I was talking to an aspiring entrepreneur about a week ago and he made an interesting comment about my background… He was excited about his new venture, but in passing said “I only wish I had your pedigree”. Wow… did he confuse me with someone else?

Now, let me be clear. I have a pedigree for sure (as the meaning of pedigree is “origin or history”) although my personal pedigree wouldn’t necessarily line out a clear path to success. Let’s see… I grew up in a small town. My family (although awesome parents) were not doctors, lawyers or Ivy Leaguers. I went to college on a soccer scholarship (thankfully, as my SAT score looked more like a sanitation grade than a slam dunk for Harvard). I was kicked out of my first college (fun was prioritized over books). Eventually graduated with a Psychology degree… that’s right, another clear path to wealth and high society… Are you seeing the trend yet?

Entrepreneurs aren’t necessarily Harvard grads, wealthy kids, or computer science prodigies. Entrepreneurs are normal people (well, kinda).

Here’s what makes you an entrepreneur:

1. You have passion for an idea, product or opportunity.
2. You view risk as GOOD, not bad. Risk equals good things in your world-view.
3. You are an optimist.
4. You work hard (but really smart and efficient)

Here’s what I love… The above things truly define entrepreneurs but they aren’t hard to learn, exhibit or execute. They are all choices you make. You have the power to control them. They can’t be taken away from you.

Next time you start thinking about pedigree, remember how lucky you are that you just don’t need one…. and exhibiting the above noted characteristics puts you in the thin air where the competition is weakest… Most people are content slugging it out in the middle… the crowd…. out in corporate America, climbing some ladder, thinking about a one day having a window near their cubicle.

Actually, shhhhhh… Don’t tell anyone how nice it is out here.

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