In his book “The Will to Win”, Shark Tank’s Robert Herjavec gives us the formula for the mindset needed to achieve success.  He calls it the “Three Ds”, Determination, Dedication and Drive.  If you examine the characteristics of almost any successful person, you will find a healthy portion of each of these traits.

Dedicaton, Determination and Drive

Many people are “born” with natural abilities.  Others are born into families with great wealth and a seemingly unlimited array of resources at their disposal.  But there are so many others, like Herjavec himself, who have achieved great things without winning the genetic lottery of natural skills or a healthy trust fund.  Those that succeed in these situations will almost always have the traits of determination, dedication and drive.  In fact, I do not believe it is even possible to succeed without them.

Determination – The Will to Win

It’s no accident that the name of Herjavic’s book is what it is.  I don’t know if there is any better definition of “determination” than this simple statement, “the will to win”.  A person with great determination has that will.  It’s inate.  They know nothing other than a mindset that says “I am going to succeed”.

So when I talk to my clients about this, the first thing we have to decide is whether the business owner wants to succeed.  What is their goal?  Is it to just make a living?  Or do they want to be the best in their field?  Do they want to offer something unique that makes their business stand out?  If not, then why do they want to go through the struggles of business ownership?

Many business owners want to succeed, but I believe are scared of success.  Success brings with it certain expectations.  Some business owners are not sure if they can live up to them.  Expectations of team members, expectations from business partners and expectations from customers are just a few of the concerns they may have.  Can they provide the financial stability to make payroll?  Will they be able to provide a consistent return to the owners?  And will their team be able to fulfill their obligations to their customers?  A business owner needs to be confident in these areas.

Making up your mind to succeed is a critical first step. Setting specific goals that raise the bar on your performance is of paramount importance.  I guess another “D” word comes to mind – “Desire”.  You have to desire to win.  Without this overwhelming desire, you will not have the determination required.

Dedication – The Energy to Win

Making the decision to succeed is the first step.  Once you have determined what winning looks like, you need to ensure you have the dedication needed to win.

This is an area that every successful small business owner can tell you about.  Seldom does a business just succeed without a lot of sweat equity on behalf of its owner.  To succeed in spite of the challenges, the long nights, the stressful decisions, and the plethora of people problems, you must have a tremendous amount of dedication.

Dedication involves working through tough times.  It means you put in the long nights, the weekends and the all-nighters require to meet the demands.  It means you make the tough calls.  You have to make decisions around early funding.  Do you bootstrap it?  Do you seek an investor?  Should you take on a partner?

I was just talking to one of my new clients today.  He was running back and forth between cities as his business growth is stretching him to his limit.  We are looking for a time to get together and he is on the road for the next three weeks.  He needs to slow down so that his business can speed up.  This takes a tremendous amount of energy and willpower.

Dedication also means that you bring on the right team that shares your purpose.

Drive – The Patience to Win

Drive also involves energy, but I believe it also brings another idea into play, that you must have the patience to stick with it.  When I think of drive, I don’t think of something quick.  I think of taking a long trip and staying behind the wheel until I get there.  Having the drive to win means that you have a sticktoitiveness that defies understanding.

Successful business owners that I know have often suffered through one or two business failures.  They have tried multiple strategies and seen many of them fail.  They have made in-course corrections in order to achieve their business goals.  A successful business owner will almost always exhibit a level of patience that unsuccessful business owners do not have.

The client I mentioned earlier is experiencing fantastic growth.  But he’s been down this road before.  A few years ago they grew, but “outkicked their coverage”.  This is a football term meaning that your team outsold your ability to fulfill orders.  Rapid growth can be a two-edged sword if you are not prepared for it.

A person with drive has a destination in mind.  They have a longer-term vision than just the current leg of their journey.  They see the value of long-term vision.

Do you have determination, dedication and drive?

Well, do you?  If not, entrpereneurship may not be for you.  But if you do, then you are off to a great start.  This sets you apart from 90% of people out on the street.

Your next goal is to harness that energy and focus it like a laser beam on a strategy that will lead to success.  To do that, you need someone to be an advisor to you.  A coach provides a second set of eyes, an external perspective, and a set of diverse experiences and tools to help you in your journey.

Does that sound interesting to you?  I hope it does.  If so, contact me today, or email me at