To be a successful entrepreneur, there are certain objectives you want to achieve. These objectives are not necessarily wealth or status, though they do matter, certainly. But at the end of the day, your objectives should be about being a positive influence on your family and on the people who work with you. When you are successful you feel pride in knowing who has benefited from your endeavor, how much you have given back, and what kind of contribution you have made to society. At least, these are the guidelines I use to determine my success.
I have many colleagues whose careers I helped grow. These colleagues ended up even leaving us and working for other companies, but I was a fundamental element of change for them; I helped them grow better in their businesses. Several of these experts who have called me “boss” still come back and say, “It’s thanks to you I have become who I am.” I consider this a great indicator of success.
But reaching this level of success does not come easy. It takes long hours, immense capital, and—most importantly—incredible motivation. You need to be motivated to endure all of the guaranteed struggles and failures that will come your way.
I can’t tell you what your motivation is. Your motivation is specific to you. But I can tell you what motivates me and why it’s integral to your journey toward success.
Success Doesn’t Just Come to You
Success requires a great deal of work, determination, perseverance, and motivation to continue your journey ahead. It’s like driving a car—you have to look forward at all times, and, from time to time, at the side mirrors to remember where you have been and if there are any dangers around you. But you are always moving forward.
You cannot just sit in your office and expect to be successful. How can I say that I don’t feel like doing anything? I can’t. I can sit down, relax, have a day off, but I can’t allow myself to lose the motivation to get up and work. I would never be successful.
There are many struggles you may face on your road to success—struggles from lack of money, market competition, finding investors, and having customers believe in your quality. If you hope to overcome these struggles, you have to believe in yourself and your capabilities. You have to believe that what you’re providing is improving the lives of your consumers and the world around you. You have to believe in yourself and stay motivated to work through any challenges you come across.
Motivation is Key to Success
There are many things that can keep a successful entrepreneur motivated. Some entrepreneurs are motivated by money. Some are motivated by the social good that they do. Others are motivated by their great egos and think that they are smarter than anybody else. It all depends on the person. But the truly successful people are motivated by the impact they can have on the world around them, on the people that depend on them and their business.
I know the things that motivate me to achieve, what I consider, success. I have to differentiate myself, to contribute, to add value, to give back. Depending on what stage of life you are in, you will have different motivations. But there is a certain stage in life when you have a certain level of maturity, where you have interpersonal connections and have achieved a different way of thinking—your motivation becomes more about others, about whose lives you can positively impact.
You have to look at the sense of achievement that you have had and use your accomplishments as motivation to continue on. And then to look at what you have contributed to the society, to the technology, to the industry, to your family, to your colleagues, your community. These are the things you should be motivated by.
Keep on Running
When you are an entrepreneur, you have to keep working regardless. It’s like running on a treadmill—you have to keep moving because if the treadmill stops, you’ll fall on your head. You have to stay focused, motivated to keep putting one foot in front of the other. When you first start your business endeavor, you are at a very high risk of failure because you are living on the edge all the time. And because you are on the edge, you have to find the motivation to keep moving forward.
There is not one motivation that drives every single person—motivation is dependent on the individual. But whatever motivates you, you need to keep in your sights at all times. Let’s say, you are on a hike. With every step you take you know that you have to reach the end, because you are now in the middle of the mountain—there is no turning back. The same is true in your business. You cannot take backward steps because people are depending on you. You must carry on to reach your objective, and you can’t do that without the personal motivation to do so.
At the end of the day, every single entrepreneur is confronted with difficult times that will test his resilience. But it is the entrepreneur that remains motivated to solve these problems and work through these struggles that will find the greatest success and make the greatest impact in the world.
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Hazem Mulhim is an entrepreneur, philanthropist and speaker. He grew up in Jordan, Kuwait and England. He studied medical electronics in Bulgaria and business management at INSEAD. In 1984, after working in Orlando, Florida, he founded a high-street computer store in Jordan modeled on Radio Shack. Since then, he has transformed this business, now called Eastnets, into a global software solutions company. Hazem also runs Rewell, a charity supporting women-run entrepreneurial projects in the Jordan valley. Hazem holds dual Jordanian-Belgian citizenship and divides his time between Dubai, Amman and Brussels.