Date: Friday, July 04, 2014
While I was pondering over the word "Success" in last few weeks, I realized due to its significance and its widespread use, I must delve deeper on this. Success implies different things to different people. What does it really mean from an entrepreneur's perspective? How do you know when you have achieved success? What does it take you to get there? Do you ever wonder about it in the way Eckhart Tolle addresses it in his book – A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life\'s Purpose, that the basis for your true success is, "Finding and living in alignment with the inner purpose is the foundation of your outer purpose that can also change over time".
As we know that every dream will be challenged since a dream or goal rarely comes true easily and effortlessly, without delays, problems or hurdles. Now being an entrepreneur and optimistic by nature, I ignore these statements. Entrepreneur within you must find a way to overcome these bumps on your road to success. The bigger your dreams, the tougher your challenge, the more ambitious your goals, the more likely it is that you will need to find creative ways to tackle them. A lot depends upon your attitude, experience, skills, network and lucky stars. While you begin to reflect on it, here are four key take away (4KTA) points based upon my own experiences, insights and observations at this point in my life. It won\'t surprise me if they change in next ten years while I accumulate new learning, new lessons and new experiences from my continued entrepreneurial journey.
It is critical to recognize and understand what success means to you as an entrepreneur. Success can show up in many forms. For many of you, it may mean creating many jobs, making lots of money or having opportunities to do things you really enjoy. Many entrepreneurs find a gap in market with a niche product. A large company then ends up acquiring the startup for strategic reasons. This is success for them. For instance, my security software company ended up being bought by Novell within three years of our founding it - a great outcome for us for three years of hard work and efforts. Many entrepreneurs define success that serves a higher need to help humanity at large. For instance, Elon Musk felt that he wanted to focus in areas that can help humanity at a huge scale after selling PayPal. He concentrated on three areas – electric car, solar power, and space transportation. If you dig deeper, you will find that many entrepreneurs don\'t do it just for the money alone. While there are significant financial motives, we know well that the odds of success are low so it just can\'t be driven by money. One primary motivation is by pursuing something that was deemed impossible by everyone and also turning your dream into commercial reality. This is another definition of success as you can\'t imagine doing anything else. So make sure to get a clear understanding of how you define success for yourself.
Now once you have defined success, identify what efforts it would require. Define clearly how you will measure it. How much and how long you will be toiling over it. For instance, once you have identified and validated a market opportunity for your technology and solution, a thorough understanding of requirements in terms of people, process, product, technology and funding to turn your initial concept into a commercial success is a key. The efforts will mean tackling all hurdles, obstacles and challenges happily in all these areas as you face them along the way. Additionally, it may require solving customer pain points in innovative and inexpensive ways that have never been done before. Challenge yourself to think hard on the meaning of success for you. Think differently and clearly on efforts involved to make it happen and finally, monitoring and measuring it.
This is an important element of success. What success may mean to you in your early stage of your career may be entirely different than what it may mean after you have achieved it. You may find your thinking to continually evolve as the meaning of success changes for you. It could mean something as simple as having the biggest impact with your value add and skill sets to your customers or to your family or to anything that you feel is important in the sphere of your life now. It may mean doing something that can have profound impact on human beings globally. For instance, Bill Gates focused passionately in growing Microsoft in early part of his life. Now he is mostly focused on his foundation to do good for humanity at mega scale. This is an inspiring example of how success may have changed meaning for him over the years. As you will notice, one common theme in his focus is reaching out and having a profound impact on as many human beings as possible globally.
Here is an excellent quote that clearly articulates this element. \"Entrepreneurship is living a few years of your life like most people won\'t, so that you can spend the rest of your life like most people can\'t.\" This brings up another vital point that success is about the journey. Entrepreneurs are always looking to the next challenge to conquer. Our brain cells are constantly itching to go beyond what we have already accomplished. For instance, as an entrepreneur and startup advisor, now I pay close attention to the fact that I am being mindful, being alert, soaking in all the information and continuing to learn from the team while really enjoying the process of our intellectual and entrepreneurial interaction regardless of the eventual outcome of the startup. It\'s immensely important that you are enjoying the journey of your entrepreneurial creation during every moment of its progress. This way you may find yourself truly the happiest while really feeling the meaning of true success. Here is a relevant quote from Sir Richard Branson that summarizes this so well, \"My definition of success? The more you\'re actively and practically engaged, the more successful you will feel.\"
In summary, the four key take away points on success are around the concept of meaning, toiling, evolving and enjoying the journey.
The author is Co-Founder of AURISS TECHNOLOGIES INC., a serial entrepreneur and Board Member, Chair – Programs, The Indus Entrepreneur (TiE) organization, based in Silicon Valley, California. Learn more at www.4KTA.com and follow Naveen on twitter @Naveen_4KTA