Five Under-the-Radar Attributes to Cultivate that Will Make You a Better Person – and a Better Entrepreneur
All entrepreneurs have some core personality traits in common. In my experience, the one tried and true attribute that every single one of us has in common is that we’re weird. We think differently than the vast majority of the population. We’re commonly long rangers when it comes to our thoughts and opinions of things, and we like it that way. No—ok, we love it that way.
Putting those core attributes aside, though, we are all still quite unique. We are individuals, with different experiences that shape our worldviews, different passions that make us tick, and vastly different personalities that shape our reputations. In other words, we are all, somehow, human (imagine that).
Most of us, somewhere along our journey that saw us diverge from mainstream thought, found out that the vast majority of traits we thought were innate parts of the psyche were actually skills and abilities we could cultivate. Books have been written on developing charisma, shedding anxiety, and even becoming a person of character. We know we can become whatever we want.
In that vein, let’s talk about five things we can become to not only become better entrepreneurs, but also better people.
It’s obvious that we don’t have the ability to truly know the struggles people have endured. But it’s important to try. And in that trying, we become compassionate. Somewhere along the way, someone (or, more likely everyone) on your team will make a mistake. Some of them may be costly mistakes. Before reacting to their mistake, take a moment to think about their situation. What caused it? Are they going through something difficult? Are they simply overworked? Take a moment to see them as a person—with a family, goals, and dreams. It’s much more difficult to berate someone when you’re looking at them as a man or a woman—a human being—rather than an employee.
This one may seem obvious at first blush. It’s well documented that great managers are great delegators. But it needs to go beyond giving Jane task A and John task B. To have engaged employees, you must engage them. It’s your business. The people you hire must know that you have full confidence in their abilities, not only with their technical skills, but also with making decisions related to those skills and their functions. If you can’t trust your employees enough to empower them in this way, you’ve got the wrong person.
All of us, in both business and life, have tons of responsibilities. And we’ve got to process all of it. Our brains are incredibly powerful, but they can only take so much before our efficiency begins to decline. Our brains are simply making too much noise. New clients, old clients, investors, employees, processes, automation, payroll, children, dinner, date night, dry cleaning, deck repair, taxes, and the list goes on forever. Our brains store all of that, and at any moment, thoughts pertaining to any and all of these things pop into our heads. Taking twenty minutes every morning, and then sporadically throughout the day, to stop and quiet our minds is essential to our efficiency and effectiveness. Uncluttering our mind will do the same to our agendas, and allow us to concentrate on our top priorities.
Once we have turned the volume down on our inner dialogue, and had a few moments of quiet presence, it’s good to examine our recent past and reflect. What did we do right? What are our biggest concerns about how things unfolded? What could we do better next time? This goes beyond having a negative experience and saying “Whoops! Won’t do that again!” In those situations, we attach ourselves to the negative emotion we felt as a result of the outcome of our action. However, if we take a moment, by ourselves, and reflect on the entire process that led to the outcome, we can see where we faltered, and adjust moving forward.
I’ve never met a single person who gets more out of reprimand than out of praise. Obviously there are times when difficult conversations need to be heard. But we do ourselves a disservice by neglecting the times when we could be commending the people in our lives for being so amazing at what they do and who they are.
All of these traits have something in common—they all have people at their center. Whether it’s your family, employees, or yourself, people are by far our most important assets. So see them for who they are and what they can do. And do everything you can do keep them motivated, engaged, and above all else, happy.