The Real Entrepreneurial You (You may not be who you think you are)
Tom started his first business at age 24 and has since started and sold many others. Since 1995 he’s been sharing his expertise with business owners and at last count he’s helped 1,796 clients from 193 different industry types not only in our part of the world but also in Asia, Europe and the US. Tom’s shared international platforms with the likes of Michael Gerber (The E-Myth), Marshall Goldsmith, Al Ries (22 Immutable Laws of Marketing) and Richard Koch (The 80/20 Principle) and many others.
In the lead up and wind down from the interview, we talked some shop and I learned a really interesting thing – the younger an entrepreneur is, the less likely they are to see themselves as others see them…
I asked Tom to tell us the story behind this insight.
Thirty three years ago my life changed. One day I was someone else and the next I was me. The transformation occurred just after I started my first business at age 24. Having always been interested in personal growth, I invested in a multi-perception personality assessment.
To receive my report I had to find six people who knew me well in a business context and ask them to complete a series of questions in regard to their perceptions of me. All of the responses were posted to a company in the USA and six weeks later a report was received by that firm’s local representative. I was them summoned to meet for the debriefing which involved flying to their office in another city.
What happened next was a shock. So much so that as I type this 33 years later I can clearly recall where I was sitting in the room at the time and what I was seeing as my report was displayed and I simply didn’t recognise the person in the report. That person was an ideas-generator, confident and assertive. He was a risk-taker, an adventurer and a leader.
I, on the other hand, was careful, unoriginal and a follower of other people’s ideas. At least that was my perception, despite having put my first house on the line by starting my own business at such a young age. As I spoke with the consultant about the report it slowly dawned on me that my upbringing had created a different “me” to the one I was born to be. In short, I was living a lie. It was a nice lie but a lie nonetheless. And later that evening when I reflected on the report’s findings in my hotel room I made a decision. I was no longer going to listen to the voices in my head that cautioned me to hold back.
Instead I chose to back myself. To go with my gut feel. To nurture new ideas and to be more assertive, albeit politely. My life changed almost instantly. More risks, more adventures, more failures and bigger successes. It was like the report had given me a permission slip to “be the me I was born to be”.
The impact was both liberating and motivating at the same time. I no longer followed the business-success-rule-book that told me I must do things a certain way. I had discovered a more natural pathway to business and personal fulfilment. The guilt trips and self-doubt faded away and were replaced with increased levels of happiness and fulfilment. As a result I was more productive and more energised.
And the transition was not hard. It felt like I had just unzipped a full body suit and simply stepped out.
It was easy because I was simply relaxing into being me. Although I couldn’t articulate it at the time, the report had identified what I now call my “Entrepreneurial DNA”. That’s the term I give to the unique combination of natural inclinations and talents that every entrepreneur possesses.
In 2005 I decided to create a similar system so that entrepreneurs and aspiring entrepreneurs could identify their own Entrepreneurial DNA and thereby benefit as much as I had all those years ago.
In November 2006, after more than a year of testing and refinements, I released the “Entrepreneurial Style Profile” and last month my team finished creating an on-line version which is completely free.
May you discover your natural pathway to business wealth and personal fulfilment as indeed I have done.
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