Why Do Entrepreneurs Tell Others “Don’t Do What I Did”

Successful Talk
“Do as I say, not as I do…” is not good advice. Watch the actions successful people take and follow their lead.

When I was growing up I loved listening to businesspeople talk.

It was fascinating to me.

Later on I started reading business books and then biographies of successful businesspeople.

I also read and still read autobiographies, but I like the biographies more because a lot of the time people don’t realize why they’re successful.

After reading the Good To Great series by Jim Collins I learned that he found the same thing as he researched successful entrepreneurs. He found that a lot of them attributed their success to luck. They couldn’t even see what they were doing that led to success.

Or they just did what they had always done and things worked out just fine. Hard work. Every day. No secrets. Slow and steady. Putting their head down and working. Fixing processes. Looking for efficiencies. Lowering prices.

In my time of observing entrepreneurs there is another item they often tell others…

“Don’t Do What I Did”

I would read that, see that and hear that all the time.

And I still do. Talking shop with other business leaders and such I hear this quite often.

I want to be successful so I’m curious about what made others successful and they’ll often tell me not to follow their paths to success. They’ll look back and maybe think that they would have done things differently.

And maybe doing it differently would have been better, but all of these people became successful. It wasn’t an easy path. It wasn’t a straight line to success. They failed along the way. They had really rough stretches.

But they eventually got to a point of success and most kept pushing.

Maybe they’re trying to help others learn from their “mistakes”. Or maybe they’re a little ashamed of the mistakes they made.

I think that the road to success just comes from taking action. From doing things. Making mistakes. Learning. And persevering through a lot of stuff that makes other people stop.

It’s All About Action

The big takeaway from me from all these entrepreneurs is that we should do what they do. Not necessarily look for the most difficult path and make it difficult on ourselves, but to do things that others are uncomfortable doing.

Successful people don’t sit around thinking too much. They certainly make time for some thinking, but they don’t get paralysis by analysis. They think for some time. They take their time, but they are diligent about making decisions and finding out what’s going to happen.

They might make 99 mistakes along the way, but they’ll keep the mistakes pretty small. They won’t lose everything. Then when they hit that one try that is successful they go all in. They realize that it’s ok to try 99 things and succeed on the next one because you only need that one success most of the time.

Final Thought

If you’re in business. Even if you’re already an entrepreneur. Look at successful people. Including yourself. Don’t listen to the advice of entrepreneurs or even yourself when they tell you not to do what they did. Maybe what they did is exactly the path we should take.

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