There is one word, however, that every entrepreneur has which has the same power to create success as it does to destroy dreams … It is a trait that all entrepreneurs have for better or for worse to one extent or another: STUBBORNNESS
Entrepreneurs (myself included) are stubborn. We all seem to share in common one thing: We DO NOT like to be told what to do. We don’t listen. That is why we have forged our own paths in the first place. Stubbornness is a pretty tricky trait as it has a tremendous upside but an equally as destructive downside. Let’s take a look….
How Being Stubborn Destroys The Entrepreneur
One way being stubborn kills entrepreneurs is because the blinders we have does not enable us to see all of the resources that surrounds us. Today, in the digital age, it is easier than it has ever been to look and see what people are doing around us who are succeeding and use that information as a model for our own success. We can also see who is not doing things correctly and learn just as much or even more. I have an entire section of this blog dedicated to the topic of learning from mistakes and what not to do in business . I encourage you to click the link and read the articles in this category after you finish this post…
The following example shows how being stubborn works against entrepreneurs. …
In my first company, we (Gary & I) started with 1 client who had about one thousand stores. I thought everything was going great until we stopped selling well in their stores and they dropped us like a hot potato. I had to run around to every store and trade show around the country to find new customers to save the business as I had built my overhead and inventory to reflect the volume that I was doing at the time.
Truth be told, I had been warned on several occasions that I should not go on a suicide mission with this account and I should spread my insurance policy and get a bunch of other accounts, so in case something happened I still had sales. I thought the people giving this advice were only telling me this because they were jealous. By the time I figured this out it was nearly too late.
Here’s another example…
I shipped samples of my product to a major account to have the buyer (who was actually the owner of the chain) review the product in hopes to get into his chain stores. Needless to say he did not like the product (mild understatement). He started giving Gary and I all of this advice on what we needed to change. Bottom line, I didn’t care what he had to say because he had rejected me. Why would I listen to someone who had just rejected me?
My sales representative (who later became my mentor) told me to shut my mouth and listen to the advice the owner/buyer gave me. What I didn’t realize is the advice he gave me was a blueprint to modify the product to the point that he WOULD buy the product. Otherwise, he would have never taken the time to give me advice, as he would have just said no. Turns out I was cursing at the very person who was giving me instructions how to succeed.
How Being Stubborn Enables The Entrepreneur to Succeed
When you are an entrepreneur, nearly every person will give you a million reasons why you will fail. In this instance, stubbornness is a huge benefit as your blinders in this case will be your best friend. You can never ever let others kill your dreams. Gary shot a great video on this. If you want to watch it, click here .
Being stubborn also is a great trait to have to keep your focus. When an entrepreneur is headstrong to what he or she is doing it creates extreme focus, and great focus yields great results.
Being stubborn will also get you through short-term stumbling blocks as, if you are stubborn enough, you will see your idea through until it succeeds.
Stubbornly Good Vs. Stubbornly Bad
I don’t know a successful entrepreneur that does not have some strong degree of stubbornness. The problem, however, is that we must recognize when we are being stubbornly good, and when we are being stubbornly bad. It is a very fine line. For example, I mentioned above that stubbornness is great, as it will make you see your idea through until you succeed. What happens, however, if your idea is not good? Well, one reason would be because you were stubbornly bad about not listening to what your market was looking for. Bottom line, you didn’t listen to the people who could have helped you define your direction. To read more about this, click this link on the power of listening .
So when is being stubborn good and when is it bad? … The answer is that I don’t have an answer. The one thing I will say is that I have now surrounded myself with a small group of people who I not only trust but also who I feel are more stubbornly good than stubbornly bad. I run everything past them, we talk about it and make sure we never make decisions too quickly or when emotions are involved. From there, we make our decision. Whatever the outcome I accept without regrets as we live and die as a team. I am cool with that.
My two questions for you today are:
1) What have you been stubborn about that has helped you?
2) What have you been stubborn about that has hurt you?