Ideas Without Initiative – The Entrepreneur’s Biggest Mistake

 Posted by at 8:54 pm  Action, Failure, Initiative, Mistakes  Comments Off on Ideas Without Initiative – The Entrepreneur’s Biggest Mistake
Dec 292015
 
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Ideas AND Action

Ideas Without Initiative – The Entrepreneur’s Biggest Mistake

Do you have a lot of ideas “sitting on the shelf”? Big ideas. Small ideas. Million dollar ideas…

Take a moment to imagine yourself many years in the future, reflecting back on the life you’ve lived. You think about the things you’ve done, including the great moments you’ve spent with friends and family, the things you’ve tried, your great successes and your so-called failures. You also think about another category: the things you’ve never tried.  Ideas you’ve never pursued.

What do you think you’ll take the most pride and satisfaction in? What will you regret?

I’m sure the answer varies for each individual, but I also think there’s some commonality across all people. In talking with hospice nurses and in researching what people regret as they reach the end of their life, one thing always comes up: “the things I never had the courage or confidence to try”.

Think about it even at this stage of your life. What do you regret most?

For me, the answer already parallels what the hospice nurses and others have reported about people regretting toward the end of their lives: the roads not followed, the initiative not taken.

The title above is “Entrepreneur’s Biggest Mistake,” but I think this point applies to everyone, entrepreneurs and others. You do not want to look back at your life and regret the roads you did not take!

If you’re contemplating entrepreneurship and you haven’t been able to pull the trigger, stop worrying and go for it! Note, I am not saying don’t think your venture through as much as possible! I’m saying once you’ve done your research and your calculations, if all looks reasonably good, muster the confidence to take that step!

Entrepreneurship can be very rewarding. It can also be very challenging. There’s risk involved, of course, but if you’ve done your analysis, hopefully you have belief that the potential upside is commensurate with the risk.

So, what is likely to be holding you back?

I would be willing to wager that it’s not a lack of ideas. If it is, look harder – there are plenty of great ideas out there, some of which you may be able to convert into a profitable business.

If it’s not a lack of ideas and opportunities, what is it? In most cases, it comes down to the fear of failure! You’ve likely been successful in some areas of your life and you don’t want to put your self-image or the perception other people have of you at risk. You’re not willing to put it on the line or put yourself out there, as the saying goes.

Alternatively, you haven’t experienced much success to this point in your life, and you’re concerned that any new venture you undertake wouldn’t be any different. How can you change this perception and reality? Do your homework! Prepare. Don’t just wing it. Take a more diligent approach and you’ll increase your confidence and your likelihood of success.

Whatever you do though, make sure it’s not this: Nothing. Just thinking and then not following through with initiative and action will get you only one place: Nowhere.

Resolve to make this the year that you take action. Redefine “failure” as an opportunity to learn. If all doesn’t go exactly as planned, learn from your mistakes and keep moving forward! Do your homework, then take that step!

 

Paul Morin

paul@companyfounder.com

www.companyfounder.com

 

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Oct 182011
 
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Entrepreneurs - How To Take Initiative

Entrepreneurs – How To Take Initiative

In order to start a business and run it well, you must learn to take initiative.  In order to do so, you must develop the mentality of making things happen, rather than just letting things happen.  This comes naturally to some, but to others it can be tough to develop an “initiator mindset”.  In any case though, it’s useful to have a few tricks and ideas in your pocket for when procrastination and passive behavior seem too tempting.  Here are some thoughts.

1.)   Figure out what you want!  This seems obvious, but many people are averse to really thinking through what it is that they’re trying to accomplish.

2.)   Make sure it’s not just material stuff.  For most people I know, particularly successful entrepreneurs who’ve made a lot of money, they didn’t get there by making material things their objectives.  Rather, they “wanted to change the world”.

3.)   It’s key to tap your emotions.  Just as when you are trying to persuade another person or a group of people, it’s tough to do it on logic alone, you need to create an emotional link in persuading yourself as well.

4.)   Use ethos, pathos, logos in your internal conversations.  Per the previous point, it’s key to tap emotion when you are persuading yourself to set goals and take initiative.  There’s no reason you shouldn’t approach this through the tried and true method of ethos, pathos, and logos.  You’d use it to try to convince others, why not yourself?

5.)   Make sure you have credibility with yourself.  In order to use ethos, pathos and logos with yourself effectively, you’ll have to get past that first hurdle:  ethos.  Do you have credibility with yourself?  When you are talking yourself into taking initiative, do you believe what you’re saying?  Are you a credible source, even in your own mind?

6.)   Learn to believe blindly in yourself.  With success come belief and the all-important self-confidence.  What do you do before you’ve had successes, or at least successes that cause you to believe in yourself as an entrepreneur?  Lean on other successes.  If you don’t have any, believe blindly in yourself!  If you’re not going to believe in yourself, no one else will either, usually.  Where does that leave you?  Belief, particularly as an entrepreneur who must take initiative and often chart new territory, must start with you.

7.)   Set goals that excite you.  It’s very hard to take initiative on a consistent basis when you are engaged in a business that you don’t like.  Sure, you can do it for a while, if you keep your big goals in mind and draw upon them for energy and initiative, but it’s tough to maintain.  Get involved in businesses and other activities that really get you fired up.  You will then find it a lot easier to be proactive and to stay engaged!

8.)   Learn to tap your willpower.  I have written elsewhere and I strongly believe that being able to tap your will to succeed, in entrepreneurship or elsewhere, is the most important predictor of your success.  Setting short-term goals can help you access your willpower.  Such goals allow you to block out all other distractions and focus on the task at hand.  Such focus greatly increases the likelihood that you will succeed.

9.)   Do not fear failure.  Often times, I see people reluctant to take initiative because they are afraid of failing.  They know that once they take that first step, that if they don’t “succeed,” it will be perceived as a negative, by them and others around them.  You must learn to overcome the fear of failure and the best way to do so is to change your definition of “failure”.  As Thomas Edison said, “I didn’t fail.  I just found 10,000 ways that don’t work”.  You must be willing to put yourself out there, make some mistakes, and take some criticism.  If you cannot make this adjustment, entrepreneurship most likely is not for you.

10.)  Realize it’s a journey, not a destination.  Success in entrepreneurship and most other endeavors, in my opinion, is a journey, not a destination.  Once you learn to take initiative as a matter of habit, it will be tough to stop.  Trust me on this one!  Look around, how many successful people do you know who stop taking initiative, even after they “retire”.  For me, the answer is: none!  Once taking initiative and making things happen becomes habit in your entrepreneurial ventures and other areas of your life, you cannot simply turn off that switch.  It becomes part of who you are.

Don’t wait to start taking initiative.  Decide what you want.  Set specific goals and start making them happen today.  Don’t expect success in entrepreneurship or your other endeavors just to come to you.  Usually, it won’t; you have to go out and make it happen.  Learn to make taking initiative a part of who you are.  If you do so, I guarantee you that, at a minimum, you will make more progress toward your goals than in the days when procrastination may have been ruling the roost.

I look forward to your thoughts and questions.  Please leave a comment (“response”) below or in the upper right corner of this post.

Paul Morin

paul@companyfounder.com

www.companyfounder.com

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Sep 222011
 
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take initiative

To Succeed, Learn To Take Initiative

There are many definitions of success, but to achieve most any of them, you must learn to take initiative.  Unless you have a “lottery mentality” and are content to just hope that all works out OK and you simply, miraculously “become successful,” you need to be willing to set goals, then take initiative and do whatever it takes to achieve them.

Take a look around at the successful entrepreneurs, CEOs, sports stars and other people that you know or know of.  How many of them are current or former pilots or avid sailors?  Ted Turner, Richard Branson, Michael Bloomberg, Ted Williams, John Travolta, Harrison Ford and Arnold Palmer come to mind, but the list is much longer.  What does one have to do with the other?

In all my time as an entrepreneur and now increasingly as I have started doing more coaching, research and writing on the topics of entrepreneurship, human “greatness” and peak performance, one pronounced trend I have noticed in those who succeed in all sorts of endeavors, is that they take control of their own destiny.  They leave the “employee mentality” behind and develop the habit of determining and describing in a detailed way all that they are trying to accomplish, and then they chart a course to get there.

When they chart that course, they know that there will be obstacles and they know that they will likely be off-course a good portion of the time, but they also know that it is far better to have an imperfect path charted than to have nothing at all and just hope for the best.  Successful people take initiative.  They determine where they want to go, they set specific goals, and then they “just do it”.  They don’t sit around waiting for success to come to them without effort or initiative.  They know that is a fool’s game.

At its essence, this mentality boils down to taking control and taking ownership of your life, your ventures and your future.  You must become the “pilot” of your life – even if you don’t literally become a pilot, you must assume the leadership, responsibility and control of where you take all aspects of your life.  Rather than just being a passenger in life, take initiative!  Think of yourself as the “pilot” of your life.  It’s OK to have co-pilots, but it’s not OK to just sit in the back of the plane and hope that whoever is taking initiative and piloting your life will get you where you want to go.  Do you know where you want to go?  Are you willing to step up, take initiative and become the pilot of your business and the rest of your life?

Like those “successful” people and the “greats” mentioned above, you must be willing to take initiative realizing that life hardly ever goes exactly according to plan; you will need to monitor your progress and course-adjust on a regular basis.  You must also learn to react calmly in the face of changes and danger; only by overcoming your fears will you be able to reach your goals.  The knowledge and confidence inherent in having a course charted and having developed contingency plans will help considerably in maintaining calm and “pressing on”.

Be bold.  Take charge.  Take initiative.  Overcome your fears and other limitations.  Become the “pilot” of your life and all your ventures and watch how the results you achieve improve markedly.

I look forward to your thoughts and questions.  Please leave a comment (“response”) below or in the upper right corner of this post.

Paul Morin

paul@companyfounder.com

www.companyfounder.com

 

Don’t miss an issue of Company Founder! Subscribe today.  It’s free.  It’s private.  It’s practical information for entrepreneurs and leaders interested in taking it to the next level.

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