Chris Guillebeau was a high school dropout and either fired from or quit most of the jobs he had before becoming an entrepreneur. By his own admission he was a terrible employee. But that all changed when he found his true calling and purpose while making, and eventually accomplishing, the goal of traveling to every country in the world.
Chris' definition of entrepreneur is a good one: "A person who is willing to work 24 hrs a day for themselves to avoid working even 1 hour for anyone else." Gillebeau is the author of two bestselling books, "The Art of Non-Conformity" and "The $100 Start Up." He also hosts the wildly popular World Domination Summit which attracts "an army of remarkable people" to Portland each year in a TED conference style setting combined with food and beverage tours of the local city establishments.
Guillebeau is doing it his way--which IMHO also happens to be the right way. Based on my time with Chris, here are 14 things the best entrepreneurs never do:
1. Never give up
Most of the stuff we try as entrepreneurs might not work. But that's okay as long as we factor that failure into the plans. The way to win is to keep trying until you figure it out. Quitting, either because you run out of resources or energy, is the only way to lose.
2. Never hold grudges
To be honest, this is a tough one for me. I've heard it said that holding a grudge is like taking poison and expecting the other person to die. It's true. I've tried it and still battle this demon all the time. Holding on to negative feelings or wasting time on someone who doesn't matter much to your personal or business goals is counterproductive. Let it go.
3. Never complain
No one likes a complainer even if he's right. Here's a little rhyme I made up: It's sad but true that no one cares as much as you. Need to get you feelings out? Try writing your complaints in a private journal. I've done this and when I've gone back to read things that happened in the past, I'm a little embarrassed sometimes that I made mountains out of molehills.
4. Never stop hustling
There's a really good chance no one is going to hand you success. No one, except your mom, is staying up at night praying for your success. It's up to you. Make it happen. Do it. No excuses.
5. Never wallow in self-pity
We will all face adversity, set backs and maybe tradegy. Friends and family will likely let us down from time to time. We might legitimately have a claim to being offended or wronged. This should come as no surprise as this is how life works. So we should expect bad things to happen and be prepared with a reaction when, not if, it comes. Cancel the pity parties because they are always a party for one person and not fun. Make a plan for how you'll handle certain situations before they happen and be the survivor not the victim.
6. Never live in the past
There's so much to say here but I'll keep it brief. I've found that I'm only as good (in the eyes of others) as my last great project. You can't bank everything you've ever done well. Sheesh, I wish I could...Instead, you've got to stay present in the present. Let that sink in, it's a thinker.
7. Never let people define them
Have you ever been typecast? Have you ever felt limited to one skill or one activity because that's all people think you can do? No one can define you unless you let them. The word "disruption" has become really buzzy but the core idea is about going agaisnt the grain. Doing things differently. Marching to your own beat. You get the picture.
8. Never compare themselves to others
This is one of the most subtle but destructive if you fall into this trap. You have no enemies and I would argue you don't have competitors. You're in a race against your own best self. Like the track and field runner, your PR (personal record) should be your only focus. Was I a little better today compared to yesterday? If so, you're winning.
9. Never say bad things about others
It's tempting to air dirty laundry. If you're rich like Donald Trump and you don't care about reputation and burning bridges then it might not matter. But to everyone else, beware of being too honest and open about others. If you talk $#@! about someone else, it can be assumed that you'll do the same to those around you eventually. Not a good way to succeed.
10. Never think short-term
I think short-term goals are important but I'm talking about keeping an eternal perspective. By eternal I mean that your race never really ends, it's just a series of life stages. We should give short-term success and failure the same weight. That is, celebrate the short victories but don't get lazy. In soccer, the first 5 minutes after you score is the most vulnerable time to be scored upon. Failure is temporary too. Don't get stuck, keep moving and consider how small the set back might be in the long-term.
11. Never fail to execute
Sometimes we get stuck in analysis paralysis. Constantly aiming at the target but never taking the shot. Find the balance between creating something you think solves the problem well enough as a first attempt and ship it. Fix it. Improve it. Refine it. Rinse and repeat.
12. Never wait to get picked
Seth Godin reminded me, "Prince Charming isn't coming Bryan." He's right. Waiting to get picked rarely happens. Pick yourself. Go for it. Be awesome regardless of whether you think you need to wait for permission or to be qualified.
13. Never stay in a comfort zone
Nothing good has ever come from staying in your comfort zone except being able to live with your parents until you're 30--said no one. The magic happens just outside that zone and beyond. Give it a shot. What do you have to lose? No, really do the math. Would it really be that bad? Is the upside greater than the downside? If so, GO!
14. Never chase fame
Being famous is not the same as being talented or respected. Fame can be a byproduct of success. But fame is a liar who strokes your ego and leads you down the dark roads of lonliess, false entitlement and an endless pursuit of empty dreams. At least that's what I've been told by famous people...
I could go on but these should be good food for thought for a bit. What did I leave out? Tweet me @BryanElliott or post a comment. Want the full Behind the Brand library? Click here