Written by: Dan Ganancial, Entrepreneur/Consultant at Ivanhoe & McToterson
As we were skimming through articles on the web, our team came across one in particular that got our attention. The article titled Tech Investor: Courage Is an Entrepreneur’s Most Important Quality is a quick read, but one that contains a very important message for those pursuing the entrepreneurial path. The message, stated by venture capitalist Ben Horowitz, is that great entrepreneurs have two key qualities: brilliance and courage. While we feel that the first quality is important, we do not think it is always necessary. There are many successful entrepreneurs who do not operate on a genius-like level. Instead, the more important quality a great entrepreneur needs to have is courage.
Dictionary.com defines courage as: The quality of mind or spirit that enables a person to face difficulty, danger, pain, etc., without fear; bravery. To have the courage of one’s convictions, to act in accordance with one’s beliefs, especially in spite of criticism.
Courage is what keeps an entrepreneur motivated to tough it out through thick and thin. Courage is what allows an entrepreneur to walk away if the idea turns out to be bad. Courage is what drives an entrepreneur to leave his or her “safe” job in order to pursue an unproven opportunity. Courage is an entrepreneur’s last resort when acquaintances, skeptics, friends and family say that the idea is too risky or that the idea seems too hard to create and execute. Courage is the entrepreneur’s weapon that kills self-doubt.
We understand that it is easier to say “have courage” than to actually go and do it. No one said it would be easy. But we strongly believe that choosing to be courageous and applying it habitually will be an entrepreneur’s most valuable asset.
So, how do you get started on the path to courageousness amidst all the uncertainty and riskiness inherent in entrepreneuralism? Two thoughts for you …
1. Surround yourself with like-minded people who will support you as well as help you achieve your dreams. Their encouragement will get you through your down-and-out days. Their collaboration will fuel your entrepreneurial fire.
2. Do at least one thing each day to make your dreams a reality. Taking one step at a time and doing it in a consistent manner will build courage because you will start to see progress towards your goals.
In conclusion, we want to leave you with a few quotes from one of our favorite entrepreneurs. Our hope is that you find inspiration and reinforcement in the words below. Walt Disney said:
“All the adversity I’ve had in my life, all my troubles and obstacles, have strengthened me… You may not realize it when it happens, but a kick in the teeth may be the best thing in the world for you.”
“All our dreams can come true, if we have the courage to pursue them.”