An Unusual Entrepreneur Characteristic: Dramatic Life Event

A few years ago I was having dinner with a successful software entrepreneur. One of his true enjoyments in life is developing deep mentor relationships with team members and partners. During our conversation he offered up something that rang true for me: some of the most successful entrepreneurs have had a very dramatic life event.

I personally know two different entrepreneurs that had their mom die before they could vote — that leaves a serious mark. Imagine working through the death of a parent at a young age and the internal personal struggle. Conquering the pain and pushing on gives a greater level of internal strength and focus.

Reading the Forbes article yesterday on Sara Blakely of Atlanta titled Undercover Billionaire: Sara Blakely Joins the Rich List Thanks to Spanx drives it home again. In the article it tells of her watching her friend get hit by a car and die at age 16, and then both of her prom dates died in horrible situations. Everything else seems easy after those dramatic life events.

Successful entrepreneurs have often had a dramatic life event. The next time you’re talking with one see if you can work the idea into the conversation and if it holds true for them.

What else? Do you know of other examples of dramatic life events for successful entrepreneurs?

2 thoughts on “An Unusual Entrepreneur Characteristic: Dramatic Life Event

  1. Great post David. I think dramatic life events make success and failure very relative. It’s still hard, but, you’re less scared of failure and, in many cases, completely understand finite time.

    I wonder if investors consider the life events of entrepreneurs when they invest?

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