The Oxford Dictionary defines Respect as follows: "A feeling of deep admiration for someone or something elicited by their abilities, qualities, or achievements."
The more time I spend working with entrepreneurs, the more I come to appreciate and respect the drive and determination required to build a successful company. It requires patience, hard work and great sacrifice, but for those who persevere the reward is the ultimate – you become the master of your destiny.
There are two quotes, from Nassim Nicholas Taleb’s newest book, Skin in the Game: Hidden Asymmetries in Daily Life, that capture the essence of what entrepreneurs are and what entrepreneurs must do to become successful.
“Entrepreneurs are heroes in our society. They fail for the rest of us.”
“How much you truly “believe” in something can be manifested only through what you are willing to risk for it.”
Entrepreneurs are the true drivers of innovation. They face the possibility of failure every day to pursue their vision. To successfully manifest their vision into reality, entrepreneurs must have a steadfast belief that is backed by concrete action.
What are you willing to risk to make your dream a reality? Your job? Time with your friends? Being ridiculed by those who don’t believe in your vision?
Becoming a successful entrepreneur is a transformative journey. It is a journey that contains many peaks and valleys and throughout this journey, you will deal with many people. Some of these actors will be detractors and some accomplices that will help you reach the highest peaks. It is easy to respect those who are loyal and trustworthy. It is not so easy to respect those who may have attempted to cause you harm in business or personal matters.
As crazy as this sounds, it is always to your advantage to treat everyone (yes, this includes your haters and detractors who want to see you fall flat on your face) with respect. Sir Richard Branson captures the sentiment perfectly:
“Respect is how to treat everyone”.
How you treat others is also a reflection of who you are as a person and your own self-respect. Ultimately, you have nothing to lose by treating everyone with respect and a huge deal to gain. I approach every relationship from that perspective, whether I am dealing with a client, team member, or an individual that I might have had a difference of opinion with in the past. If I focus on what I respect about them, it makes it easier to create a meaningful dialogue that leads to better outcomes.
Again, the practice of respecting everyone is difficult to master and requires continuous practice. It is something that I try to be mindful of every day and continue to work on. One of my inspirations for this practice is a wonderful book by Don Miguel Ruiz, The Four Agreements. I leave you with the Four Agreements and hope that you will find them as valuable as I do:
Be impeccable with your word.
Don’t take anything personally.
Don’t make any assumptions.
Always do your best.