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WRAY: Optimism is first step to assure success

This Thanksgiving, Facebook taught me a great deal about the role optimism plays in life success as well as entrepreneurial success. HubSpot recently made a similar observation, reporting that gratitude is the key to success in sales.

I submit that gratitude is the key ingredient to successful entrepreneurship.

First, gratitude makes the right people want to be around you.

Second, gratitude opens up opportunities and energizes creative thinking.

Finally, and perhaps most importantly, a grateful spirit won’t give up, so gratitude fuels the persistent attitude needed to drive entrepreneurial success.

On Facebook, I saw great photos of happy and grateful people. At first glance, the photos didn’t tell much of a story. However, for many of the photos I know the “back story,” and it wasn’t always easy or happy. So, what was revealed was a choice for optimism and gratitude.

For example, the photos of “Dad with my kids” wasn’t the typical annual event. It was of a grandfather meeting his grandchildren for the first time after having abandoned his family when the photographer of said photos was less than two years old.

In another photo, “Terrific Time Turkey Trotting with Kids” was a post filled with joy, but the unannounced void was around the missing husband who ditched his family years earlier.

I am not trying to bring you down after a glorious holiday, and I am certainly not trying to say these individuals are less than genuine. What I am saying is that they made an important choice. They chose to embrace what is incredible about their life and not harp on what could have been.

I see the same choice being made daily in the successful entrepreneurs at The Creative Coast. Some entrepreneurs choose to see the amazing resources Savannah offers for budding businesses, like access to newly educated talent from many of our fine institutions including Savannah College of Art and Design, Armstrong State, Savannah State, South University, Savannah Tech, Georgia Southern and USC at Beaufort.

These positive entrepreneurs also know Savannah offers a low cost of living that extends the startup “runway,” making it possible to withstand those unavoidable bumps along the way.

For those who choose to see the positives, Savannah offers a desirable living environment, an incredible climate, a rich pool of business mentors and great “ins’” for connections to powerful industries such as tourism, aerospace, logistics and health care.

Focusing positive energy on these unending possibilities puts the “can-do” spirit into entrepreneurs such that one more sales call is made, one more product iteration is perfected and one more great talent or investor is brought on board.

Optimism attracts success.

For example, Steve Ross of Oak.Works boasts about the incredible reservation system his full stack development company has created for happy customer Kelly Tours. Steve and Oak.Works co-founder Rob Lingle built on that success rather than gripe that some corporate prospects don’t understand what technology can do for them, don’t want to pay for needed services or whatever other sales challenge might present a bump in the road.

Similarly, Tommy Linstroth will share how his GreenBadger LEED construction management web and mobile application system is currently in use by CBRE, DPR and Skanska without getting discouraged by the dozens of sales meetings it takes to convince companies to try something new and different.

On the other hand, I have met dozens of fledgling Savannah entrepreneurs who seem to complain just to complain. They’ll moan about the lack of talent or that there isn’t enough local funding to support their venture.

I have watched these same complaining entrepreneurs scare away top visiting seed investors like John Burke and Sig Mosley. Their negative energy alone limits their possibilities. Attitudes, both positive and negative, are contagious.

So, as we enter the last month of 2016, I’m not only thankful for the things I might mention on my Facebook page, but I’m also thankful for the many important facets of Savannah that are helping to fill our city with growing and positive-minded entrepreneurial companies.

I am filled with gratitude that more and more entrepreneurs are choosing to see this powerful side of Savannah and to make the most of what the area has to offer all of us.

 

Bea Wray is the executive director of The Creative Coast, a not-for-profit organization that promotes the creative and entrepreneurial community within the region. Bea can be reached at 912-447-8457 or bea@thecreativecoast.org

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