What do the world’s most successful entrepreneurs have in common?
Not a great deal, really. Entrepreneurs come from all backgrounds and walks of life. There’s no set “entrepreneurial type,” despite what fans of personality tests might tell you.
Many entrepreneurs do share some traits, however. These traits aren’t unique to entrepreneurs — plenty of people who aren’t in business for themselves have them as well — and they’re not all shared by every single business leader.
But they are quite common among people who make their own way through the world. If you want to follow in their footsteps, here’s what you can learn from them.
1. A Drive to Overcome Adversity
Successful entrepreneurs tend to be driven to meet and overcome adversity. Many trace this trait back to formative experiences that set the tone for their professional lives. For example, this story is about a private equity investor who overcame childhood challenges to build a successful investment firm and who now donates considerable time and resources to social-inclusion initiatives.
2. A Relentlessly Positive Attitude
Successful entrepreneurs tend to see the glass as half full. Not in an unrealistic sense — they’re also realists good at gauging risk and understanding when it’s time to pull the plug — but in the sense that they believe big things are possible.
If you’re not naturally inclined to be positive, try to train yourself. Work on seeing the upside in the scenarios you encounter. Ask yourself: what would have to happen for this to work out?
3. An Analytical Mindset
Entrepreneurs tend to see their work as a series of problems to be solved. That demands an analytical mindset, not just the “big picture” view that people often associate with entrepreneurs. You’re more likely to succeed in your endeavor if you’re comfortable getting down into the details of the issues you face and working diligently to overcome them.
4. A Knack for Inspiring Others
It’s no secret that entrepreneurs are inspirational. At least, some of them are, including many of the most prominent. It’s easier to scale a business when you’re able to convince teams to follow you down a path that offers no guarantees of success.
5. An Ability to Communicate Fluently
The best entrepreneurs are great communicators in one way or another. They command the room. They clearly and effectively assign tasks, manage expectations, and push their employees to do better. And they do it all naturally, as a matter of course.
6. A Never-Ending Curiosity
Finally, business leaders are endlessly curious. They know that they must innovate to thrive and they’re willing to leave their comfort zones to make that happen. But they do this not just because they must but because they truly want to.
Learn From the Best
It bears repeating that entrepreneurs come from all backgrounds and walks of life. Study the life and work of one entrepreneur and you’ve done just that: study one entrepreneur. It’s not wise to draw sweeping conclusions from such a small sample size.
Yet, as we’ve seen, many entrepreneurs do share some common traits. They’re driven to overcome adversity. They’re analytical yet primed to inspire others. They’re excellent communicators. Their curiosity is endless.
You can learn a lot from these folks — if you’re willing to indulge your own curiosity.