Do You Have an Entrepreneurial Spirit?

By  0 Comments

Have you ever wondered where the word “entrepreneur” originated or what it means? If you’re an entrepreneur, chances are you haven’t had enough time to consider it!

Even so, you would have to go back to the late 15th century, when it first crossed the English Channel as a Middle English word, “entreprenour.” Then, in the early 1800s, it was reborn and described a manager or promoter of a theatrical production, which was borrowed from the French word that means “one who undertakes or manages.” Fast forward to today’s and you will learn that an entrepreneur, in the purest sense, is one who identifies a need, any need, and fills it. It’s a primordial urge, independent of product, service, industry or market.

Full disclosure here: I am one. I have that same insatiable need, nay, burning desire, to fill a hole. Nothing specific. Wildly chosen and in any field, any day.

Why am I like this? Is there some natural born entrepreneurial spirit residing inside me and others who continually look to change the world?

Many people believe an entrepreneur is the same type of person who likes to run the Iditarod race in Alaska or climb Mt. Everest, or parasail from a Chilean mountaintop. Maybe. All of that may be immensely fun, but to an entrepreneur, nothing is as satisfying as identifying a need, creating it and doing it over and over.

The most obvious trait to recognize in an entrepreneur is that she’s someone who takes risks. Perhaps this is what truly separates entrepreneurs from others. There are simply no guarantees that an idea will work, but an entrepreneur looks with confidence to the future, with a capacity and a willingness to develop, organize and manage their idea.

Can you develop this behavior? Perhaps. If you have a real passion for an idea and push yourself to the limit, you may have the entrepreneurial spirit. When I started my newspaper, Birmingham Business Journal, in 1983, I couldn’t stop talking about it, to everyone around me, all the time. I was consumed with conviction and enthusiasm. Does this sound familiar? Are your friends tired of hearing about your idea? It’s been years since I sold my business, but I still carry the torch.

I recall being obsessed with doing things a better way, even if it meant going against the tried and true tactics in the industry. Are people looking at you funny, or wondering why you won’t listen to reason? It won’t matter, because as an entrepreneur, you will keep at it until you achieve it, whatever “it” is. Optimism exudes from an entrepreneur: “Bring me a challenge and watch me solve it a new way!” Aggressive goals are just not a problem.

This doesn’t mean an entrepreneur jumps blindly into situations. Naturally, mistakes are made, but more often than not, risks are calculated for their worth in the end. It’s the ability to operate in a decisive manner with the understanding it may not work. Therein lies the high tolerance for risk that people hear about entrepreneurs.

Above all, and most importantly, entrepreneurs DO IT. They don’t sit around and dream about it for years and years. The world is full of dreamers and thinkers, but not so much those with a true entrepreneurial spirit. If you don’t take action, nothing will happen. No matter the consequences, you must take the first step and the next and the next.
And sell it to everyone along the way.
The well-known entrepreneur Steve Jobs, the late co-founder of Apple, was a salesman first and foremost. He was obsessed with getting his products into our hands. Plus, he had a big chip on his shoulder to show the world he could do it. Fiercely independent, he relied upon himself more than anyone. He trusted himself 100 percent, to the point that he antagonized his employees with demands of perfection, even if it cost a lot more money than his partners wanted to spend.

His intuition was spot-on and he knew his customers well. He would appear on stage in his black shirt and black slacks and unveil our gifts on a regular basis to standing ovations. It worked for him and it works every day around the globe for thousands of entrepreneurs who are filling our needs. As Jobs said, “Apple’s core value is that we believe that people with passion can change the world for the better.”

If you have an idea to make the world a better place, you could find yourself awash in the most satisfying reward you will ever experience. Jeff Bezos, Amazon’s founder and CEO, perhaps says it best: “I knew that if I failed I wouldn’t regret that, but I knew the one thing I might regret is not trying.”■

Sources:, and