice versa. Implement a system for organizing your thoughts, actions and goals. Then…key point here…follow the system!
Consistently working toward the cultivation of the preceding 7 traits and incorporating them into your daily life can make your EXECUpreneurial venture much more manageable. One thing I can guarantee is that you’ll be pulled in many directions on a regular basis. If you don’t go into EXECUpreneurship with your eyes wide open to this fact, you’ll spin your wheels. This always leads to frustration. You got into the EXECUpreneurial waters to move the needle on your life, not sit idle. Or worse, go backwards.
Being in the pursuit of each of the aforementioned traits will help you reach the success you’ve always dreamed of obtaining. You’ll never be perfect (sorry to burst your bubble if you thought you could be), but by simply being in the pursuit, you will fortify your own strength and that is what will propel you toward EXECUpreneurial success.
Take some time to look at your life and see which of these traits you already possess and which ones you need to develop.