9 Ways Entrepreneurs Are Like Superheroes

entrepreneurs are today's superheroes

A version of this article originally appeared on the EO Melbourne blog. The content has been edited and reprinted here with permission.

Stories of entrepreneurs overcoming early obstacles and ultimately achieving success on their journey can be found on every blog or business site. And these tales leave many of us thinking, “Wow! They did all that?” Some people even regard today’s entrepreneurs as modern day heroes or, even, superheroes.

With superhero movies debuting regularly on the big screen, it’s natural to make the comparison. After all, those caped crusaders and masked heroes may have awesome moves and incredible powers, they are essentially hardworking individuals overcoming challenges in often unexpected and bold ways.

Let’s take a closer look at the characteristics of superheroes and spot the parallels with entrepreneurs.

1. Superheroes often start as underdogs.

Even heroes get bullied and experience hardships early in their lives. It’s when they experience being at the bottom that they set their sights for the top. It’s also when they realize the shared pain of so many others.

For superheroes—and entrepreneurs—it’s often this early suffering that ignites a passionate drive to help others and save the world. It motivates them to push forward and reach for their dreams—to leap without looking.

2. Superheroes must learn to master their power.

Upon discovering the power they hold, superheroes don’t jump up immediately and start saving the world. In fact, one of the biggest challenges for young superheroes is learning to control their power and wield it for good. They inevitably make missteps and must continue refining their understanding of superpowers.

Likewise, having a super idea, a super personality or a super brain for business does not make you a successful entrepreneur. Growing a business takes time, and continuous learning. Patience truly is a virtue for both superhero and entrepreneur.

3. Symbols are significant.

Superman wears his red cape. Captain America carries his shield. Batman dons his mask. These signature looks let others identify them easily.

Without a doubt, branding is important in building your reputation. It helps people identify and connect with your personality, product and services. Particularly in today’s visually focused world, marketing matters. Keep your look—whether it’s a signature color or logo—consistent across platforms to establish your brand and attract followers.

4. Responsibilities, responsibilities, responsibilities.

“With great power comes great responsibility,” Peter Parker’s uncle Ben said in the Spiderman movie. Being a superhero is no joke! You will work round the clock, and must reply to even the most harrowing calls for help. Hardworking superheroes often sacrifice their family, friends and loved ones. Plus, their superpowers have limits. Ultimately, their powers are intended for the good of others and not for selfish gains.

Consider everything that entrepreneurs are juggling! Besides running a company—and the leadership, strategy, sales and downright hard work that business requires—there’s family, friends, networking and personal interests. For entrepreneurs, work is life and life is work. Many are so passionate about their business that they sacrifice their personal lives and even their health.

Striving for the balance of responsibilities in all aspects of your life becomes critical to the long-term viability and wellness of both your business and your self.

5. Heroes save the world, but they also need to be saved.

Superheroes save lives. They fight crimes. They rescue those in need. But, they often have a sidekick or at least a little help from their superhero friends.

Despite their powers, superheroes often need a hero themselves.

Leading a company can be a lonely position. The responsibility to run a successful business and support employees can be impossible to bear. Remember: Behind every successful entrepreneur is a family, a loved one or, if you’re lucky, a network of other entrepreneurs who provide support and advice.

6. It’s not just the cape that makes superheroes fly.

Sure, some superheroes can fly. But it’s not just their cape that helps them defy the force of gravity. Wind propels them upward and helps them soar like a bird.

The most well-known entrepreneurs attribute much of their success to an effective team that helps them achieve their goals. Hiring the right staff members is one of the many obstacles early-stage entrepreneurs must tackle. However, once they’ve placed the right people in the right roles, they can achieve goals by leaps and bounds.

7. For every superhero, there is a villain.

There’s no hero without a villain. Villains wreak havoc and create chaos for humanity. They add excitement to the story, and they also keep the superhero busy!

In business, “villains” create a dent in a brand or a venture. They compete for clients or employees. The smartest entrepreneurs will learn from these enemies and build their business in spite of the competition. It’s these villains who help mould your business and also develop your leadership and business savvy.

8. Joining a league is an “in” thing.

There’s the Justice League, the Avengers and the X-Men. We love it when heroes band together to fight a greater evil. There’s strength in numbers—and the more diverse powers they can pool, the stronger they become.

At some point in their journey, business owners realize the benefit of being with like-minded individuals who can relate to their struggles. Inevitably, mature entrepreneurs wish they’d realized the value of learning from others earlier in their journey.

For thousands of entrepreneurs across the globe, the Entrepreneurs’ Organization is this band of brothers and sisters who support and guide each other. Members emphasize the many ways that EO enriches their business and personal lives. 

9. The battle is endless.

As long as there is evil in this world, superheroes are here to stay. Their mission is ongoing.

Most entrepreneurs say that the challenges never stop. Once you’ve figured out one aspect of business, another challenge—or opportunity to learn—crops up. Thus growth is ongoing. For every victory, there is a new goal.

According to Christopher Reeve, the American actor who portrayed the role of Superman, “A hero is an ordinary individual who finds the strength to persevere and endure in spite of overwhelming obstacles.” For many entrepreneurs, this characterization probably sounds very familiar.

Are you a superhero entrepreneur looking for your league? Check out why entrepreneurs join EO.

 

The post 9 Ways Entrepreneurs Are Like Superheroes appeared first on Octane Blog – The official blog of the Entrepreneurs’ Organization.

Leadership Training Like No Other

EO’s Regional Leadership Academies (RLA) are offered across the globe and provide EO member leaders insights and education under the guidance of world-class facilitators. RLA focuses on leading in diversity, recognizing that leadership is about leading diverse teams from multiple countries, races, cultures, languages and styles.

With a limited number of attendees in each class and a fully immersive format, attendees are pushed beyond their comfort zones and graduate with skills to change their lives for the better.

We asked Jason Lind (pictured at left), an RLA graduate from EO Cape Town, about his experience in this groundbreaking program.

Why did you apply for the program?

It was an opportunity to engage with global EO members in my home town. The challenge of interacting with such a diverse range of nationalities and people is out of my normal routine, and I was looking to challenge myself and learn from the experience.

What surprised you about the program?

Every single moment of the course surprised me. I went with an open mind and no expectations, and I was completely blown away.

The tone for the event was set the first morning with an incredible visit to the Pollsmoor prison facility in Tokai, Cape Town, where Nelson Mandela stayed in the final years of his sentence. The energy and engagement that followed brought incredible value to the course.

What was the highlight of the program for you?

The course itself is the highlight. The RLA package comes together as a complete experience. There were fun moments and interesting learning, but the course sits as a highlight of my year and that is thanks to all the elements that the RLA team bring to the event.

From the content and the calibre of those delivering the content, to the activities and social spaces provided to encourage all attendees to engage with each other, RLA is by far the best EO experience I have had the privilege of attending.

I am super excited, as I am sure it is just the start of my EO leadership journey.

What were your key take-aways?

Taking action makes a difference. Whether it is taking action to create new habits for personal or business growth, or taking action to build a better world, it starts with each one of us. Putting one foot in front of the other with determination to reach our goals will get us there. We just need to take the first steps.

Also, the power of proper scheduling is something I try to make use of daily now. It helps me to focus on the important goals in my life effectively.

How has RLA impacted you as an entrepreneur?

RLA allowed me to truly be a part of the global EO community. Seeing the global picture and experiencing how learning and working together can make a difference in the world has inspired me to take action in my own community.

I am in the early phases of creating better communication and channels among various stakeholders in the ex-offenders and reintegration space, to help make our communities and cities safer and more positive.

I’m working on this with the support of other RLA participants. Knowing my peers stand behind me has motivated me to lead a project that can make a real difference in the lives of people that need our help, guidance and inspiration.

EO members can learn more about the project from our MyEO group.

EO is a collection of like-minded entrepreneurs focused on business growth, personal development and community engagement. Learn what 13,000+ entrepreneurs are experiencing as members of EO.

 

The post Leadership Training Like No Other appeared first on Octane Blog – The official blog of the Entrepreneurs’ Organization.

Learning to Listen to Your Heart

Written by Claire Algarme, EO Melbourne administrator

Peninsula Luxury Retreats founder Peter Noble had carved his path as an entrepreneur by launching and running Citrus, a marketing automation business, for almost 20 years. Along the way, the marketing landscape changed, the trail transformed and his passion cooled. Feeling tired of the grind, he reflected on what he wanted to do going forward. In 2016, Peter made the bold decision to close his business and embark on a new journey in the hospitality space. Here’s his story. 

It was in 2015 when Peter Noble attended an EO Melbourne forum retreat in Byron Bay. Despite feeling ill, Peter pressed on. He didn’t want to miss the retreat, where a meditation teacher would be sharing Ayurvedic techniques. His wife, Kristina, had been practicing it for three months, and he had noticed positive changes in her. Peter left the retreat feeling better and lighter, and he continued his meditation practice, even through a family move to Sydney the same year.

“I came out of a meditation session by the beach in Sydney, and it just hit me like a lightning bolt. I realized I was not enjoying the business part of my life. I didn’t feel that I could be true to my staff by coming in and talking about the vision for the business anymore. I needed to get out. I wanted to be true to myself,” he says.

“I didn’t feel that I could be true to my staff by coming in and talking about the vision for the business anymore. I needed to get out. I wanted to be true to myself.”

From the moment he decided to close to the actual date of closure, a mere four weeks passed. He flew to Melbourne and broke the news to his Citrus staff members. “It was very emotional, but they also understood. They were proud of me, and they were happy that I was truthful. I made a promise to each one of them that they would have a new job within those four weeks. We delivered on every single person,” recalls Peter.

Mentally, physically and spiritually, it was a difficult time in his life. He needed to unwind and re-calibrate his life. Peter and his family took an extended break to Europe for eight months. Reflecting on his entrepreneurial journey to this point, Peter understood he had opted for an unlikely exit. Entrepreneurs generally either build a business that lasts a lifetime or sell the business and move on to another one.

First launch

When he decided to start Citrus, he was working for a multinational company. He felt a burning desire to hit the road and launch his own business.

“I felt like I had more to offer and could impact more people by going out on my own. I felt I needed to get out and do something and show myself—more than anyone else—that I could thrive, not just survive, in the entrepreneurial world. The desire builds up in you over time. Eventually, you have to make a decision to either jump and see if you fly or just stay where you are. I decided to jump,” he says.

“The desire builds up in you over time. Eventually, you have to make a decision to either jump and see if you fly or just stay where you are. I decided to jump.”

He started Citrus with his wife and sister-in-law. While a business partnership with a spouse could be a challenge for many entrepreneurs, Peter and Kristina found their personal and business relationship to be a winning recipe. Says Peter, “For us, it was a very major part of our success as a couple, and we’re still married 20 years later. So, it worked obviously, which was good. But it was a little scary.”

Staffing, culture and ego

As with all new businesses, Citrus weathered challenges and opportunities. “We had a difficult start because there was the dot-com boom back in the late 1990s and early 2000s. It was a bizarre time to be in the space where we were at that point. There was this incredible excitement globally about what the internet could do for business and humanity. We were on the cusp of that. Our business was within the digital marketing space. It was very new,” he explains.

With the rapid rise in the web and digital marketing, young employees were being hired and poached by top agencies. Since Peter and his partners couldn’t afford to match the salaries that larger corporations offered, Citrus lost some staff members. Among those who remained, a strong bond developed.

“The challenge is how to build a team that has the skills you need, the culture you’re trying to build and an understanding of the vision you want to create. When you’re busy being busy, it’s sometimes difficult to sit back and look at the bigger picture of things and ensure that the team you have are the right people.”

The team culture, employee and client relationships as well as the company’s relatively small cost base helped it survive when the financial crash eventually came.

“Business is about relationships and how you build them, whether they’re done online or face-to-face. They are very critical parts of a successful business, whether they be with staff or customers or partners,” Peter says.

“Business is about relationships and how you build them, whether they’re done online or face-to-face.”

When two buyers expressed interest, they eventually provided the same feedback: “They said, ‘while it’s a great business, we feel that you are such an integral part of it that it’s too reliant on you as an individual.’”

Looking back, Peter realized that there was a lot of ego associated with holding on to the business. He became so attached to his venture that he was afraid to let it go. “I thought I was very important to a whole lot of people. Very quickly, though, you realize how unimportant you are when you step away,” he says.

Support and guidance

The pressures of running a business also took a toll on him. Peter found support and guidance from other entrepreneurs through EO Melbourne. “Fellow forum members were able to provide the right guiding experiences, ideas and friendship. I have made some of my best friends in my life through EO.”

He took a break from the organization, but rejoined two years later. Peter reveals, “I was looking at re-imagining the Citrus business. I thought to myself, I’ve stopped thinking big. I’ve stopped thinking as a visionary. I’ve stopped looking at the possibilities of the business. I remembered then what EO had done for me, and how much I’d enjoyed being part of that group. I don’t think we were successful at the time I wasn’t in EO. So, I rejoined, and I haven’t looked back since then.”

“I don’t think we were successful at the time I wasn’t in EO. So, I rejoined, and I haven’t looked back since then.”

Inspiration to happiness 

It was the EO community that helped Peter find his way from the business he no longer loved to a tour through Europe with his family. While traveling through the continent, Peter and Kristina put a few of their properties in the short-stay accommodation market, including Airbnb and HomeAway.

“Interestingly, we made more money while we were traveling around Europe and not working than we had in the previous six to 12 months of running the agency. When I got home, I thought, ‘Hang on. There’s got to be something in this.’ So, I decided to take on building a portfolio of properties that we could own, manage and run. That’s been building successfully over the last couple of years,” he shares.

With his new baby, the Peninsula Luxury Retreats, he has never been happier. “We’re looking into buying more land and building some properties. I’m doing that with a partner, and we’re going to build that into a brand in these luxury retreats. We think that it’s a really exciting opportunity based on the market that’s here in Australia and overseas,” he disclosed.

Most of all, he is happy that he can now devote more time to his daughter. “She was born in 2011, and for the first two or three years, I missed so much of her growth. I would leave before she had woken up and get home after she’d gone to bed. As a dad, I missed so many things in my child’s early development that I can’t get back. What I’ve been able to do now is achieve complete flexibility and freedom. I think my relationship with my daughter has changed. We get to spend a lot more time together.”

“As a dad, I missed so many things in my child’s early development that I can’t get back. What I’ve been able to do now is achieve complete flexibility and freedom.”

Peter found the courage to make the big leap because he trusted his inner self. “The biggest lesson? Listen to your heart. Listen to what is important for you as an individual. If you’re not happy, if your work is a grind, if it’s a slog, if you’re unable to listen to what’s going on inside, then it will stay difficult,” he counsels.

Read more about Peter Noble. To learn about EO and how it supports entrepreneurs across the globe, visit EOnetwork.org.

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How 5 Expert Entrepreneurs View Success and Failure

While there is no how-to guide for navigating the successes and failures you’ll face as an entrepreneur, there is plenty of brilliant advice and insights to be gained from individuals who have survived their own setbacks and gone on to thrive.

What can you learn from the stories of five entrepreneurs who share their stories on setbacks, challenges and unexpected opportunities? Read on to find out!

1. Bruce Eckfeldt

Business coach and EO New York member, Bruce Eckfeldt, has grown his professional consulting firm into a highly successful business. As part of this growth, Bruce recognized even the best-laid plans don’t guarantee success.

Check out Bruce’s Inc.com article, Not All Bad Outcomes Are The Result of Bad Decisions, Here’s Why, and use his outcome-decision matrix to analyze your own actions and results. 

By analyzing both success and failure, you can better understand what was a bad decision, bad timing, bad execution—or simply bad luck.

2. Lisa Sugar

Lisa Sugar’s part-time pop culture hobby grew into the wildly popular media outlet, PopSugar. Transitioning from her full-time advertising agency career, Lisa took a risk that paid off: Today, PopSugar reaches one in two American millennial females and has offices in five major cities.

“You have to start small,” she said in a 2016 interview with the LA Times. “A lot of people think you’re supposed to do these things overnight and see success, but you have to be patient.” These are words to remember, especially on those days victory feels like it’s been out of reach for too long. 

To hear more of Lisa’s words of advice, listen to her on Wonder, the EO podcast focused on women entrepreneurs.

3. Hal Elrod

At 20 years old, Hal Elrod was hit by a drunk driver, considered clinically dead for 6 minutes and then told he would never walk again. Later, he ran a 52-mile ultra-marathon. At 37-years-old, Hal’s organs began shutting down due to an aggressive form of leukemia. One year later, Hal is cancer-free and healthy.

Now a bestselling author and international speaker, Hal is a treasure trove of inspiration in the face of challenges, and speaks extensively on how the right mindset can influence your success.

Listen to him speak on an EO 360° episode to find out how his morning routine prepares him to face his day. This episode will leave you with an overflow of hope.

4. Michel Kripalani

When is failure not a failure at all? When it leads to something greater.

President and CEO of Oceanhouse Media, Michel Kripalani, had committed to writing a book before his fiftieth birthday. As his deadline drew closer, he had to face the reality that he hadn’t written a single page.   

That’s when this EO San Diego had a breakthrough idea.

In his Inc.com article, The Unsung Power of Establishing Audacious Goals (Even if You Fail), Michel explores how focusing his unique talents ultimately led to success—even if his initial goal went unmet.

Perhaps your last failure was only setting you on the right course.

5. Arianna Huffington

Long before the birth of her media empire or the sale of the Huffington Post for US$300 million, Arianna Huffington’s second book was rejected by 36 publishers, leaving her to question her future as a writer.

Throughout success and failure, however, she turned to her mother’s advice. “My mother used to call failure a stepping-stone to success, as opposed to the opposite of success,” she recalled in a 2013 Inc. article. “When you frame failure that way, it changes dramatically what you’re willing to do, how you’re willing to invent, and the risks you’ll take.”

Entrepreneurs like Arianna Huffington remind us that it just might be your 37th attempt that leads to success—or something even better.

The post How 5 Expert Entrepreneurs View Success and Failure appeared first on Octane Blog – The official blog of the Entrepreneurs’ Organization.