One cannot acquire life wisdom without the passage of time, and professional insight is no exception. Fortunately, we have friends, family, and the internet to help guide our career paths, alerting us to both the good and the bad along the way. While no two people's experiences are the same, Inc. recently asked a group of successful business leaders what they wish their younger selves had known. Their answers serve as a professional roadmap for those just starting out in their careers, as well as an incredibly candid view of our evolving workspace. In their own words, here's what big- and small-business owners wish they'd known when first starting out:
Don't stick to a routine
"Many entrepreneurs think there's a secret formula for habits of successful people, but in my experience, routine and habits are anathema to entrepreneurialism. You have to focus on making the most out of every opportunity and every project, and that requires an approach as specific and unique as each situation. If you've started forming your business habits, try breaking them completely. You'll be shocked at how creative you'll be."
— Rod Favaron, CEO of social software company Spredfast
Find comfort in the uncomfortable
"As an entrepreneur, taking risks is extremely important, but it is the resilience and perseverance in the face of adversity that really counts. It is important to take risks and learn to be comfortable with being uncomfortable as you persevere in the face of adversity."
— Telle Whitney, CEO of Anita Borg Institute
Ignorance can be bliss
"I'm actually glad that I didn't know how hard it is to build a global company, and that I didn't realize how much investment capital it would take. Had I known both of those things, I'm not sure I would have attempted it. The thing that sustained me through it all is knowing we had a big, world-changing idea. The thought of not pursuing that idea has always been tougher than what we've had to go through to get where we are."
— Scott McFarlane, co-founder and CEO of Avalara