Redefining Entrepreneurs – The True Definition of Entrepreneurs
For a while now I’ve been going out and speaking to large groups and I always ask this question: “What qualities would you give a successful entrepreneur?” I ask this question because I want to help redefine what and who an entrepreneur is. If I were asked that question I would say this: intense, intelligent, focused, aware, relentless, restless, confident, driven, curious, enthusiastic, and even bold.
So, How many of those ten resonate with you as a quality you have? Before you even answer I can make this prediction: If you’re reading this article or listening to my Momentum podcast, you probably resonate with most of them, or, more likely, all ten. So on a scale of one to ten, where would you put yourself on that list? Are you in the eight, nine or ten?
If you resonate with most of these qualities, if they describe who you are I can tell you this: Your intensity has perhaps been seen as aggression from time to time. Your intelligence has probably been mistaken for arrogance and your focus mistaken for being anti-social. You probably have even been called anti-social or told that you tend to isolate. Your awareness, relentlessness, restlessness, and confidence has been seen as sensitivity, being cutthroat, maybe hyperactive, and conceited.
For people like us, when pressure and noise go up, there are two sides to this coin. These great qualities have a dark side that is difficult to understand for a world that isn’t wired like us. Let’s face it: here’s a difference between us and the rest of the world.
Just one example: At one point in the United States, one-fifth of the population watched a show like Wheel of Fortune every night. If that show didn’t play at the right time, hundreds of thousands of people called the TV station. We aren’t like those people. We entrepreneurs are hardwired differently. We are fundamentally different than the rest of the world. We’re the people who must press forward, not just want to. Stop lights probably annoy you. You don’t like to slow down. You really can’t turn it off.
We don’t want to create. We need to. We need to make things happen. We need to create an outcome. We need to drive a result or shape the outcome, and we don’t have a choice. That’s who we are. You know, and I know that every time in your life you’ve approached a finish line, it has lost importance to you as soon you have crossed it.
I think there are four different types of people in the world, and I want you to qualify each one and see which one you are.
The first type of people, I call them the caretakers. There’s a massive population of caretakers in the world. Our evolutionary tribe needed caretakers. Now, you may think that you’re one of these people, but let me just ask you this: “Do you like to change bedpans? ” There’s a population who feel fulfilled by changing bedpans. This is not a judgemental statement; this is a factual statement. I’ve spoken with these people, and I say, “Does that make you feel fulfilled?” And they will say, “Alex, if the person needed a bedpan changed, and I could do it and be there, yes, that makes me feel fulfilled.” I don’t have that, and neither do you.
The second type of person is the communicator. Our evolutionary tribe needed communicators. You know, we needed people that would talk about anything. We needed people that would talk about the woolly mammoth over there, and the cliff over there, and how there’s water over there. Communicators even talk about the weather. You know who I’m talking about. Did our evolutionary tribe need people to carry on oral tradition, to talk about what was happening? Of course. Today, those people will still talk about anything. You and I can adapt and modify and learn how to communicate. But rarely do we love that thing that confuses the shit out of us called small talk. But there are people out there who love it. We are not like those people, either.
The third type of person is the organizer and the memorizer. If our population of the tribe is going to conflict with anyone, it’s going to be the organizers and memorizers. These are the people who volunteer for the condo association. They are the people who love fine print and contracts. I want you to understand, I’ve worked with some incredible attorneys, and accountants, and people who have helped me because they love to organize. We are not these people either…
Here’s what I know. You probably can run a spreadsheet. You can probably do things that would make you look like this. However, the fact is, do you want to follow the rules or make the rules? That’s the difference. When I look at this evolutionary tribe, we needed the caretakers. We needed the communicators. We needed the organizers. We needed the memorizers. There had to be some order to things going on.
So, what’s missing from our evolutionary tribe? The evolutionary hunter. Our tribe needed the people who were driven, committed, and felt the need to go forward with no fear and get up every day and go on the hunt. If we’re honest about who we are, we know we’ve been an evolutionary hunter our whole life. Our need isn’t to finish. Our need is to be on the hunt, to be in momentum, to be moving forward. We all feel that need.
Here’s what’s interesting: When you read about the most successful people in history, you see that same need. That’s why for people like you and me, going forward, creating success, is a feeling of life and death. The sooner we admit it, the sooner we understand who we are and how we can create the success we want in this world. Our drive to create success, to go on the hunt, to kill, is evolutionary. It’s chemical. It goes beyond what we can understand, and you and I both know that. Entrepreneurs are the only people in the world who will get up every day, take the criticism and the pain and the condemnation of trying to do something different.
The evolutionary hunter is a personality type. The entrepreneurial personality type is an evident subpopulation in the world. I want you to understand that I know you have felt like a party of one. Someone who was isolated and alone, and like you didn’t have a place to belong.
Once you understand more about the entrepreneurial personality type, you’ll know why we encounter so much friction in the world. The people who take care of people, the caretakers, the communicators, the organizers, the memorizers. They strive for average and cling to the status quo. They want to keep things the same. We both know that every day of your life you’ve woken up and looked for what are you going to change next. The entrepreneurial personality type is different. You are different. Embrace that difference, and then go out and change the world.