The Spirit of the Entrepreneurial Adventure:
Four Simple Lessons

by Jeff Burrows

Businesses are created and started by a plethora of people. People of all shapes, sizes, races, and creeds, indeed from all corners of life, follow a dream and start a business. They are people who, in their quest to free themselves, begin with an idea to make something better, nurture it, and then launch it into reality. They see a need and act upon it. Knighted with the moniker of entrepreneur, sustained with intense dedication to create a better product or service, they set out to build a business with enthusiasm and courage. Their creativity and innovation translates into reality, and a business is born to bring it all to market.

It is in the hearts, minds, and spirit of these people, that ideas are born and put into a formula of doing business. By definition they are entrepreneurs, however, in the end, most are not really entrepreneurs. Last year about 600,000 entrepreneurial businesses opened, says the Small Business Administration. By 2008, only half of those will still exist. When facing down those kinds of odds, you'd better know exactly what it takes to become, in the true sense, an entrepreneur and build a successful business.

The purpose of this article to share with you a practical guide to understanding the breadth and range of the entrepreneurial adventure and offer four simple lessons of wisdom.

Business is not unlike a thundercloud. Viewed from a distance a storm cloud reaches majestically into the clarity of the sky. It is crystal white at the top, from the sun's rays, full of promise and potential. Black ominous winds churn at the bottom. Rumbling thunder roars, lighting flashes spark and warn of the powerful bedlam beneath its exterior beauty. Inside the regal magnificence of the storm cloud, all hell is breaking loose. It is terrifying!

Like the storm cloud the same beauty and thunderous chaos is in the universe of small business. In the United States there are over 15 million companies operating with less than 200 employees, growing at about the same rate as the overall economy. Look closely at the inside of most of these businesses and its chaos.

A great myth of the business world is that all this chaos, mayhem, and bedlam, and for some, ultimate failure, is necessary. Like the rest of us who decide to work for ourselves, there is only one thing we want from our business and our efforts. It's freedom! And the majority of business owners are missing the fundamental point: The reason to build your own business is to create a balance of wealth, income, abundance and freedom.

To become, in the true sense, an entrepreneur and build a successful business you must accept an adventure of personal exploration. You must accept the adventure to explore the depth of your passion, understand your personal myth and learn to occupy the space between your mythic story and reality. True entrepreneurs are people, who with gallantry and disposition, dig to the deepest reaches of their being to unearth their personal myth and openly share it to the benefit of their business and the people in it. They are open to learning what it is they don't know.

People who think of themselves as undertaking an adventure personify thriving between myth and the reality of a business. Accepting the adventure, indeed fully realizing it, will lead the entrepreneur to freedom and prosperity.

This is the spirit of the entrepreneur.

Entrepreneurs on an adventure recognize, acknowledge, and honor their core beliefs. From their core beliefs they navigate themselves and their business through all challenges and adversity to the pinnacle of success. Their core beliefs shepherd them, providing focus and comfort in the knowledge that no matter what the conditions of life, they create their reality.

Entrepreneurs on an adventure engage life with enthusiasm. They are energized by the excitement of each new endeavor and subsequently energize the people around them.

By and large our clients come to us sensing they are standing at a fork in the road with their business, and more importantly, in their life. One fork is the path of the quest, the repetition of routine, which leads to doing things the same way that they always have been done. It is a path of recurrence that repeats the experience of frustration and acceptance of the same, often mundane, results.

The other fork is the path of adventure. It leads to doing things differently. It is a path that engages the best people have to offer by using wisdom to transform the business. It gives the owner freedom and abundance to live a full and rich life.

And the good news for all of you who are called to the spirit of the entrepreneurial adventure, it is all a matter of choice. You decide how you wish to live, think and act out your life. Are you on an adventure, or are you on a quest?

It's that simple. Once you have made the decision to be on an adventure or to remain in the bedlam of the quest, you set the course, outcomes, and attitude of your life. You will manifest the reality of your thinking.

Make the choice. Know that you are at a crossroads now and will be at many crossroads in the future. No matter. Make a decision even if the results are less than you anticipate. For you will be far better off than if you make no decision. At the very least you will be better off in the long run, and you will have a new resource of knowledge with experience.

Here are the Four Lessons for guiding you to focus on a new perspective toward becoming successful as an entrepreneur. The Four Lessons are a discipline for personal growth and learning, and a part of our proven life/business coaching program.

The Four Lessons

  1. You are the mystery and the mystery is you. Everything in existence is a manifestation of the one living being we call our Mystery. Get to know your Mystery. Your business is always a reflection of you; know who you really are.

  2. All things are sacred. This is a realization that will change your life for the better. Just look around, you will see yourself in every tree, in every river, in every cloud, and yes - in every human being. Go between the myth and reality of your business, and thrive.

  3. Respect and maintain the differences. Be responsible only to your decisions, your actions, and yourself. Respect your employees, maintain your differences, and offer leadership not management. Remember that you only control your vision, so stop trying to manage your people and lead them.

  4. Only the earth and sky last forever, make every day a good day to die. Dance in your myth and dare to go between the myth and reality of your adventure. Be the best, all the time. Settle for nothing less.

The magic inside the Four Lessons is they fit any context. As you continue to understand them we encourage you to think about how they can fit the situations you deal with on a day-in-day-out basis. From the boardroom to the back door, the four lessons have universal relevance. When we think about leadership, we consider the Four Lessons as influencing emotional intelligence, trust, and competence and restate them to make them pertinent to the theme of balanced leadership.

You are the leader and the leader is you re-frames the lesson "You are the Mystery and the Mystery is you," into the context of leadership. The implications are that leadership is about you, your ability to effectively influence, and your intimate connection to the leadership position. It bonds you to your life purpose and offers you the opportunity to live in the full realization that your purpose is to serve it with vision and right action which contributes to the improvement of the world around you.

Adaptation of the lesson All things are sacred to the practice of leadership advises that leadership is sacrosanct. Your behavior is revered, honored, and appreciated only if you are pure of intention and sacred in your Life purpose. All of your behavior must flow into being consistent with your Life purpose. As the leader, you will be constantly scrutinized by the people you lead for consistency, coherence, commitment, balance, and emotional stability, as the source of strength and inspiration. Violate any of these conditions and you risk the loss of the leadership mantel and the erosion of your capacity to lead. You must utilize your intuition, direct your emotions, and conduct your behavior wisely.

Respect and Maintain the Differences. For the dynamic leader this lesson is self-evident. Skilled and sensitive leadership understands the power of diversity and nurtures it. The diversity, talents, and skills of your employees are the mother lode of creativity in your business. The more you can develop respect and maintain differences to the greater good of the whole, the more inspired and motivated your employees will work towards the ideals of the strategic vision of your company. The key is to develop trust.

Every day we will be at our very best to deliver on our promise with competence restates the last lesson in the domain of leadership. This contextualizes the lesson, Only the Earth and Sky Last Forever, Make Every Day a Good Day to Die, to the practice of dynamic leadership. It makes clear the expectations to be the very best, all the time in all we do, and has the anticipation of excellence.

We challenge you to think about how you can change the wording of the lessons to best fit your business without loosing the depth of meaning embedded in them. Try it.

If you would like to become an Entrepreneur on an Adventure just email me at

Jeff Burrows is the co-author of Myth to Reality, The Spirit of the Entrepreneurial Adventure. He is founder of Thunderlight Resources ( and communicates with a passion for life and business that is truly distinct. Using practical wisdom, real life business stories, and amazing humor, Jeff teaches you the most powerful form of leverage in the world - your mind - has the power to free you from the chaos of your business. Jeff's spirit of coaching has produced measurable tangible results for business owners, CEO's, and Presidents who want to align the vision of their business with their life purpose. The Thunderlight Experience is the integration of his Native American teachings (lessons) with a proven worldwide business development system.

Thunderlight Resources offers the business owner, entrepreneur, manager, and employee educational products and coaching on the strategy, the art, and the science necessary to achieve one's vision in business and life - a pathway for making sense of transformation and providing programs for the successful implementation of change.

Myth to Reality:
The Spirit of the Entrepreneurial Adventure

by John McAlister and Jeff Burrows
Bridgewood Pr
August 2003

Many more articles in Creative Leadership I and Creative Leadership II
in The CEO Refresher Archives


Copyright 2003 by Jeff Burrows. All rights reserved.

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