The dream of owning your own business and being an entrepreneur attracts many to get started as a business owner. While the inspiration and excitement that gets the ball rolling is necessary, most new business owners experience an almost immediate awakening that owning your own business requires a lot more than at first supposed. In fact, as the novelty of owning a business wears off and the day-to-day grind of running a business settles, in many new business owners begin to doubt if they really have what it takes to make things work out. This moment is often referred to as settling into reality.
Early in my career I set out on a project to interview more than 400 of the world’s top achievers in business, sports, entertainment and other areas of high achievement. I found that this settling into reality takes place in every field and among all levels of achievers. Those who are less successful in business experience it just as often as those who are highly successful.
As I observed this shift I came to recognize quickly that to successfully start and run a business, it takes heart. But not just one kind of heart, it actually takes two.
The first type
The first type of heart is the easiest to attain and recognize. Often when we speak of this level of heart we often use the words passion, inspiration, love and mission to describe it.
For example, you may say that you always knew you were destined to do this for a business. You love this kind of work. You’d even do it for free. It’s your dream job. You might even catch yourself saying things like, “I found my mission or calling. I love my business. This is my passion.” With this level of heart its clear you have recognized what you love to do. What you do is close to your heart.
This is an important part of heart because to achieve the highest levels of success, it is required that you really love what you do. Your heart must be in it. It’s not enough just to be skilled. You must be passionately excited about what you are doing.
Often for most business owners this is a fairly easy step to accomplish. Finding what you love and are passionate about is fairly straight forward for most. The difficulty comes with the next level of heart.
When difficulties arise
After you have discovered what you love, the most difficult part of heart arrives. As all business owners discover that there are good days and bad days. And even some days that are very difficult. That’s when this second level of heart comes into play. This second level of heart appears when you can do what you love especially when it’s difficult.
I saw high levels of this kind of heart when I interviewed the 400 top achievers. I would see it especially among the athletes as the pushed to take themselves to the highest levels of performance. I would hear others talk about them by saying things like, “Boy, that kid has heart. You can’t stop him.”
The same kinds of things were said about the top business leaders too. Without exception all of the top achievers I observed had experienced moments of challenge or frustration. Often those frustrations and difficulties would have stopped lesser individuals, but no, not these top achievers. It’s how people respond to these kinds of difficulties that separate an average business owner from an extraordinary one.
It is this level of heart that makes all the difference between someone who creates an average business from an extraordinary one. Anyone can get inspired but not everyone can endure challenge. If you are a business owner you have already most likely found your first level of heart. Most likely you are in a field or industry which excites you. (And if not, maybe that’s something to revisit.) But now that you have that, you may wish to explore how you can increase your second level of heart.
Commitment wake-up call
How committed are you to pushing through when things are tough? How committed are you to creating the outcomes that you know you want and deserve? How solid are you in your convictions that you will do what it takes to achieve the goals you’ve set for yourself, despite whatever difficulties may arise?
And I might mention briefly that it’s not always the most fearsome difficulties that take away our heart. For some people its simply procrastinating the things they need to get done to grow their business.
Make a commitment today that you will recognize your moments of a weak heart and get on track. Now is your time — make it count!
Douglas Vermeeren is a leader in personal development and achievement psychology. He has extensively researched the lives of more than 400 of the world’s top achievers and compiled the lessons he learned, along with the psychology that creates success, into a seminar series called Personal Power Mastery.