Are you an entrepreneur? How do you really know?
This week I’m in Paris, in the country that gave us the word ‘entrepreneur’. Here’s the three ways I define an entrepreneur. Watch the video to get the full story.
The word ‘entrepreneur’ comes from the French Verb, ‘entreprendre’ which means ‘to undertake’ or ‘to commit’. An ‘undertaking’ is a journey of promise, or a ‘quest’. That’s when we make a commitment to achieve something, and then off we go to fulfil that commitment. The past participle of ‘entreprendre’ is ‘entreprise’ which is where we get the word ‘enterprise’. That’s what we now call a business – the vehicle for our quest. As in Star Trek’s Starship Enterprise ~ “To boldly go where no man has gone before”
Here’s the three questions I ask to see if someone is living the life of an entrepreneur:
Are you on a bold quest?
As the origin of the word comes from, are you on a journey of promise? You may be in a job. You may be just getting started in your own business. You may be a student or unemployed. But the moment you commit to and embark on a quest, you’re on the path of an entrepreneur. The size of your question determines the size of your quest. A question like “what shall I have for lunch?” leads to a different quest than “what positive impact will I have in the world?”. Grow the size of your question and grow the size of the quest.
The most powerful effect of embarking on a quest is it means you need to leave your ‘normal’ behind. No more time for excuses or complaining. You’re going somewhere now, and picking up the resources and people to join you on your journey. There’s no turning back, and life becomes an adventure.
“Life is either a daring adventure or nothing.”
~ Helen Keller
Do you have a 3 month frequency?
We’re taught a student and employee mindset – a one year cycle where we only expect to move class or get a pay raise once a year. Entrepreneurs work on a different cycle – a 3 month cycle. Even if you’re in a job or unemployed, you can adopt an entrepreneurial cycle. It changes everything when you do.
Why do all companies listed on the world’s stock markets follow a quarterly reporting cycle? Because when you say what you’re going to achieve in the next 3 months, you need a tangible plan that you are already taking action on for anyone to believe you. You connect your goals to your actions in a way you don’t need to when you’re looking at an annual goal or new year’s resolution.
Why do farmers and sports leagues work in seasons? Because you can apply yourself far more effectively in 3 month cycles, especially when these are synchronised to the seasons in nature and culture. Once you choose to grow your business, wealth and health in 3 month steps, change starts right now. When you give yourself a pay raise every 3 months and a new health plan every 3 months, your confidence and credibility increases dramatically.
“The seasons are what a symphony ought to be:
four perfect movements in harmony with each other.”
~ Arthur Rubinstein
Are you an authority?
The third question I ask is about your personal identity. When we stand for something, we stop falling for everything. When we create a position – like in a game of football – we no longer chase the ball and people start passing the ball to us: We go from action to attraction.
Being an authority means being the No.1 go-to person in a particular niche, whether that is based on your passion, purpose, expertise, industry or location. It starts with making a decision to stay focused in one area to be of greatest value in that area to others. Being an authority allows you to be an author of your own story. Until you make that stand, you’re only ever a part-player in someone else’s story. The moment you make that stand, you stop chasing and losing your way, and you begin building yourself as a lighthouse lighting the way for others.
“Inside my empty bottle I was constructing a lighthouse while all others were making ships.”
~ Charles Simic
What you’ll notice about my 3 questions that define whether you are an entrepreneur is that it is a much wider definition that the media portrayal of wild risk takers running small businesses. It gets back to the core of what the idea of an entrepreneur was meant to be – and it’s three things that you can step into immediately. The moment you do, there’s no more excuse or waiting. You’re on the journey. It starts now, and the results start now!
If you’re inspired by this post, pick up your copy of my book (the special pre-launch offer closes this week) at
Keep shining brightly,