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Integrity and Fearlessness Cannot Be Taught

Arrogance and inexperience are charming, even useful, in a poet, but not so much in an entrepreneur.

From my years of executive coaching, it is clear that two things cannot be taught to an aspiring entrepreneur: integrity and fearlessness

In the debate over if it is nature or nurture that leads to entrepreneurial greatness, nature is the prerequisite. It is this prewiring of integrity and fearlessness that serves as the foundation for nurture. 

So long as an entrepreneur is not taking on capital from investors, it is no one's business how he approaches the work of building his venture. Although he will lower his odds of success by failing to recognize that company building is a group effort or by not truly appreciating what the meaning of "opportunity cost" is to him, it is his prerogative. 

But this is normally not the case. 

An entrepreneur normally founds a venture and then seeks capital to pursue its potential. By taking on co-owners he is from then on accountable for not losing their capital and for delivering a great return. 

I know that arrogance is a harsh word, but it did get your attention, didn't it? 

It is intended to draw your attention to the idea that avoiding arrogance will help you overcome inexperience. Remember that your goal is not to be right, but instead your goal is to be successful. As such, your job as a funded, accountable entrepreneur is to stack the odds in your favor by tapping into whatever resources will lead you to this success.

So put yourself in the best position to do what you do so uniquely well and delegate the rest. Surround yourself with a core team of executives that complement you with their own strengths and expertise. Pose questions to experienced entrepreneurs who you admire, and listen closely to what they are willing to share. You owe this to yourself, your future, your venture, and your co-owners.  

In closing, never forget that as an entrepreneur the team sport that you are playing relies on your sense of integrity and fearlessness. So go win it and enjoy every moment of it ... it is far more entertaining than being a poet.