“When you were born, you cried and the world rejoiced. Live your life so that when you die, the world cries and you rejoice.” – the Cherokee people.
If you want to be successful, if you want your dreams realized, stop focusing on your desires so much. Desires never end. That void can only be temporarily filled by material acquisitions and accolades. Instead, focus on impact. Focus on how can you give instead of how can you take. Focus on how you can make yourself better, where you can best place yourself to help others. When you make this mental shift: ideas, people, and opportunities come running to you.
Forget the glorified entrepreneurship lifestyle you see on those motivational Facebook memes. When you succeed, you are going to be too busy to be posing around in a new Lambo rocking two Rolexes. You are going to evolve to find these symbols of status largely irrelevant. Do you see Gates, Zuckerberg, or Jobs flashing bling? These billionaires are billionaires partially because they don’t bother giving a damn about displays of status. They are THE status. They’ve become the status by focusing on what they can give to society.
Hard facts: 85% of all start-up ventures fail, regardless of how smart or how hardworking their founders are. Many Silicon Valley venture capitalists do not even talk to prospects until they have showed them that they have already attempted and failed several previous start-ups. However, there’s good news.
There is a way to ensure that even if your venture fails, you do not: focus on impact. When you think outwards, there is always a reason to look forward to the next day. There is always something that you can learn from your previous failures. You keep your positivity and your drive even if your life’s work crashes. When you focus on your ability to provide for others, success is inevitable. There is always something you can do to help others.
“A good soldier is a poor scout.” – the Cheyenne people
As a self-starter, you learn quickly that no one person can be good at everything. Different roles require different backgrounds and mentalities. The same style of bravado, discipline, and obedience that makes a good soldier would get a scout killed. Likewise, the nimbleness, daring, and individuality a scout has would make him hard to command as a soldier.
In start up businesses, it is very tempting for the leader to want to control everything. My mentor would always remind me, “don’t be a hero CEO”, find teammates and delegate. You cannot be good at everything. Imagine the headstrong sales manager playing the role of the human resources chief or head of corporate communications. Your team would be at each other’s throats constantly!
Furthermore, as a leader of a company, in addition to effectively delegating responsibility based off of personality and aptitude, you need to know when to let your subordinates be YOUR leader. If you come from an engineering background, when it comes to branding, you hire a public relations team to tell you what to do. Not the other way around. If you come from a sales background, don’t micromanage the design team.
“He who would do great things should not attempt them all alone.” – Seneca Nation of Indians
There is so much bad advice out there for entrepreneurs that glorify the lone-wolf mentality. Take it from the guy that spent most of his last two years in insolation working on his projects…there is a reason why the ethics of solitary confinement in prison is currently being debated. You cannot succeed without other people helping you. You need mentors, teammates, friends, and maybe even a good therapist. Next, you need an audience.
Any self-starter, be it entrepreneur or artist, needs to be comfortable with being alone. However, stay alone too long and you will become cynical and self-restricted. Your circle will naturally become smaller when you embark on any ambitious journey but it does not have to stay small as time goes on. In this day and age, it is not hard to find people who share your vision and your path. You simply need to look for them. Network hard. Network without excuses.
You need to upgrade yourself if you want to upgrade your circle. Constantly working on yourself will give people a reason to give you their time of the day. Ultimately, individual prowess can only get you so far; to accomplish your dreams, you are going to need to build a tribe.