We all look up to certain individuals for inspiration. The people who have been there and done that are those who can motivate us to continue on our chosen path towards great success. We learn from their failures and successes and it is them who can help us keep the motivation going even during the times when perhaps we feel like there is no hope. "Everybody wants to be successful until they know what it takes". We all want to be achievers, to innovate, to create, to be known and ultimately to succeed. But the price we pay for success can be much higher than what we expected to bargain for. Success is not something that gets handed to us on a silver platter, but in most cases it is the opposite. Behind all the great victories, there is a story of hardship and maybe even some darkness. Some people look at high achievers and think “This person is so lucky, I wish I could do that”. Well entrepreneurs have good news for us. You can actually do it, but are you prepared to do all that it takes?
What separates successful entrepreneurs from the rest is that they actually make things happen by taking risks, by believing in themselves and their vision and by continuing to do so regardless how many times they fail. Their passion and desire to succeed is simply something they are not willing to compromise.
Below is a list including 5 of my favorite entrepreneurs from which I have learned some valuable lessons from:
“If you don’t give up, you still have a chance. Giving up is the biggest failure” Jack Ma
Jack Ma is living proof that pushing through failure can ultimately bring success. I learned more about him last year when I was doing some research for an article about successful business people. I remember reading about his story and I instantly felt inspired. I began watching some of his Youtube clips thinking this man is absolutely brilliant. Regardless of how much money he is worth, he is extremely humble, a trait I appreciate in people and one that is apparent in all the people that inspire me. The Alibaba Group founder has completely helped me understand that failure is absolutely necessary in life, and that no matter what, you have to keep going. His story begins when he applied for 30 different jobs and was rejected from all of them. He said that when KFC was introduced in China, 24 people went for the job and 23 people got it, he didn't. He tried to get into the police force, 5 people went for the job, 4 got accepted, he didn't. He applied for Harvard 10 times and got rejected 10 times. You'd think all these failures would knock his confidence down...but it didn't and instead he saw all these no’s as motivation to keep going. Ma refers to skeptics as an opportunity. He affirms that whatever idea you might have, if you believe in it and others don't that is actually a positive because then you get a chance to prove them you can do it and that's how you change the world. He is also a philanthropist and always speaks about the importance of inspiring the young generation.
“People with passion can change the world” Steve Jobs
Steve Jobs is considered the father of digital revolution and an innovator, I consider him to be one of the greatest minds of all time. He is the man behind the world’s most beautiful technological devices, the famous Apple brand. There are many inspiring qualities about him, my favourite including the ability to know what people want before they actually know what they want. Mr Jobs always believed that passion is one of the most important things to have in order to be successful. I watched one of his interviews in which he spoke about how people at Apple all share the same excitement about the product and its future. Jobs admitted that one of his bigger mistakes during his career was to hire highly knowledgeable management staff, which he ended up having to let them go because they simply had no passion. But what's great about entrepreneurs is that they learn from their mistakes and usually they don't make the same mistake twice. What I learned from Mr Jobs is that in order to be great at something you have to love it, and with that comes passion which in turn pushes us through with perseverance to achieve, and enjoy the journey.
"Screw it, just do it" Richard Branson
I’m pretty sure Mr Branson is one of the world’s most liked entrepreneurs. I follow his inspirational updates on LinkedIn in which he always puts so much positivity. He is a very down to earth man who was not afraid to believe in his ideas and bring them to life. Richard Branson gives back to the community by being involved with charity and by helping the future generation of entrepreneurs get started in the quest to live their dream. A marathon runner and fitness enthusiast, Mr Branson always speaks about the importance of being fit and healthy and enjoying every moment in life. His motto is simple: Screw it, just do it. He even wrote a book holding this title, in which he takes the reader on a journey from the beginning until his current success. The Virgin Group founder sees great opportunities and nurtures those ideas that can really make a difference. He listens to his own intuition and if something sounds promising, regardless of potential obstacles and risks, well you know what he’s going to say: Screw it, let’s do it.
"Success is a continual journey with a never ending destination" Rob Hill
Rob Hill is the founder of UK based events company The Eventa Group. I was blessed enough to have him as my boss and mentor for over 2 years, a time which completely changed my professional life. It is here where I found a new passion for the business world. Working along side a successful entrepreneur, you learn that anything is possible if you just believe you can do it. Having worked with Rob, I learned how to always be curious and learn new things, to keep humble and to always strive for more. He credits the success of his business to hard work and the ability to never panic, regardless what obstacles may interfere. He sees success as a continual journey because there is always space for new ideas to flourish. In business, there will always be competition who can at times be stronger, but consistency is what keeps you going. And behind this consistency lies determination and a strong hunger to always be better and achieve more.
"Eric Thomas- Change your mindset to match what you want to achieve"
As one of the world’s most inspiring public speakers, Eric Thomas definitely didn’t have it easy whilst starting out. Coming from a poor background and being homeless for 2 years living on the streets in Detroit, the odds were against him. But Thomas never stopped believing that the grass can be greener if you just take a step towards it; and so he did. He is now the motivation behind many successful people, including Lebron James who spoke publicly of Thomas as one of his inspirations during his 2012 NBA success. I had the pleasure of meeting him at one of his workshops and spent some time with him after the show to go through some questions and more one on one motivation. I can say that his passion is contagious, he definitely practices what he preaches. That was an amazing experience that completely opened my eyes more. Eric Thomas is a tough one to hear because he speaks the truth and leaves no place for sugar coating, but for those who are serious about making a change in their lives for the better, this is the exact truth they need to hear in order to move on forward. Thomas continues to inspire many people worldwide, having founded a business promoting education and coaching to under privileged youngsters. A true inspiration, Thomas shows us that no matter where you are at this point if your life and how hard it all may seem, changing your mindset to push through is the only way.
There is absolutely no doubt that everybody in this world can reach the success they desire. We all possess the strongest, most important tool and that is our brain. If we learn to use it wisely it's only a matter of time before our desired outcome will manifest itself.