Thanksgiving is our favorite holiday because it’s not about the presents, it’s about people’s presence.
In that spirit, we’d like to give thanks to you – the bold, brave entrepreneurs who dare to change our world for the better.
You sometimes start naïvely unaware, often optimistic and yet always hopeful of a better future. Your courage builds until you dare to risk your life, often both professional and personal, to go after your vision. You are so motivated to pursue the opportunity, you are undaunted by the challenges, instead choosing to focus on the potential. As you navigate the hundreds of twists and turns that might throw anyone else off the road, you just grow stronger in your conviction, more agile and determined to validate your quest. You are decisive and fast moving in the face of adversity, choosing to present a moving target not a sitting duck. You zig when others zag, you don’t just run through walls you hurdle over them. Yet you are compelled not by the new frontier, but what lies beyond and how to discover it. You are the purpose driven, pioneering entrepreneur and we must provide the compass for your exploring mind and tar the uncharted road you choose to travel.
- Bold enough to challenge the status quo, eschew current standards and seek a higher order
- Daring enough to not just expect the unexpected but hope for it in search of a breakthrough
- Fearless enough to chart the unknown once you break through
- Brave enough to risk your career to start something undefined rather than continuing to run something well defined
- Visionary enough to look where others don’t even see
- Inspiring enough to help others find potential, they never saw, passion they never felt and abilities they never tapped, for success they never fathomed.
- Optimistic enough to compel others to follow the vision in spite of their derision
- Positive enough to defy probabilities in favor of possibilities
- Realistic enough to sweat the small stuff
- Decisive enough to present a moving target, not a sitting duck
- Competitive not just to win, but to rewrite the rules
- Creative enough to reimagine the problem rather than just recreate the solution
- Curious enough to ask the hardest questions before settling for any easy answers
- Paranoid enough to seek proof not puff
- Persistent enough to just do it and prove it rather than ever give up
- Resilient enough to celebrate failure for what it really is, a learning opportunity
- Passionate enough to pursue purpose over position, impact over income
This is not for the faint of heart, or the meandering “wantrepreneur”. You know entrepreneurship is far beyond vision. In the harsh reality of execution, you sweat the small stuff (and it’s all small stuff when you’re tiny), so that your foundational elements such as culture can be strong for a bigger future. Yet you can elevate yourself to seek impact, show results and reward both learning through failure and progress. Instead you recognize it’s not even what you make, but how you make your customers successful in their business that really differentiates you. Their success is your craft. You always help them see and achieve more. And as those challenges rise dramatically from to Ideation to IPO and further still as you scale to Iconic status (see roadmap to success) they become nothing short of nail-stripping. But you are indefatigable even when you are raw to the bone and your resilience is that you rebuild when others merely retreat.
As you execute, you show a boundless courage to embrace the uncertainty and a persistence of spirit to keep asking the questions others are afraid to ask about what’s next. You thrive on this intoxicating mix of curiosity and doubt, often including self doubt. Yet you are compelled to explore and challenge both the potential of a market and your own potential self actualization. You are the learning entrepreneur who we must empower to grow and always make it safe for you to question.
As you grow in experience, you learn not just to accept but to quantify risk. Yet you use that understanding to experiment more deeply, seeking out the more systemically broken, enduring problems. Along the way you are not just sharpening the saw, you are re-inventing the tools and rewriting the rules, inventing not just technologies, but business models that cause your followers to have to play by your disruptive new measures for success.
With this outlook you are constantly evolving , becoming increasingly mission driven. In this you learn to nurture others not just in following you, but as leaders themselves to broaden your collective reach and accelerate your combined ability. You hide your scars, yet touch them with pride to remember there is no blame, only a greater self awareness that causes you to invite greatness from others more capable than you. In this way you leave a legacy only so you can celebrate when others hurdle it. You are the fearless entrepreneur, only learning from your mistakes and we must celebrate your courage, for it teaches us how only our beliefs can limit us.
Throughout this you show integrity and authenticity that reinforces the consistency in your culture. You show others how to enjoy the journey not the destination. You personally never arrive, you simply learn more about how to travel and extend the road ahead for others as you envision the future.
We thank you, for ALL you are, for you are our future and we will underscore you.
Thank you to the many, many entrepreneurs who contributed to this article. Yet there is still much more to understand about great entrepreneurs. We will continue to add to the list above as we recognize it will never be definitive, but we would love for you to do 3 things:
- If you’re an entrepreneur, share a quality you have that we’ve missed.
- Celebrate other great entrepreneurs by sharing their names and their entrepreneurial qualities.
- Share this with an entrepreneur you know to do the same.