In an article by Jeff Sandefer, he asks the question whether entrepreneurs are born or made. He interviewed a number of seasoned entrepreneurs their thoughts and they provided a list of characteristics of successful entrepreneurs such as business skills, character, and luck. Sandefer realized that the answers provided by the entrepreneurs were assets that could be categorized into three areas; Industry Expertise,” “Good Business Judgment,” and “Reputation and Relationships.”
In thinking this through, Sandefer believed that many failed entrepreneurs also had these characteristics, so what was the difference? The difference that set them apart from those that failed was that they had stayed the course. Day after day; year after year, they continued their journey.
Sandefer said that “entrepreneurial success isn’t a destination, it’s a journey. A journey taken one determined step at a time, in a way that builds lifelong treasures.”
In Sandefer’s talk given at BYU-I titled, A Hero’s Journey, he says that we have a special mission on this earth, one that will exceed our wildest dreams. We will only find it if we have the faith and courage to find our entrepreneurial calling. If we worry about the wrong things, we may miss the opportunity of a life time.
He points out that being a successful entrepreneur may seem like it is all about us, which it is. But as we travel the entrepreneur journey, we will discover that is all about other people. He says that what matters is not the prize at the end but how the hero is changed in the process. We will learn how to learn, how to listen, how to influence others, and trying not to be the smartest person in the room. Most of all, we learn how to lead a life of meaning.
As we get older, only three questions are important. These are:
- Have I contributed something meaningful – Never give up your search for a calling, that special mission that satisfies a need in the world. Become an expert in something that matters. Find a calling that fits your special gifts.
- Am I a good person – Set clear ethical guardrails and stay within them. Write a list of all the things, “I will not…” Develop moral boundaries and refer to your list if are ever tempted to cross the boundaries. Use your list to pause and reflect, and stop yourself from sliding down a slippery slope.
- Who did I love and who loved me – Choose your fellow travelers well. You may underestimate the power of ordinary people. It’s important to surround yourself with people of character because you may become like them. Consider the most special of your fellow travelers, your spouse and your family. Family time can never be recaptured.
A hero’s journey is not about you and it is not easier than a fool’s errand. There will setbacks, because the stakes are higher. However, the battles will be won because you will be more satisfied and fulfilled as you set out to make a difference in the world.
Resisting the hero’s call will lead to a wasted life. Do you have the courage to take the hero’s journey?