9 years ago I lived in Brazil for two years of my life and I loved every challenging experience I went through. In the beginning of my mission I was thrown into the Brazilian culture and lived in a small beat up apartment with three other Brazilians, not knowing a lick of Portuguese and being the only American, I struggled to communicate. I felt lonely and had no friends near by to speak with. I look back now and I have realized that I went through certain challenges on my mission so that I could get through the challenges I am faced as an entrepreneur.
Having a Positive Attitude During Hard Times
I quickly learned that having a positive attitude was essential to get through the hard times. Many times in our lives whether it be professional or personal we tend to have a bad attitude when things don’t go our way. I have found in entrepreneurship that things don’t work out the way you plan and you need to have a positive attitude to help you through those times. Your attitude is everything in business, if it is bad you will struggle to become successful. People are attracted to positive attitudes and in order for you to succeed, you need to attract people.
Dealing With Challenging People
Often times in my mission I would have to deal with challenging people, sometimes my mission companion or other times people we would meet. Learning how to deal with a variety of personalities has helped me with many different business relationships. I once had to deal with someone who was wasting our mission resources for personal use and I worked with him to understand that we are working as a team. Another time I had to motivate and lead a large group of missionaries who weren’t focused on our mission goals to become better missionaries, that wasn’t easy but I see now that learning how to work with challenging people has benefited me as an entrepreneur.
Learning How To Communicate
Communication is very important in business, you need to communicate marketing messages to your target audience, train employees and speak with partners and sometimes investors. Serving a mission made me re-learn how to communicate to people who spoke a different language and had a different culture. Communication is extremely important skill if you are going to be an entrepreneur.
Becoming a Leader
While serving as a missionary many people get the opportunity to become leaders and help other missionaries become successful. I never wanted to be a leader on my mission, in fact I was terrified of it, My mission president made me a leader for over half of my mission and it taught me a lot about leadership. Leaders should help their teams grow and achieve goals. Leaders also understand the importance of working together to achieve big goals and that success never is created by one person, it is the combined effort of each team member. Leadership is an amazing skill that all entrepreneurs should work to master.
As a missionary you have to learn how to focus on other people’s needs and wants. You have to be a good listener and help people solve problems. Learning how to sell is what makes a business a business, if you are an entrepreneur selling is critical to your success, spend time to learn how to sell and it will help you become a successful entrepreneur.
Relying On People With Real Experience
Working with people that have been there and done what you want to accomplish is something I learned on my mission but I am still learning the importance of this lesson today. Why waste your time trying to figure out something when there are countless successful people that are probably willing to help you become successful or achieve a certain goal. I have learned so much from many people that have already achieved what I want to achieve. People naturally want to help out so take someone out to lunch and ask how they achieved a goal.
Never Stop Learning
I am amazed at how many people stop learning new skills after they become successful or comfortable with their stage of life. Your brain is like a muscle and learning new skills will help keep it strong, you need to have a strong mind as an entrepreneur. Learning new skills gives us motivation to achieve our goals, don’t ever stop learning!