There has been a lot of debate especially in the academic circles regarding entrepreneurship.
Are successful entrepreneurs born, a product of their environment, is it something that can be taught or studied or are they just lucky?
The answer is probably all of the above, depending on which belief system you subscribe to.
One thing is certain though, successful entrepreneurs display a number of similar behaviours and traits. Examples of these traits include being resilient, passionate, decisive, flexible, fearless, self-belief (locus of control) etc.
So logic follows that you can still become a successful entrepreneur by behaving like one, even if you were not born with the traits. In order to be successful in any industry, one would need to know more than just the technicalities of that industry.
You need to follow the behaviours of successful people to achieve success not just in business but also in life.
Locus of control
One very simple but crucial behaviour mentioned above is locus of control. Simply put, this is the belief of the degree of control that an individual has over the direction of their lives. Human beings generally fall into one of two categories, these being internal or external locus of control.
External locus of control is where one believes that everything that happens to them in life is due to faith, luck or a preordained plan. They believe that external factors control all of their lives.
Internal locus of control is where the individual believes that they are in control of their own destiny and their actions or lack thereof will determine their success or failure.
Successful entrepreneurs have a high internal locus of control and they believe that they are masters of their own destiny. As much as they persevere for success, they realise that they are also responsible for their shortcomings. If the circumstances are not in their control, they realise that any resulting success or failure is not a result of their actions. The positive of having a high internal locus of control is that it drives the individual to achieve success, regardless of external factors.
The enquiring mind
Leaders with a high locus of control tend to demonstrate a participative management style. This is where entrepreneurs are able to relate their vision and inspire all around them to take an active role in the organization’s decision making process.
These entrepreneurs possess an enquiring mind and constantly need to investigate and learn more about the world around them, these people value information. These individuals adopt the role of linking the organization’s internal networks with external sources of information. This is also known as boundary spanning.
A healthy dose of positivity
Entrepreneurs with a high internal locus of control are naturally positive thinkers. They focus on what will yield positive results in their lives. One needs to have a healthy dose of positive thinking to survive the times when things go wrong, and as most entrepreneurs will tell you, things do and will go wrong very often.
Being very goal orientated and focussed on the task at hand is characteristic of such a person. However this can become a drawback as they can sometimes appear to be brash and impatient which leaves the people around them feeling bitter or hurt at times. This internal locus of control is then misconstrued as a sign of arrogance. The positives, however, far outweigh the negatives.
With internal locus of control being such an integral part of developing your entrepreneurial traits, it makes good sense to work on and achieve these characteristics.
To get started, here are four key steps that you can implement in your life today.
- Set clear goals.
- Increase your self-confidence
- Improve your decision making skills
- Steer your mind in a positive direction
Setting SMART goals
So how does this all work? In order to grow, cultivate or improve your locus of control, one would need to set clear goals. Goal setting is the process of deciding what you want to accomplish in your life and devising a plan to achieve these aspirations. The goals should be SMART i.e.
- Relevant, and
Achieving these goals will increase your self-confidence and improve your decision making skills as well. Believing in yourself and your abilities will enhance and cement this process.
The enemy of success
Inertia which is the resistance to change is an enemy to your success. It is easy to naturally think negative thoughts. You become what you think. Control your thoughts. Like any habit, this can be learned. Always pay attention to your mind and your actions and steer these in a positive direction.
So one can learn to become a successful entrepreneur regardless of your current circumstances and this starts from within.