Every successful entrepreneur has a special “something” that has made a unique, lasting contribution to their achievement, be it a former mentor, their previous role or an event that affects their lives. Our living experiences help to define who we are as individuals and improve our perspectives throughout life. As we move forward as professionals, these experiences take on the shape of new features, resources and accomplishments that help us drive ongoing maturity and achievement.
Whether it is in their personal or professional lives, the members of the Young Entrepreneur Council have been influenced by many milestone moments and memories. Below, nine of them describe the most important things they’ve achieved as they progress in their careers, and how these additions benefit them in the role they now play.
I probably didn’t recognize it at the time, but when I started my career from college, I thought I could basically do something. I always did well in school without too much effort, so I thought it would apply to the workforce as well. Also, if there was something I didn’t know how to do, I thought I’d learn really fast. Now, I’ve seen the value of having real experience. Those who have spent decades honoring their craft are incredible. Whether it’s leading a complex sales company or running a Michelin-starred restaurant, it’s a beautiful thing to look for skills. I hope 22-year-old Andrew realizes he doesn’t really know much and will focus on learning from the real masters of their craft. – Andrew Powell, Learn to Win
2. Ability to make logical decisions
Experience has taught me to develop a certain level of patience that, to my detriment, was non-existent before my career. Patience in the startup world is almost counterproductive, but I’ve learned over time to focus on making small wins on the way to bigger goals. This lesson has been combined with learning to say no to every opportunity. My work ethic has not diminished in any way, but I have learned the value of developing basic knowledge before tackling a new challenge. I am naturally an active person, so it has created a strong balance between strategic decision making and evaluating new business opportunities. I have noticed that my decision-making has improved based on reason and evidence as opposed to emotion. – Charles Bogoyan, Kenai Sports
3. Understand the difference between ‘Kind’ and ‘Nice’
I’m not a good person, but I want to be kind every day. “Good” people never waver in the boat, worry about being liked and want to keep everyone happy, whereas “kind” people are most anxious to do what is right, willing to talk and avoid the waves they create. No “good” person has changed people, systems, societies or the world in this regard. So, as a leader and entrepreneur, I tend to be kind, even though many cultures prefer “good women” and “good girls”. – Beck Bamberger, BAM
I would say that the most important thing I have achieved as my career progresses is patience. When I first started, I wanted to get everything done faster and spent a lot of time emphasizing getting things done faster so I could go further. Being impatient you can go ahead and waste valuable energy wondering if you will win your next pitch, anxiously waiting for a client response or wanting to develop and expand faster than you can. Instead, that energy is best spent focusing on things you can control – such as improving your product or providing great service – and knowing that the rest will follow. Patience combined with perseverance and determination is a much more valuable combination than the second. – Maria Themothy, OneIMS
The most important thing I have achieved in my career is wisdom. Intelligence benefits me personally and professionally because it is something I always use to make decisions. Wisdom involves more than just responding to a situation. Those who are emotionally based respond emotionally to any given situation, which promotes conflict and drama. Those who are intelligent cannot make a fair and wise decision until they have fully evaluated the situation. This is an important element for those who want to rise to the position of manager or high-level company. Company leaders often deal with different personalities, conflicts and different issues. Although they sometimes have to make quick decisions, a good leader never makes an emotional decision. – Baruk Labunsky, Rank Secure
6. Resolution not to settle
Don’t settle. You will have excuses and will demand very little from you. In other words, you do not have the experience to claim the success you are looking for. Yes, at one time we all lived with our parents, but that does not mean that we will tolerate that reality now. If you ignore the old thinking behind your mind and re-program it, you have the power to make things happen today. That “coding”, that level of success, is all based on the past. You have to ask yourself, “The way I have lived my life, on my deathbed, would I be happy if I didn’t do X, Y or Z now?” You need to consider the future. The future will flatten you! I don’t care where I was. Take care of where I’m going! – Jonathan Sparks, Sparks Law
7. Connect with other professionals
The most important thing I have achieved throughout my career is connecting with other professionals. Professional networks help us to enhance our personal profiles, keep ideas fresh, build confidence, and advance our careers. It is a two-way street of giving and taking or mentioning and mentioning. Professional networks should include past clients, referral sources, resources and trusted advisors, each of whom contributes to one’s career growth. – Jared Weitz, United Capital Source Inc.
As a professional, I have been able to gain more confidence in my abilities and skills. Impostor syndrome was a huge problem for me when I first started my business and I have seen myself quit almost more than once. It is not uncommon for new business owners to have doubts and fears about whether their company will grow and succeed. But believing in yourself, as bad as it sounds, is the key to walking confidently and getting things done. Even if you have to “fake it until you make it”, you can train yourself to be more confident and achieve better results for your business. The right attitude and mentality make all the difference. – Jared Aitchison, WPForms
I became active — I learned to focus on solving problems rather than trying to learn more. I use my energy for the things that are most important instead of getting wet and those who suck all my energy. I find that I no longer need to be reminded of who I really am and what I can do In bad times, I have learned to work harder and find ways to learn more. I no longer define my value based on what others think of me – I am now actively living my life away from the shadows of other people. Because of my activism, I am now in control of my own reactions and future actions and do not need to consider what others might think later. – Daisy Jing, Banish