Today I am going to talk about the single most important trait of an Entrepreneur. The one trait that will consistently help you make your money over your entire career. That most important trait is The Power of Perseverance.
I am going to tell you why I think perseverance is absolutely critical for your success as an entrepreneur, how it helped me build a very successful career in business and investing, the three reasons why most people struggle with perseverance and, most importantly, the 10 very specific ways to persevere.
All based on my 30 years of experience in running companies and advising 100’s of other entrepreneurs, executives and business owners on how to grow businesses and get results. My single overarching goal is to show you can build significant skills in perseverance and how those skills will make you a more successful real estate entrepreneur, so you can earn, hold and grow more money!
As entrepreneurs, we are faced with incredible challenges and seemingly insurmountable obstacles each day. We are often filled with an obsession to accomplish something big and important, in order to fulfill dreams and become the best that we can possibly be. These big dreams normally hinge on making a significant impact for someone or something we care about most: our family, our community as examples. Driven by this deep and profound desire to achieve bigger goals, we run into bigger obstacles, requiring even more skill and more determination to push ourselves forward. In other words, big goals demand big perseverance!
Ultimately, it is this perseverance that determines whether we win or lose, whether we merely participate or we dominate. However, even the most driven, skilled and capable entrepreneur will eventually run into seemingly immovable objects. It could be a financial crisis, a personal or family problem, a health problem or a massive, uncontrollable downturn in the economy like we experienced in 2008. This crisis’ can test the resolve of even the most determined entrepreneur with the deepest reservoirs of willpower.
In my 30+ years of business experience of running multiple businesses, managing 100’s of people and coaching 100’s of leaders, I have had the good fortune to work with many top entrepreneurs close up and personally. And in all that experience, the one factor that I believe consistently separates the good from the truly great, is the ability to persevere when the going gets tough and to do it over long, long periods of time.
When you hear about someone that went from the stock room to the board room, that’s me. I’m that guy. I didn’t come from a life of privilege and opulence. My father was a welder working in the oil patch of Alberta in the 1970’s. He moved the family to Vancouver for more opportunity, but the seven of us ended up living in a motel on Kingsway for about 1 year while we got established. I grew up with a good family but was definitely on my on financially. I graduated from high school with a C average, was living in a single room, working as a stock boy in London Drugs with no resources, no connections and no prospects for a future.
I put myself through electrical engineering school. In the process, I borrowed about $100k in today’s money, slept in my car while driving to the university and lost 33 libs in the process. I ran out of money while at university and was truly broke for the first time in my life. Not low on funds, but 100% broke. It took me an emergency $100 loan to get it done and from there I got an MBA in finance, and rose over the next 25 years to become an executive with some of the best companies in Canada, including personally leading the very profitable turnaround of two large companies. I understand personally, not academically, what it takes to persevere.
Today I help other business people and entrepreneurs grow their businesses by advising and coaching them, and investing in promising opportunities. So I work with successful entrepreneurs every day and know what it takes to reach the top of your game, no matter what industry. The one consistent trait that I see in all entrepreneurs is a deep, unwavering commitment to persevering, no matter how hard the task, no matter how big the challenge and no matter what the odds are. The best simply never quit.
Three reasons why some people can’t persevere
I think there are three reasons why it is so difficult to persevere over long periods of time.
- Results FastFirst, many people, particularly those starting off in their careers or starting a new venture are looking for results fast. They are looking for the reward but don’t know what it takes to get there, or think that it is easier than it really is. They see the apparent success of others, who make it look so easy, and get lulled into a false sense of belief that it really is just easy. Just because it looks easy, doesn’t mean it is, so they run out of steam.
- Wrong DirectionThe second reason people tend to struggle with perseverance is that they start by going in the wrong direction or for the wrong reason, and the ultimately run out of energy and motivation, since their actions are not aligned with their values. It is very, very difficult to commit to doing anything big and important for a long period of time, and virtually impossible to do it if you don’t have the inner drive and motivation that comes with a higher calling. It is the purpose, the reason why, that gets us up in the morning and through all the difficulties of life. If that is lacking, we lose our will and eventually run out of steam.
- Lack of SkillsThe third reason people have trouble persisting is because they lack the knowledge, skill and habits to overcome adversity. This is why the best are consistently learning new skills. Developing new skills are necessary to overcome new problems.
Solution / Personal Story – Background of the Book
In 2010, my eldest daughter was going to University and asked me for some life advice before she left. As anyone with young or teenage children knows, this is a very rare and special opportunity. I decided to write her a letter filled with fatherly advice on what she may want to do and how she may want to do it. However, when I had finished the one page letter I realized something was wrong! While I had given her ideas on what to do and on how to do it, I had missed the most important part. That is, what to do when things don’t go as expected so you can persevere over a long period of time. So I decided to write a second letter, and picked up the pen again and kept writing until I had finished 370 pages, which I turned into this book- The 1% Solution – How Small Daily Changes Produce Massive Long-term Results.
The premise which I realized I had missed is that the key to accomplishing anything great and achieving big goals, is only through Continuous and Never Ending personal improvement. The bedrock of never ending improvement is the development of good habits and disciplines, and then daily improving these habits until the cumulative effect of this improvement, just like the compounding power of money, builds to achieve great results. It’s not about doing 1 thing 100% better each day, rather it is about doing 100 things 1% better each day.
In this book, I put the best of everything I know. I did not hold back. I took everything I learned during my journey from the stock room to the board room and wrote it done. This is the rule book or recipe for what it takes to persevere in business. This is the book that will show you how to become a 20-year over-night success. I wrote 100 habits on how to persevere from Character Development and Time Management to Staying Motivated. I also included over 100 motivational quotes, and over 70 profiles of each quote author, 60 recommended books for additional reading and 13 personal stories of my own trials and tribulations. I left absolutely nothing on the table and put the best of everything I know into a single book.
I combed through my book and pulled out the top 10 best habits to ensure you persevere so you can make a boatload of money as an Entrepreneur. Each of these habits are explained in more detail in my book.
Top 10 Habits to Persevere
1/ Define Success on Your Own Terms
2/ Set Massive Goals that Inspire Action
3/ Only Discuss Your Goals with Collaborators
4/ Focus on Your Strengths, but Know Your Weaknesses
5/ Progress by Choosing the Next Best Alternative
6/ Learn From Every Failure
7/ Forget Multi-tasking – Focus!
8/ Focus on Relentless Action
9/ Get an Accountability Partner to Keep You on Track
10/ Build Long-term, Warm Relationships
The goal of this article is to give you very specific skills that will help you become a better entrepreneur and investor, so you can make way more money than you are making now.
You are embarking on one of the most interesting and potentially profitable journeys of your life. You are standing on the door step of great opportunities and riches, where you can not only change your life, but change the life of your family and the many generations of your family to come.
You will, I can guarantee you, hit immovable objects and run into road blocks. You will need to persevere over these difficulties until you achieve great success. Of that there is no doubt. That will define you as an Entrepreneur is how you build the tool kit now to achieve.
Invest in yourself. Make the development of specific perseverance skills as important as any other investment. Read good books, Join a mastermind, Start to meditate and do whatever it takes to build the Power of Perseverance!
Eamonn has a B. Eng. (Electrical) from Lakehead University, MBA (Finance) from University of Toronto, and has completed Executive Education at Stanford University Graduate School of Business. He lives in Vancouver, Canada. Follow him on twitter @EamonnPercy.