Last week, at Get Started Omaha, an event put on by Inc. magazine and Cox Business, I had the honor of giving a short keynote address to a room full of entrepreneurs. After the keynote, I participated in a panel discussion with a caliber of leaders that I was proud to be included amongst: Dean DeBiase, Chairman of Reboot Partners, Ken Kraft, VP of Marketing at Cox Business and Kris Frieswick, Sr Editor of Inc. magazine. As I prepared my thoughts for what I would say in the keynote, I was inspired to write this post to share with you the power of being an entrepreneur and the responsibility we all carry as we create the future.
Starting a business isn’t an easy endeavor and it’s not something everyone is inclined to do.
Among other things, entrepreneurship involves pursuing an idea, vision for what will help others solve a problem, deep commitment to your purpose, problem solving skills, flexibility and passion to see your vision through. As someone who has started, sold and closed businesses, self-funded, pitched investors and VCs in private, on stage and over the phone in the middle of opening day at the Del Mar Race Track in San Diego (true story), I understand and appreciate what it means to be an entrepreneur.
Every week, I have the good fortune of being able to interview entrepreneurs, authors and thought leaders on the Mass Amplify Show and share their inspirational stories, lessons and thoughts with listeners.
Entrepreneurs are special.
We are a rare breed. Aren’t we?
We are passionate. We are creative. We often have so many ideas, we don’t know how we will accomplish all that we dream of. This is because we are creators at our core.
No matter what, once you get “bitten by the entrepreneur bug” it’s in your blood. We are problem solvers and “solutionists”. While some might say we create problems, give us enough time and we will find solutions you have never dreamed possible. It’s all part of a learning process that we thrive on.
We are brave and sometimes we are fearless.
We are leaders. We are collaborators. We are innovators.
Entrepreneurs see the possibilities in life. By seeing the possibilities, we inspire others to see possibilities, to think about and find solutions, to pursue their dreams. And with this comes great responsibility.
Since we are creating the future, we need to be aware of how our businesses are right now (and in the future) impacting the world.
Are our creations really solving the problem we set out to solve or do they have the potential to create more problems?
We need to think long term about our solutions and not be afraid to delay our offerings until we are sure they will truly embody the vision for betterment we originally intend. One of the most celebrated entrepreneurs of all time is Steve Jobs. He knew and could see what his vision would mean to the world and it carried him through decades of visionary evolution. He was considerate of the power of his ideas and tried to stay as true to his vision as possible. However, as successful as he was, he had high highs and low lows, but he never gave up. He stayed so true to his vision that he was at times cast aside.
We entrepreneurs need to trust our intuition and to persevere not just in the name of “success” and wealth, but with the spirit of consciousness and awareness of the power we hold. This means we need to remember to be humble. To be aware of our strengths and our limitations. We need to think about how our creations can be used even when we are not in charge anymore.
We need to be willing to check our egos at the door and walk away when the downside (whatever that may be) is too great.
While many of us can get by on a few hours of sleep, we can’t forget the importance of valuing our own health as a part of our overall message. We need to be mindful of the example that we set for those who are watching us and studying our journey. This ties into our teams that support our vision and believe in our dreams as much as we do. We need to let them thrice in all areas of their lives. This includes investors and partners. Our teams need to be cultivated and nurtured and celebrated for the power they hold. They need to be lead by example so they can be inspired to lead and bring their gifts to the world.
This passion, vision, collaboration and creativity that entrepreneurs thrive on, it ripples out into the future. If you are a parent or a teacher, an aunt, uncle, cousin or grandparent who believes in your vision and takes steps toward it every day, you are inspiring future generations by living with purpose.
It starts with that one little idea you have to start a business. To solve a problem. To follow your vision. And on behalf of all the people you inspire, thank you for dreaming and for having the courage to say, “Despite the chance that I may fail, I’m gonna do this!” and for taking action.
Thank you for setting an example to get back up when you fall. Thank you for trusting your intuition and letting your passion lead the way. Thank you for building teams that support the community and for believing that you can make a difference in the world with your business and your message, because you can.
We all can.
When one of us succeeds, we all do.
Let us never forget to cheer one another on as we venture out and forge new paths. Never forget to celebrate the successes of entrepreneurs who reach their goals and the dreams of future entrepreneurs, for they deserve to be honored as the leaders they are. And never forget to take a moment to honor yourself for living a life with passion, creativity, courage and possibilities because WE are entrepreneurs and we are changing the world.
Thank you for believing you can.