top of page
  • Writer's pictureNeil Nicholson

Why Some Entrepreneurs Almost Always Succeed

A Brief Review of Jeff Olson’s Seven Slight Edge Principles

Are you an innovative business person who takes financial risks in order to organize and operate a business that you love?

Are you looking to sharpen your skills and increase your chances of ongoing success in the business world?

Maybe you have been wildly successful and find that you are feeling stagnant and disconnected from your work.

Maybe you are not making the money you used to, or you simply need to increase revenue due to inflation so you can keep doing the work you love.

No one ever said it was going to be easy to be your own boss, to set your own hours, to assume extraordinary financial risks. But that was the commitment you made.

Regardless of where you are in your entrepreneurial journey, there is no doubt that you could benefit from an understanding of Jeff Olson’s Seven Slight Edge Principles. They are simple but effective principles you can start applying right now to improve your journey as a successful entrepreneur.

Show Up… A Lot

You are already halfway there if you can commit to showing up every day. Even with the losses and setbacks, just lean into the discipline of showing up and doing all the little things nobody sees. When others might throw in the towel, just keep going.

Jeff Olson states: “Showing up consistently is where the magic is at.”

We can assume, for the sake of this principle, that no one person is necessarily smarter than another person. And luck has nothing to do with it. The difference between failure and success has to do with… Showing. Up. Consistently.

Most quit when the going gets hard. A small number continue on, one foot in front of the other. Those that show up consistently will see the results eventually that they want to see.

There are countless examples.

Jeff Olson loves sports examples as metaphors for life. When I think about showing up consistently and the results on the other side of this, I think about Steve Yzerman, one of the best hockey players of all time.

He stepped on the ice as captain of the Detroit Red Wings for over 1300 games and retired, having served as captain longer than other person in North American sports history. He wasn’t the most popular athlete in Detroit because he showed up once in a while. He didn’t lead the Red Wings to three Stanley Cup wins without showing up consistently.

And wow, did he see results! His awards are numerous, and his career continues to flourish as vice president and general manager of the team he loves most.

No Stinkin’ Thinkin’

If showing up consistently has magic, add a positive attitude to the mix, and you have the key to longevity and a productive life.

Olson has a lot to say about the principle of having a good attitude. I want to boil it down to some key considerations. There are people that light up the room and then people Olson calls “dimmers.” Ironically, you can usually see the “dimmers” from a mile away “sucking the life out of the room.”

Don’t listen to them and their negativity! Don’t let them rub up against you! My mother always said, “Misery loves company.” Remember, you have a choice of who you associate with, and that choice has implications regarding your success in business or whatever it is you choose to do. Show up with faith, perseverance, a positive attitude, willing to roll with the give and take of life.

Again, show up consistently with a positive attitude. There are scientists who have verified a positive attitude as a predecessor to success, not the other way around. There are many business people who are integrating it into their lives and finding it is not a new age phenomenon but rather a simple truth that will take you a long way.

Cultivate Your Harvest

If you show up consistently with a positive attitude for a while, well, that’s just not good enough. Whatever it is you are trying to do, you need to be in it for the long haul. It’s probably the hardest principle because most of us want it right now, the harvest, that is.

We forget in our modern world the simple process people have been following forever: sew the seed, water the seed, reap the harvest. Now which of these takes the longest?

You have to water or “cultivate” consistently for a long time to harvest the fruit. Are you willing to invest months, years, or 10,000 hours?

Like Jeff Olson says, “If you do the thing, you will have the power.

The secret, though, is that you have to “do the thing” consistently with a good attitude over and over until you get it right. And once you find something that works, wash and repeat. If you are reading this because you are starting a business, changing directions, and need new ideas, just commit to manageable steps every day, and by the time you reap the harvest, the hard work will already be done.

Showing up consistently with a positive attitude for a long time will no doubt work for you as an entrepreneur. The 5th principle, though, really has the potential to set you apart.

Burning with Desire

The number one common trait among successful people is “faith and a burning desire.” You have to be willing to think differently about the problems you encounter. And you have to see an opportunity for growth.

Successful people do not let problems get in the way but rather see them as opportunities for creative solutions.

They know that problems are never going to go away. In fact, I think sometimes problems arise to challenge you, to see if you are really serious about what you said you were going to do. For many, I think this is where the greatest area for growth is and where the apple cart might just fall apart.

Jeff Olson reminds us that we need to “be willing to pay the price.” Neglect is much more brutal than the price of showing up consistently for an extensive period of time with faith and a burning desire and being willing to pay the price for what you want.

Double Your Potential For Success

The price of neglect is probably what most people are familiar with. But you are not reading this because of your desire to neglect your dreams. And please note that failure is important as long as it is a lesson learned and related to hard work.

Olson states at one point that you have to double your rate of failure to succeed. Interesting idea. Nobel Prize-winning author Samuel Beckett stated famously years ago, “Try again. Fail again. Fail better.”

I guess that is the price you pay to succeed; ask anyone who has ever succeeded at anything. Stan Wawrinka, tennis great, has Beckett’s mantra tattooed on his arm and emphasizes the importance of choosing our relationship to failure.

If you are not willing to fail, sometimes you might as well stop reading right now. There is no hope for you. Get a real job with safeguards in place because being an entrepreneur is inherently related to failure. Just fail better. Just don’t get lazy and neglectful. That is for everyone else, not you.

Oh, and don’t forget to read the story of Pablo Felix in the Olson text under this principle. Do you want to talk about being willing to pay the price? Felix started his own successful business after being rejected as a deaf man in corporate America. Very inspiring!

The Integrity to Succeed

What are the first 6 principles without the practice of integrity? What do you do when no one is watching? Do you follow through on the things you said you were going to do? Even after the initial inspiration has passed? Are you willing to do the small things that do not seem relevant to most people?

Jeff Olson emphasizes the principle of integrity for entrepreneurs. Of course, many start-ups fail for financial reasons within the first couple of years. Many fail because they simply do not have the integrity to succeed.

No one bossing you around, telling you what to do, breathing down your throat. No one is there to tell you to do the thing so you can have the power. It's up to you.

Neglect is waiting around the corner to tell you how unimportant the little things are. Maybe they can wait, maybe they can’t. Only you can decide. This juncture is where the Slight Edge really matters. The people and businesses that succeed do all the little things over and over, even when no one is watching.

Above are the seven principles of the Slight Edge, and if applied to the creation of your dream business will set you apart from the others. Remember to show up consistently with a positive attitude for a long time with faith and a burning desire, and a commitment to pay your dues with integrity. You can’t go wrong.

For more book recommendations that will transform your life and business, check out this video from The Rebel Mind.

About the Author: Neil is a clinical social worker and poet who loves writing blogs and other forms of copy for ethical and innovative companies. He specializes in topics related to behavioral health but is also interested in topics related to climate, outdoor living, and entrepreneurship. He loves exploring and discovering wild places untouched by humanity and lives deep in the mountains of southern Oregon with his family, two large pups, and more apples than he knows what to do with.

10 views0 comments
Post: Blog2_Post
bottom of page