The Most Important Trait of an Entrepreneur

By Sean Ogle •  Updated: 07/07/10 •  5 min read

The other morning I spent a few hours doing errands, answering emails, and preparing myself for an afternoon of doing nothing but working on one specific project.  This particular project is one that I’ve been putting off for days now, not because I don’t want to do it, but because it was something that was going to take a significant amount of focus and creativity. As we all know, getting into that mode can prove difficult from time to time.

So after I spent the morning getting stuff done and organizing my day around this work session, I was ready to work.  I ate a good lunch, prepared to sit down at my desk, and you know what happened next?

I fell asleep.

Now I’m all for the occasional nap, but this was completely unacceptable.  I slept for about two hours, and by the time I woke up, I was too dazed to get back into the mindset necessary for creative productivity.  This got me thinking about the most important trait necessary to be a successful entrepreneur.  I think this thought actually first came to me during the nap in question, as my mind was berating my body for not following through with my plans.

The most important trait of an entrepreneur is energy.

Having a constant supply of energy is absolutely necessary if you want to be successful working on your own.  At the very least you need to have enough of it to allow you to push through when you aren’t feeling 100%.

When there’s no one to hold your hand or tell you what to do, what’s to stop you from spending the days lounging around and taking naps?  Not much.  By having an energetic mindset, and keeping yourself awake and focused, you allow yourself to accomplish so much more, and not fall into the traps of the lethargic.  Occasionally, I do fall into these traps.  We all do.  The disappointing thing about this is that I know exactly why I do it, and I’m not always proactive about fixing it.

See, with energy you get the opportunity to take creepy pictures of you hugging monkeys...

See, with energy you get the opportunity to take creepy pictures of you hugging monkeys...

I don’t want to turn this into a generic article about how to have more energy, but at the same time, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention a few fundamental components of a healthy lifestyle that can make a huge difference.

Basic things such as getting enough sleep at night, eating fairly healthy and drinking a lot of water are extremely important when trying to keep yourself awake through the days.  For me the most important of these is drinking enough water.

From a liquids stand point, my  typical day goes something like this: wake up and have a few cups of coffee, have juice, soda or maybe a few sips of water in the afternoon, and then each evening have a beer or two.

Does anyone see a problem with this?  Not only am I not drinking water, I’m supplementing it with things that are just going to dehydrate me further.  Not acceptable…

On the days when I make it a priority to drink the recommended 8 glasses a day, I feel great.  I’m awake, sharp-minded and ready to work.  I find it incredible that something so simple has been so difficult to do at times, and can have such a huge impact.

But ok enough on that, just take note that if you’re tired – drink more water.

It isn’t just physical energy that an entrepreneur needs to succeed though.  They need to exude energy and passion for the work that they’re creating.  When you combine the physical energy with the right mental attitude, amazing things can happen.  I usually get this combination right two or three days out of the week, I can only imagine how effective I’d be if I was getting to 6 or 7.

By looking at your life from the perspective of trying to maximize energy in order to both work and be social, it becomes easier to make subtle lifestyle changes that while easy to do, can have a big impact.

Also, don’t get me wrong, there are lots of other traits of successful entrepreneurs.  However, I believe that it’s an abundant supply of energy that makes it possible for those other skills to come out.  You can be a fantastic accountant, but if you don’t have the energy to dig into some spreadsheets, it doesn’t matter.  This is the one trait that makes it possible for all of the others to shine.

The point of all this being, take some time to think about whether you are operating at the level you should.  You could be sleepwalking through life and not even realize it.  Imagine how good you can feel, and how much you can accomplish with just a few simple changes to old habits.

Now time for me to get another cup of coffee…wait, I mean water.

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Sean Ogle

Sean Ogle is the Founder of Location Rebel where he has spent the last 12+ years teaching people how to build online businesses that give them the freedom to do more of the things they like to do in life. When he's not in the coffee shops of Portland, or the beaches of Bali, he's probably sneaking into some other high-class establishment where he most certainly doesn't belong.
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