"Never interrupt someone doing what you said couldn't be done."
This quote from Amelia Earhart is one of my favorites.
And I think it is especially applicable to entrepreneurs. Since most entrepreneurial achievements are ones that seemingly couldn't be done.
Take Google. Would you have thought that this startup, which initially faced heavy competition from other search engines like Yahoo!, Alta Vista, Lycos, and others would eventually dominate the industry?
Or take Apple. Would you have bet in 2004 that Apple would develop sensational products and become the world's largest company based on market capitalization? And that from 2004 to 2011, the company's revenues would grow EIGHT times?
Both of these feats, and virtually every other feat achieved by entrepreneurs and entrepreneurial companies have seemingly been impossible. But, they were achieved.
Which leads to the question of "why?" Why were these entrepreneurs able to achieve these amazing feats while most other fail?
From my work helping entrepreneurs start and grow their businesses for over a decade, and from reading countless books on success, I have identified 5 key reasons why entrepreneurs achieve success.
And I expect that Amelia Earhart thought and did these things as well on her way to becoming a legend.
1. Surround yourself with winners
Success coach Jim Rohn said, "You are the average of the 5 people you hang around with most." It's true. If you hang out with losers, unfortunately you'll be a loser. But if you hang out with winners, you'll become a winner. Because winners have a different way of thinking. And winners (particularly other successful entrepreneurs with whom you should be spending time) have often already encountered and overcome the challenges you face in your business.
How do you surround yourself with winners? Meet them at networking events. Seek them out (e.g., successful local business owners and executives). Etc.
Amelia Earhart also surrounded herself with winners. She was mentored and taught by famous air racer Frank Hawks and pioneering aviation teacher Anita Snook. She also spent significant amounts of time with ultra successful entrepreneur and book publisher George P. Putnam.
2. Identify your limiting beliefs and then overcome them
Limiting beliefs are beliefs that we hold either consciously or subconsciously that serve as obstacles to achieving and attracting what we want.
For example, each year many schoolchildren are told by teachers that they "aren't smart" or "won't amount to much." As a result, these children often carry, throughout their lives, this extremely negative and limiting belief. They incorrectly believe, at either conscious and/or subconscious levels, that they can't achieve success, and as a result they don't.
This holds very true in business, and, as such, it is imperative that you both identify and overcome your limiting beliefs.
For example, do you hold any of the following limiting beliefs?
- I don't have enough time to become a successful entrepreneur
- I can't start or grow my business since I don't have enough money
- Failure is shameful, and if my venture fails I will be shamed
- I can't be a successful entrepreneur because I'm lacking certain educational degrees
- I can't change or improve; I do things my way and that's who I am
These false beliefs and "excuses" prevent many entrepreneurs from achieving greatness. So identify these beliefs and force yourself to expose of them.
3. Accept the idea of failure
While you shouldn't dwell on the possibility of failure, you must accept it. If you don't, you may be striving in your business to prevent failure, rather than striving to achieve success. The latter will always help you achieve better results.
It turns out that actual failure is never as bad as we think it will be. Specifically, research shows that when people fear the worst and it happens, it's not as bad as they thought it would be, and they recover quickly.
MANY entrepreneurs have failed before achieving success. Milton Hershey, P.T. Barnum, Henry Ford, Walt Disney, Donald Trump -- all of these super successful entrepreneurs failed big at one point in their careers and had to claim bankruptcy.
That's why I love this quote from Phil Knight, the co-founder and chairman of Nike, Inc. - "people only remember your last success." So, even if you've failed before, or fail again, as long as you end up on top, that's all people will remember.
4. Dream positive
What you think about in your mind often comes true. So you need to stay positive. For example, rather than thinking about what to do to prevent customers from leaving you, think about ways to better satisfy your customers and get them to tell all of their colleagues about you.
At the end of the day both of these thoughts are similar, but framing it in a positive light is proven to increase your chances of success.
5. Believe in yourself
The biggest barrier to your success is often believing that it is possible.
Consider this story as told by marketing consultant Dan Kennedy:
"One man I know, who made over $100 million in his business in its first three years from scratch, had gone broke in business several times before. After the three years of remarkable success, he said, "Making $100 million is about the easiest thing I've ever done. Believing it could happen to me was the hard part that took 20 years."
You must believe in yourself if you want to succeed. You CAN do it. Simply stating that you can do it in front of a mirror every morning for 30 days will improve your belief in yourself. Maybe that sounds "hokey" to you, but it works, and if you really want to become a super-successful entrepreneur, it's worth doing.