Success in business isn’t just a great idea and hard work. Success in business is also an attitude. Attitude, as we all know, is a settled way of thinking or feeling about someone or something. Since the subject is success in business, this article is about attitude that leads to success in business.
Are you willing to put the effort in to be a success in business?
Rare are the business success stories where someone just hangs their shingle out and becomes a business success within months. Does it happen? Of course it does. It just doesn’t happen very often.
Willing to put in the effort also means putting in the effort to be a success. Whatever you cannot afford to do yourself is something you have to undertake to learn and learn well so you can apply your efforts to doing things well. Whatever you cannot do well you have to be willing to allow others to do on your behalf without micromanaging their efforts.
Take smart risks. Be willing to try something new, not because it’s the buzz activity the media is talking about, but because you see a potential benefit to business. Remember to track your cost-benefit analysis with each risk, and have a reasonable set time by which results will determine if you continue with the risk or call it a day.
When I started Idiomation in January 2010, I garnered a whole 16 hits that month … all of them from my son. In January 2014, Idiomation enjoyed over 12,000 unique hits per month and the blog has been linked to by the Smithsonian Institute and Bon Appetit magazine for articles they’ve written. If I had quit after that first month, I never would have known how successful the Idiomation blog could be (it now enjoys over 15,000 unique hits per month).
Does this mean you won’t make mistakes because you’re willing to take smart risks with your business? We all make mistakes. It’s what we learn from making mistakes that determines whether an entrepreneur can be successful in business.
Is it better to be an optimist, a realist, or a pessimist in business?
An optimist is of the opinion that it’s best to focus on optimal results. A pessimist is of the opinion that it’s best to brace for the worst results. A realist is of the opinion that things are exactly as they seem to be and is apt to discount what others tell.
In business, it’s best to be an optimistic realist with a pessimistic eye. In other words, hope for the best, prepare for the worst, and count on things being exactly what they are.
What this means is that you have to seriously consider the benefits of each thought process, which then sets the parameters for what you’re working on or with at the time. It also allows you to shore up those parts of the project or idea with supports that will prevent as many potential problems as possible.
Two months ago, I was asked to create illustrations for short stories in the “Amazing Adventures” anthology being edited by award-winning novelist and screenwriter, Joel Mark Harris. This meant working with many different authors, each of whom had set ideas about how their story should be illustrated. It could have been a nightmare situation if I had ploughed through the illustrations, relying solely on each story synopsis.
Instead, the optimist in me said that reading each story would definitely provide me with all the details. The pessimist in me said that reading each story would take up a lot of time. The realist in me said that reading each story wouldn’t guarantee that the illustration I came up for each story would please the author of each story.
The optimist in me thought I should ask each other directly to share their vision for their story’s illustration with me. The pessimist in me knew that even with the author’s input, there was the chance the illustration would fall short of the mark in their opinion. The realist in me was aware that ultimately the editor would make the final decision.
When do you know if you’ve crossed over from perseverance into stubbornness?
Perseverance is always a good thing in business; stubbornness hardly ever is a good thing in business.
Perseverance is the steady persistence in a course of action, but especially so when faced with difficulties, obstacles, or discouragement. While there is an element of perseverance in being stubborn, stubbornness is marked by an obstinate refusal to change or stop what is being done, making the situation difficult — if not outright impossible — to manage.
How long have people been stubborn? At least since 1350 when the word was introduced into Middle English.
And how long have people had perseverance? At least since 1300 when the word was introduced into Middle English from the Latin persevērantia.
So it’s pretty easy to see that even from an etymological perspective, the two have been creating a bit of a dichotomy since the 14th century.
We know that whenever a parent says a minor child has attitude, it’s not a flattering comment. However, hearing that someone has a good — or better yet, a great — attitude has a way of encouraging future and ongoing interactions.
Sifting through what does and doesn’t work for you — as an individual and as an entrepreneur — lays the groundwork for successful projects in the short-term and long-term, and helps you know whether you’re being stubborn or if you’re showing a reasonable modicum of perseverance.