Young: Words of business advice are taken to heart by readers

I am really in the mood to share with you my feelings of gratitude for the wonderful past year you have given me with your kind and loving words concerning my efforts with this column.

It means so much to me to hear the messages I have received via email, at meetings, on the street and even at The Bay check-out counter about how various articles have touched people in ways I never expected.

People from all walks of life—in business and industry, housewives and professionals and the wonderful entrepreneurial mix we have currently in our midst from one end of the valley— all trumpet the joy of the entrepreneurial spirit in our landscape which never ceases to amaze me.

So, I thought this week, so close to Christmas and the exchanging of gifts  with our family, friends and loved ones, I wish to offer you my take on the meaningfulness of the entrepreneurial spirit as my gift to you.

You will inevitably hear it all the time from famous entrepreneurs, long before they were at the helm of mega-million dollar ventures, how they were flexing their newfound entrepreneurial skills by operating tiny lemonade stands, gadgets in their parents garage or hosting university events that would raise unfathomable levels of dollars.

It seems that behind every successful textbook entrepreneur is a young kid who grew up knowing they were destined for an entrepreneurial destiny.

But what is it exactly that sets genuine entrepreneurs apart from the rest of us? What is it that makes certain ones of us believe in ourselves enough to take the prospect of failure in a head-on collision and still have the grit and determination to come out on top of the entrepreneurial game?

It takes a special kind of person to identify and set in motion an idea toward the conclusion of a realistic entrepreneurial opportunity ,riding the highs and inevitable lows from humble inception to ultimate utopia.

The entrepreneurial spirit, the title of this column evolved out of the notion that such spirit is truly a gift that inspires people to be the best they can be.

From their passion and positivity to leadership and ambition, let me offer you as my Christmas message some of the characteristics that comprise the entrepreneurial spirit and that will take you far in your journey to identify, evaluate, embrace and begin your venture.

Passion: True entrepreneurs, not only have a zestful passion for business, but incredible passion for life adopting an uncanny ability to enjoy a successful work/life balance.

Positivity: The power of positive thinking can move mountains.  Living within a well known mantra of “ every challenge is an opportunity” is a wonderful way to approach life and your entrepreneurial spirit experience.

For example, when the critics stand by the roadside and tell you that you can’t; instead of hiding in the corner, come out fighting with optimism and confidence.

Point out the many positive things you are accomplishing and will continue to—with the encouragement of such critics.

Adaptability: Having the ability to adapt is truly one of the greatest strengths an entrepreneur can have. Every successful venture owner must be willing and able to improve, refine and customize to continually offer their customers and clients exactly what they want and need in the market. Adaptive entrepreneurs not only react to need for change, but lead the way.

Leadership: This is absolutely my favourite as I’m convinced that all roads in personal and business life lead to some form of leadership.  A good leader is therefore someone with charisma, a sense of ethics and a desire to build integrity within a public/private organization—someone who is enthusiastic, team-oriented and strives to be a good teacher.

Ambition: A characteristic of any great entrepreneurial spirit is that of ambition. To believe in oneself, sometimes against the current of naysayers and difficult times, with headstrong determination and ambition is a beautiful sight to behold.

We have such people here in the Okanagan and the world around us on television, newsprint magazines and the Internet who demonstrate to all of us that ‘never say never’ spirit that often wins the race.

So to my readers, accept this Christmas gift from me tied up in a ribbon of faith in your entrepreneurial spirit.

Please enjoy and reach out to not only your family, friends and loved ones in this special season, but those wonderful people we have the privilege of sharing a piece of the most beautiful place on Earth—our Okanagan.

Joel Young is an entrepreneurial leadership coach, educator and consultant and founder of the Okanagan Valley Entrepreneurs Society.



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