For more than two decades, Alex Charfen has been creating and testing business philosophies specifically geared towards entrepreneurs. Alex has been an entrepreneur himself during this period, and has developed the Entrepreneurial Personality Type to help business owners grow their business and themselves. He has contributed to numerous major media outlets and brings his core philosophy to Paper Napkin Wisdom: “There is nothing wrong with you.”
Alex’s contribution stems from an observation that whoever has stood out in history has always had a restlessness - something that people constantly told them was a weakness. Ranging from the original great thinkers of Athens to Einstein to Buffett, opposition to this type of innovative thinking has always originated from a resistance to change. In the business world, entrepreneurs represent this archetype because we are highly susceptible to negative criticism.
At every level of business - and especially when starting out - the message is “fix yourself.” In Alex’s experience, however, entrepreneurs must discover how to identify strengths and abilities, develop protection and support, and lower pressure and noise. You may be surprised at how rapidly these efforts help in accomplishing your goals. Alex even goes so far as to recommend leaning into your personality (as opposed to tempering it) and make it a more prominent part of your business.
From the work Alex has done with entrepreneurs, he has identified three awakenings that each of us experiences: 1) a realization that we are fundamentally different, 2) an innate motivation to keep going, 3) the call of contribution. The first stage begins at an early age by learning “what is wrong with me” through systemic suppression and fear. This eventually grows, however, into learning how to get ahead, and learning that self improvement often requires breaking systemic rules. The next evolution becomes “how to get my partners and team ahead”, which finally results in “how to contribute and help everyone.” Think of Bill Gates as the perfect example: someone who began is career as selfish, driven, and cutthroat, but developed a philanthropic, generous spirit of contribution.
Entrepreneurial personalities tend to prefer momentum to feeling - forward vs backwards as opposed to happy vs sad. As such, chasing momentum is more rewarding than chasing happiness. Entrepreneurs tend to be momentum-based or highly attuned to whether they’re moving forward. As Alex describes it, pressure and noise = stress, frustration, obstacles, regardless of size. Protection and support comes from surrounding yourself with people who help you move forward.
Complete the following exercise: think of a time when you experienced a high level of momentum. What were you chasing and how are you tracking your momentum? Who contributed to you and who have you contributed to? A perfect example of this formula is Rick Hoyt: a person who, with the help of his father, family, neighbors and friends, overcame a physical disability to develop strengths and abilities, and eventually make a contribution through inspiration.