No, I don’t mean are you so successful you have a chauffeur! I mean are you driven to succeed? Do you feel some force behind you, propelling you forward, driving you to perform? Is there something that just won’t let you rest until you’ve got everything you set out to achieve?
Many entrepreneurs are like that – you can see it in the way they deal with life, letting nothing get in their way. They’re not brutal, or ruthless; nor are they unethical. They know what they want, and they make sure that if it’s there to be had, they get it. They won’t steal or take unfairly from others, but they will put themselves ahead of anybody else. And they’re constantly on the alert, watching for the next opportunity – their driving force just won’t let them rest.
And then there are the other sort, the ones who seem to make it all look so effortless. When you’re around them you get a sense of fun, and of compassion. People like Daniel Priestley of Triumphant Events, or John Williams, who wrote “Screw Work, Let’s Play”, or a host of others I could mention. They seem to have a ‘midas touch’, making a success of pretty much anything they decide to do.
They don’t do any less than the driven entrepreneurs – if anything they’re on the go even more. And they’re certainly not achieving any less – Daniel started one of the top personal and business development event companies in the UK, yet last year managed to take a 4-month round-the-world trip and come back with thousands of pounds profit!
So what is it that gives these super-cool entrepreneurs that air of peace? How do they achieve more than the ones who are constantly striving? According to top UK coach Jules Cooper, it’s that striving that’s at the heart of it. Jules maintains that striving can get in the way of success, if it’s not aligned with the individual. He says that we can either strive or have peace, and that either can create success. The difference is that striving has to be pretty much continuous to maintain the success; as soon as a striver – a driven entrepreneur in my lexicon – starts to relax, it all goes wrong.
The distinction I make is between being driven and being purposeful. Driven is a passive word – it implies something outside of you that’s responsible for your success, literally something external that’s behind you, pushing you on. Purposeful suggests something inside, literally full of purpose, that’s creating your motivation. Consider the concept of motivation being either “Towards” something you want or “Away From” something you don’t want. Driven people are pushed forward by something outside of themselves, and often that’s something they are trying to avoid – poverty, failure, lack of respect. And as they succeed, they get further away from their nemesis, and the weaker the driving force feels. Purposeful people are moving towards their purpose – and the closer they get, the stronger their motivation will get, like approaching a magnet.
Looking at successful entrepreneurs like Priestley or Williams, they have an internal purpose. With Daniel it’s equipping people to thrive in what he calls “The Entrepreneurial Revolution”; for John it’s freeing people to get paid for doing what they love. Jules Cooper says he’s here to help people get out of their own way. And if we look at even more famous entrepreneurs, we see a similar pattern: Richard Branson has a purpose to change whole industries for the consumer’s benefit; and Bill Gates set out to put a PC on every desk.
My own purpose was revealed to me in a programme called Core Being, which gives a two-word phrase that encapsulates it for the individual person doing it. Mine is “Encouraging Potential”; for me that means supporting and inspiring people I meet who have a special gift that they don’t recognise, or trust. My work with Opportunity Matrix, helping entrepreneurs identify those ideas and businesses that really suit their talent – and hopefully purpose – fits nicely into that, so it really doesn’t feel like work at all. Good job I charge for my value, not my effort! Joking aside, purposeful entrepreneurs always charge for the value they add, and the more purposeful they are, the more value they tend to add.
Purpose isn’t essential to have a lot of money – in life we see plenty of people who strive for success, and have very profitable businesses. They have the lifestyle they worked hard for; nice cars, million pound houses, all the right memberships, the jet-set round of parties. And many are very happy – hey, who wouldn’t be? And yet there are many who have striven so hard that their families never see them, even have fallen apart; and others who hide their emptiness in drink or drugs.
Purposeful entrepreneurs, on the other hand, are generally pretty comfortable with themselves. They may not have the lavish lifestyle of the strivers (though I’d say Branson & Gates have a pretty comfortable existence), yet they have an inner peace, that comes from achieving something worthwhile, a purpose fulfilled. They aren’t motivated by the material trappings of wealth – their inner fire is what propels them to massive success.
So which are you? Driven striver, always pushing for achievement and riches? Or purposeful smiler, happy with your achievements and rich life?