From Chapter 7, “Tolerating Risk: Being a Doer, Not a Dreamer” in Ingredients of Outliers
Setting the integrity bar high (more on that later) is a must for the successful entrepreneur. At one point in our history, I had someone working for me who was the embodiment of hard work. She worked night and day and knew every aspect of the business. She just had two little issues.
The first was that she was like Chicken Little—the sky in her world was always falling, though she was always there to save the day. I learned over time that she devised some of these tragedies so she could come to the rescue and prove her value. This annoying trait was tolerable, at least for the short-term.
The other trait, embezzling, was the elephant in the room. She would enter one thing in the financial software and then manually make the check out to her husband’s business. I eventually caught on. The problem was that I was working day and night trying to maintain cash flow and took my eye off the books. Ergo, I was not detail-oriented. Such lack of attention, particularly during the start-up phase, can be disastrous.
Pardon the vernacular, but if you want to be an entrepreneur, you have to get your ass out of the chair and roll up your sleeves. Or, as I mentioned to one of our emergency department nurses who happened to be sitting in a chair for quite a while as the department sunk into chaos, “I’m not sure if you’ve heard of Newton, but I can assure you, gravity will keep the chair from flying away if you get your rear end out of it.”
Anyone can talk the game. Succeeding takes someone who is motivated to not just start a business, but to see it through. “You have to be wired a certain way to be an entrepreneur,” Struhl says. “You have to be obsessive. If you’re not thinking about it 24/7, you’re probably not entrepreneurial material.” Remember the old adage: if this was easy, everyone would do it.
One caveat: all the ambition in the world won’t save a bad idea. Or as the fake Successories poster says, “When you earnestly believe you can compensate for a lack of skill by doubling your efforts, there’s no end to what you can’t do!”