How would you define entrepreneurial success?


On Episode 205 of Joe Polish’s “I Love Marketing” podcast he did an interview with myself and three other entrepreneurs on a plane ride from St. Louis, MO to Manchester, NH. This is the first in a series of stories where I will dive a little deeper into the answers I gave to the questions Joe asked. His first question to the group was, “How would you define entrepreneurial success? Everyone here is successful, driven — what is it that you are actually pursuing? Why is it that you do whatever you do? Where does the ambition come from? What is your definition of success? If someone said, ‘This is successful,’ what would that mean to you?”

Though Joe asked specifically from the point of an entrepreneur it is my belief that success across all realms boils down to something pretty basic. It does not require measurement, money, special skills, or a deep network of resources to leverage. It is instead the simple concept of using your language, both internally and externally, in a powerful and meaningful way of doing whatever comes out of your mouth. That’s it — period.

I make the reference to internal language just to emphasize the point that whatever comes out of your mouth also needs to be congruent with the private thoughts that are swirling around in your brain. For if this is not true the only person you will ever succeed in fooling is yourself.

Decisiveness is important as well, and if you think about it is basically a prerequisite for being able to actually do whatever you say. For if you not have clarity of actionable thought then how is one supposed to be able to follow on and do anything coming out of one’s mouth?

As simple as this sounds it will separate you from 90% of the people out there and probably even more. It is the number one thing that, when turned into a culture for a business, will separate it from most of the competition. It is the “wax on, wax off” that will lead to what is probably the more traditional definition of success that might include a quantity of money in the bank, a dream team of people surrounding you in business, and the possible egotistical concept of being better than someone else.

The good news is to be successful in my world view doesn’t require money, a certain level of education, or any particular background — yet it is easy to spot when you see it in action. One recent example was someone I met made a declaration to the giggles of the people around them that they were going to be an Uber driver to pick up some extra income. Well, guess what? They actually signed up and are now fully qualified within less than a week of making that statement. They reached the half way part of success and their first Uber ride will drive it all the way home.

As to where does this type of success come I would say it is a lifestyle choice. To use the diet analogy it is not something you can do for a while and then go back to your old bad habits and expect the weight to stay off. It needs to become a part of you and something that is not thought about to be — well, successful. The results, however, achieved by this way of life will become all the motivation anyone needs to keep it going for as long as there is breath to do so.

An Uber update: Yes, they are now a fully experienced Uber driver and those giggles are still coming. I just stumbled into an interesting possible explanation as to why. Give “Fixed vs. Growth: The Two Basic Mindsets That Shape Our Lives” a read and play particular attention to the Two Mindsets info graphic at the “Success of Others” line. Whether you feel threatened by the success of others, or find lessons and inspiration in the success of others, is the ultimate result of your choice in lifestyle.

(Originally posted on Medium)