We watch their every move. We follow every piece of their advice. We listen to everything they say. We in many ways idolize them. You know who I’m talking about: these are the “idealpreneurs”. They are the entrepreneurial greats who have founded and run the greatest and most innovative companies of our era. These men and women seem larger then life, yet they walk among us. They are people like Jack Dorsey, Bill Gates, Elon Musk, Sergey Brin, and Larry Page, just to name a few. The companies and organizations that they have created are inspiring, impressive, innovative, and successful.
As aspiring entrepreneurs and “creatives,” it is easy to look to these successful entrepreneurs and “builders” for advice on how to run our own businesses and even our lives. Their lives quite often serve as an unofficial (or official) roadmap to success that we are expected to follow in the startup community. Despite our efforts and the good intentions of these great entrepreneurs in the giving of their advice to us as fellow entrepreneurs, the results and impact always falls short. What might explain this phenomenon? Many founders around the globe are concentrating on following in the footsteps of other entrepreneurs instead of carving out their own path and success with the “tools they have been given.” Although entrepreneurs can’t all fit into one mold, there are certain elements that are key to enjoying a successful and fulfilling career as a founder.
As entrepreneurs, we must…
1. Live in a Constant State of Innovation
This entails challenging and rethinking your own patterns and objectives as you run your company and your own life. It’s imperative to understand that innovation comes through challenging the “acceptable,” and never settling for “good enough”. World-changing innovation comes through those willing to rethink accepted norms and those willing to rethink how they go about doing things.
2. Live Uniquely
Every entrepreneur (and every person) is unique. Entrerpreneurship calls for living a life that is unlike anybody else’s. Just because something worked for a successful entrepreneur, that doesn’t mean that it is the best route for you to take with your business. Live your life and run your business in a way that maximizes your abilities and your talents.
3. Live Passionately
Living passionately is also key to living a “successful” life as an entrepreneur. Be passionate about your business, your opportunities, and your career. If you aren’t, how can you expect others (clients, customers, investors) to be? Build a business you’re proud of and passionate about, regardless of its potential to make you an “IDEALpreneur”.
As entrepreneurs, we were never meant inherently to “follow” or to “compromise on innovation.” Yet, why do we make an exception to this rule by looking to the greatest of entrepreneurial leaders in order to model our success? There is no one single “mold” for true entrepreneurs. Innovation cannot be copied or replicated, and we should live out our careers using the innovation we aspire to create in our businesses and organizations. Stop trying to be an “IDEALpreneur,” when success comes in all forms and in all shapes. Using the abilities, gifts, and resources you have been given is all we can expect from ourselves. As the old saying goes: “When life gives you lemons, make lemonade.” Live in a constant state of innovation. Live uniquely. Live Passionately. That is the life of the entrepreneur.
Image credit: Travel Busy