15 Traits of Successful Entrepreneurs

Gratitude… It’s more than simply being thankful for what one has. It is, I believe a core attribute for success…a necessary ingredient if you will.

One of the great advantages to actively investing directly into private businesses, is that over the years I’ve managed to obtain insight into hundreds of businesses, and spoken with hundreds of entrepreneurs, CEO’s and inventors. I can say one thing without a doubt, those who approach life and their businesses with responsibility, appreciation, humbleness and positivity are immediately streets ahead of their competition.

What exactly are the key attributes to success for entrepreneurs?

There are a number of criteria you can use when running due diligence on any deal, but I came across a fantastic article entitled “13 Things Mentally Strong People Don’t Do”, which I believe highlights many of those that sit in my subconscious when reviewing a deal.

This is a list compiled by psychotherapist Amy Morin, and as great as the list is I think gratitude should be included.

  1. They Don’t Waste Time Feeling Sorry for Themselves – Mentally strong people don’t sit around feeling sorry about their circumstances or how others have treated them. Instead, they take responsibility for their role in life and understand that life isn’t always easy or fair.
  2. They Don’t Give Away Their Power – They don’t allow others to control them, and they don’t give someone else power over them. They don’t say things like, “My boss makes me feel bad,” because they understand that they are in control over their own emotions and they have a choice in how they respond.
  3. They Don’t Shy Away from Change – Mentally strong people don’t try to avoid change. Instead, they welcome positive change and are willing to be flexible. They understand that change is inevitable and believe in their abilities to adapt.
  4. They Don’t Waste Energy on Things They Can’t Control – You won’t hear a mentally strong person complaining over lost luggage or traffic jams. Instead, they focus on what they can control in their lives. They recognize that sometimes, the only thing they can control is their attitude.
  5. They Don’t Worry About Pleasing Everyone – Mentally strong people recognize that they don’t need to please everyone all the time. They’re not afraid to say no or speak up when necessary. They strive to be kind and fair, but can handle other people being upset if they didn’t make them happy.
  6. They Don’t Fear Taking Calculated Risks – They don’t take reckless or foolish risks, but don’t mind taking calculated risks. Mentally strong people spend time weighing the risks and benefits before making a big decision, and they’re fully informed of the potential downsides before they take action.
  7. They Don’t Dwell on the Past – Mentally strong people don’t waste time dwelling on the past and wishing things could be different. They acknowledge their past and can say what they’ve learned from it. However, they don’t constantly relive bad experiences or fantasize about the glory days. Instead, they live for the present and plan for the future.
  8. They Don’t Make the Same Mistakes Over and Over – Mentally strong people accept responsibility for their behavior and learn from their past mistakes. As a result, they don’t keep repeating those mistakes over and over. Instead, they move on and make better decisions in the future.
  9. They Don’t Resent Other People’s Success – Mentally strong people can appreciate and celebrate other people’s success in life. They don’t grow jealous or feel cheated when others surpass them. Instead, they recognize that success comes with hard work, and they are willing to work hard for their own chance at success.
  10. They Don’t Give Up After the First Failure – Mentally strong people don’t view failure as a reason to give up. Instead, they use failure as an opportunity to grow and improve. They are willing to keep trying until they get it right.
  11. They Don’t Fear Alone Time – Mentally strong people can tolerate being alone and they don’t fear silence. They aren’t afraid to be alone with their thoughts and they can use downtime to be productive. They enjoy their own company and aren’t dependent on others for companionship and entertainment all the time but instead can be happy alone.
  12. They Don’t Feel the World Owes Them Anything – Mentally strong people don’t feel entitled to things in life. They weren’t born with a mentality that others would take care of them or that the world must give them something. Instead, they look for opportunities based on their own merits.
  13. They Don’t Expect Immediate Results – Whether they are working on improving their health or getting a new business off the ground, mentally strong people don’t expect immediate results. Instead, they apply their skills and time to the best of their ability and understand that real change takes time.

I’d add two more to this list.

  • Gratitude – If defining success purely by a balance sheet, then gratitude is an intangible. If defining success by feelings of passion, hope, enjoyment and fulfillment then it is impossible to leave this one out. Furthermore, life is too short to deal with ungrateful, negative, people. The latter tend to fail and will try to drag you down with them. Avoid them at all costs.
  • Passion – Entrepreneurs go through a lot. They get beaten up, they work insane hours, they have the world on their shoulders and the world at their feet all at once. To survive both the mental and physical challenges and be successful requires a passion for the business. Without it a business will struggle to grow, may even decay and die, and very importantly the participants in the company will struggle to be fulfilled. As an angel investor these are companies I wish to avoid like the plague.

– Chris

“I cannot remember a moment in my life when I have not felt the love of my family. We were a family that would have killed for each other – and we still are.” – Richard Branson


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