Thursday, February 26, 2009

Entrepreneurs Epitomize Realistic Optimism

What is a realistic optimist? An entrepreneur. Here’s why:

Even though the business was facing insolvency, the entrepreneur graciously accepted an award for his company’s “outstanding” growth and achievement. You see, just 12 months earlier the company was growing at record pace and people loved to work there. With a drastically different economic outlook, triple-digit material price increases, stiffer competition, and a few other challenges his company was now hanging on by a thread.

I’ll spare the details of how he got himself into this situation to make my point – entrepreneurs live a life of dramatic ups-and-downs, yet they remain realistic optimists. They can face the most dire of circumstances and still keep a positive outlook on their enterprise. They are grounded in reality because they have to face it and deal with it every day. This is not always easy to do. The entrepreneur mentioned earlier felt bad about receiving such recognition while his company was struggling so severely. But he showed up, put a smile on his face, accepted the award, and recommitted to turning his company around and becoming more successful than ever.

We often paint entrepreneurs in the light of amazing and even brilliant people. Some probably are both of these things, but being amazing and brilliant are not required. There are lots of amazing and brilliant people who make horrible entrepreneurs. However, being a realistic optimist is imperative to an entrepreneur’s success. This career path is not for the faint of heart. It is a difficult and often lonely road, one that can only be survived with realistic optimism.