Every day, we hear about them in the news. We learned about them through general information and in-flight publications. Even movies have been made about them. But, what exactly are entrepreneurs, and why are they so crucial to our economy's recovery?
The solution is easy, according to Bill Schley and co-author Graham Weston in their inspirational book The Unstoppables.
Jobs will be created, industries will be invented, new markets will rise, and new firms will be populated by entrepreneurs who will reconstruct our economic future.
Join us for the next 10 minutes as we discuss the authors' views on what sets an entrepreneur unique and what you'll need to tap into your entrepreneurial potential.
I'm an Entrepreneur. No, I'm an Entrepreneur.
As shown in the film, Kirk Douglas is not the only Spartacus, and many others claim to be him. Entrepreneurs are also a source of perplexity.
Many people profess to understand what an entrepreneur is and who qualifies to be one, but few understand the basic truth.
According to the writers, professors and business professionals have previously conducted an extensive study and written extensively on entrepreneurship. The issue is that their theories are rarely in agreement.
Entrepreneurs are a difficult group to categorize. They differ greatly in talent, risk tolerance, perseverance, education, and pretty much everything else.
When it's all said and done, the writers conclude:
"The difference between entrepreneurs and everybody else comes down to this: the entrepreneurs are simply the ones that step up to the plate. Successful entrepreneurs are the ones that just keep swinging."
Asking entrepreneurs themselves, they would not consider themselves any different. The main distinction is in the manner in which the action is carried out. Entrepreneurs just do it; the others ponder it, talk about it, and then do nothing.
But that's excellent news in a world where millions of more entrepreneurs, including you, are needed. Why?
Because we can all be entrepreneurs if we can learn to recognize the root of our inertia and confront our fear of change. We may or may not fit into someone else's tidy description of an entrepreneur. Still, no one can keep us from taking part in the adventure or from succeeding.
Despite popular belief, entrepreneurs are not risk-taking, thrill-seeking daredevils.
Yes, on the surface, they appear to be putting their heads above the parapet and operating outside of their usual comfort zone. But it's only because they recognize that they'll have to take a risk to fulfill their desire to make a dream a reality.
No entrepreneur would risk their own or others' money without first evaluating the likelihood of success.
Entrepreneurs (and you, if you want to join the club) recognize that taking a step forward to achieve something new and unpredictable entails a certain amount of risk.
And that risk involves a certain amount of worry and anxiety. Entrepreneurs with a lot of experience never strive to get rid of their fear.
They understand that fear is natural. They know that they can transform them into energy, power, and a competitive edge by working through their fears.
Another myth about entrepreneurs debunked in The Unstoppables is a special breed of divergent, outside-the-box thinkers.
The authors agree with Sir Ken Robinson that virtually all of us, as young children, do exceptionally well when tested throughout our pre-school years for diverse, creative thinking.
However, as we go through the educational system, schools and colleges can educate us on being more creative. Entrepreneurs have managed to retain a greater portion of our natural-born, child-like creativity. But it hasn't vanished from the rest of us; it has simply gone to slumber, and like a dormant oil well, it may be re-tapped.
Entrepreneurs turn intangible assets into tangible assets. They are capable of transforming the mind into substance. They recognize a problem and refuse to accept it. They look for solutions to questions we frequently hear youngsters ask, such as: Why not? What if?
They then come up with solutions—often solutions that no one else has considered. But, most significantly, entrepreneurs explore the questions, seek answers, and then take action to make those ideas a reality.
These lead to a product or a service that adds economic value that was previously unavailable. Everyone else is simply talking.
You may argue that this is all well and well for business folks, but I'm on my own. The authors challenge such a pessimistic mindset once more:
"People think entrepreneurship, and they immediately think business. But entrepreneurship is the idea that people can have powerful ideas, own those ideas, and do meaningful things with them. Not just to create a job, but to create a life."
So, what are the requirements for us to join this renowned company? What are the necessary abilities for success?
We can achieve this, according to The Unstoppables, by achieving 'Accelerated Proficiency.'
As the writers looked for answers to their own questions about entrepreneurship, they found themselves on a trip that took them well beyond the typical academic and professional sources.
They met specialists in the US Navy SEALs who dealt with fear, risk, and failure, as well as inventive thinkers in Israel, on their tour. They even went to the movies together. Yes. The Karate Kid, believe it or not, exemplifies one of the keys to quick entrepreneurial learning.
You might remember the scene: "Left hand...right hand... wax on, wax off, Daniel-san."
Despite his initial frustration with the exercise, Daniel acquired muscle memory of the basic karate movements—the ones that all the other actions automatically follow—in an astonishingly short period.
He lacked time to study the entire black-belt repertoire of kicks and punches. However, in the few weeks he had, he could absorb a limited number of the most critical moves—enough to enter the battle and finally defeat his opponent.
The same ideas apply to entrepreneurial education.
Spending two weeks to obtain Minimally Functionally Qualified so you can start doing it for real and learning as you go is 100 times better than spending two years studying.
This is the concept of 'Accelerated Proficiency.' It is the art and science of getting individuals up and running in a shorter amount of time to begin moving, start doing and effectively educate themselves rather than just talking and watching.
The Unstoppables recommends following a four-step process to achieve Accelerated Efficiency:
- Get Exposed: Discover and eliminate the misconceptions that cause Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt (FUD).
- Get a Snapshot: Get a glimpse of the situation. Visualize the essence and how it develops from start to finish—quickly and simply.
- Get Wet: Give it a go right now.
- Get in Motion: Getting into motion is where we find markets, wants, prototypes, and the doors that will open that we will never notice from the safety of our comfort zone.
The concepts of Accelerated Proficiency always point to the problem's center since that's where you should go all in.
Every day, entrepreneurs strive to maintain the heart of their brand, performance, culture, or position as the customer's first choice in the crosshairs. That is where we are concentrating our efforts.
Accelerated Proficiency is based on our capacity to leave our comfort zones and concentrate on what is required. This, in turn, necessitates the emotional ability to take the initial step without giving up.
Doing is everything to an entrepreneur: it's a matter of principle. It entails getting started rather than giving up and, in the end, gaining some benefit that was previously unavailable. The most valuable quantity is that of doing.
So why don't we do it? Fear, in a nutshell.
However, if we can control our fear, we may use it to our benefit. We must learn to control our emotions and defeat the beast of ridicule.
When the stakes are extremely high, emotional mechanics allow us to start, do, and succeed regardless of the odds or resources. Learning to control our own emotional mechanics may be the difference between winning and losing, especially in business.
Fear is divided into three categories: the fear of the unknown, the fear of failure and loss, and the fear of humiliation and social rejection. Do you recognize yourself in any of these?
However, to break through the fear barrier, we must take a calculated risk at the heart of emotional mechanics.
As the authors point out, the danger is always there whether we develop, create, invent, experience, achieve, or win at anything.
So, how can we keep risk to a minimum? Here are four Unstoppable points:
- Get a quick grasp on the fundamentals, practice until they're second nature, and then put them to work for you.
- Reduce the risk by removing the recognized drawbacks: the flaws we currently know about and can fix as soon as possible.
- Obtain assistance for what we are unable to accomplish on our own. The ultimate success multiplier is team cohesion.
- Transform our fear into energy to keep it from paralyzing us, distorting our thoughts, and endangering our results.
Accept the notion that a certain degree of failure is necessary. A failure is a form of education. Failure necessitates adapting and correcting. Failure is a way of testing our limitations. Failure aids in the removal of roadblocks to our growth.
Failure is an opportunity to grow and improve. Failure is always transitory – until you quit — for all of these reasons.
Failure is a necessary component of the learning process. It's not intended to be enjoyable, but it will prepare us for success if we stick with it.
The characters in The Unstoppables realize that they must tread a route paved with challenges that must be solved. Problems are roadblocks; roadblocks are temporary failures; failure creates risk; and risk creates anxiety, which, when handled correctly, enables us to discover answers.
Unstoppables are unfazed by this. More than that, they understand that they're honing their expert intuition with each challenge they confront. They notice patterns and solutions that others miss, typically because their subconscious remembers what they've seen before.
As a result, a barrier is simply another term for an opportunity. Belief is the result of understanding emotional mechanics.
In the end, only a culture of belief can maintain and unleash entrepreneurship, initiative, creativity, and joy in any business.
Making emotional mechanics work requires a little mental magic, a few rules of thumb, and practice to operate as quickly as feasible in real-life situations. We become better and give ourselves or our team the ability to believe.
That is how you, too, can become an Unstoppable force for success by tapping into your own entrepreneurial strength. So when are you going to start?