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Harnessing the Power of Entrepreneurship
By: Angela Nazarian


What do you think the founder of the famous social networking site LinkedIn (who happens to be on the board of Facebook, Paypal, Zinga) has to say about successful leadership? He says the key is acting and living like an entrepreneur: “You are the CEO of your own life…and creation is the essence of entrepreneurship.”

Gone are the days when it was believed that there was only one right way to get from “Point A” to “Point B”.  Harnessing the power of the entrepreneurial spirit adds value to personal life and the marketplace, as new products are created and sold, and new human experiences are shared.

Here Are Some Of The Keys To Succeeding In Any Field:

1.Develop A Competitive Advantage

Develop your life and your business based on your strengths. Follow your passion. The person passionate about what he or she is doing will outwork and outlast the guy motivated by solely making $$. Here’s an interesting fact. Did you know a person needs 10,000 hours of practice to become an expert in anything—how can you do that if you don’t intrinsically like the work you do? You must do what you love.

2.  Be Strategic—All Advantages are Local -- Pick a hill that Has Less Competition 

It is important to knowing where you are most likely to succeed and ride the wave. Equally as important is for seeing trouble spots, where your competition is waiting and strategize ahead of time.

3. Be Flexible, Adapt Your Plans!—Be in Permanent Beta! 

A good example of a flexibility plan in action is Flickr._Flickr is one of the most widely used photo hosting and sharing websites, with an estimated 5 billion+ images on its servers. But the company wasn’t started by photography pros.

The original product was rolled out in 2002 and was a multi-player online game website called game-never-ending. They wanted to attract a social component to the gaming platform –so they enabled instant messaging and photo sharing. But the photo sharing eclipsed the gaming very soon.  20,000 players were put on hold to develop the photo sharing.  In 2005 Yahoo! acquired the company. Today Flickr is globally recognized as the premiere exclusively dedicated photo-sharing site. If the executives running Flickr had not been flexible in their corporate strategy, today they might not exist.

Andy Harridan, head of entrepreneurship center at UC Davis says that for many people “twenty years of experience” is really one year of experience repeated twenty times. If you’re in permanent beta in your career, twenty years of experience actually is twenty years of experience because each year will be marked by new, enriching challenges and opportunities.

4. Enlist The Help Of Others – Grow your network.

World-class professionals build networks to help them navigate the world. No matter how brilliant your mind or strategy, if you’re playing a solo game, you’ll always lose out to a team.

Master Chen Yeng—one of the pioneers featured in my book discovered and has harnessed the power of building a strong network. A penniless nun from Taiwan, she has founded and built the Tzu Chi Foundation – the largest medical non-profit in all of Asia with – built on the love and compassion of millions of volunteers and donors from around the world. She has done this by emulating herself the spirit of giving and compassion, which has in turn inspired millions of others to follow her leader and raise support for the cause. It’s amazing the power one life can have in changing the lives of millions.

What is the bottom line here? If you want to accelerate your career, or build on a vision, you will need to inspire the support of others.

5. Tolerate Risk – Being a pioneer requires that one is willing to challenge the ‘status quo.’

Executives from the US and Israel were asked to describe how they think about risk in different scenarios. The executives surveyed didn’t calculate the mathematical expected values of various scenarios. They didn’t draft long lists of pros and cons. One question — could they tolerate the outcome if the worst-case scenario happened? If the worst-case scenarios are the serious tarnishing of your reputation, or loss of all your economic assets, or something otherwise career ending, don’t accept that risk. If it’s less than that and you would still be in the game — be open to taking on that risk.

There is a certain level of resilience that comes with risk taking. All visionaries have that in common. When they see an obstacle they find ways to go around it.

Just remember, change is the providence of leaders. It is the work of leaders to inspire people to do things differently, to struggle against uncertain odds. Leaders invest in the long term development of the people and institutions around them, so that they can prosper ad grow together in a shared vision.

Angela Nazarian, is the author of “Pioneers of the Possible: Celebrating Visionary Women of the World”(Assouline). For information visit: