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The Zone
The Zone : The Entrepreneurial Zone

The Zone

The Entrepreneurial Zone

By Tom Evans

« The Performance Zone

It takes a special person to enter the Entrepreneurial Zone. Only extra special people though can stay in it for any length of time.

Some people are born entrepreneurs of course. They can be spotted early on in their lives. In the playground at school, they can be found making trades furtively in the corner. In times gone by they might be exchanging football cards. Nowadays their nose might be stuck in a smartphone and they could be plying their trade on eBay anywhere on the planet.

Other people find themselves inadvertently in the Entrepreneurial Zone later in life. Perhaps an early redundancy takes the rug from under their feet and catapults them into launching a new business.

Once you get in this zone, it’s addictive. You begin to live on the edge, perhaps not knowing how or when your bills might get paid. You push boundaries by going places and doing things never done before. You find the zone full of interesting and eclectic characters. Some are visionaries; some are revolutionaries; some are just bonkers.

It’s the etymology of the word that gives some insight into the essential nature of an entrepreneur.

In recent history, it comes from the old French verb ’entreprendre’ meaning ’to undertake’. It maybe apocryphal but it's thought that it has even earlier roots in the phrase from Sanskrit ’Antha Prerna’ meaning ’self motivated’.

It’s unquestionable, entrepreneurs have to be 'self-motivated’ and they have to 'undertake’ all manner of things. Entrepreneurs are human too and suffer bouts of self doubt and sometimes from hard times. Each entrepreneur has an angel on one shoulder driving them forward. On the other sits a devil telling not to be so silly and to go and get a day job.

What separates those who survive in this zone from those who struggle is mindset. This is not as trivial as holding that optimistic 'glass half full’ mentality in the face of adversity. In fact, the most successful entrepreneurs positively thrive in the face of adversity.

When they struggle over something, or see others having a hard time, they know if they come up with a solution to solve this problem, they will be on to a winner. Especially if that winner saves or makes those who invest in it more than it costs them. They are the people who undertake to do something that others before have not dared to do or even thought to do.

An entrepreneur by nature must be multi-faceted. They are required to be both a polymath and jack of all trades while still being a master of none.

We can think of such a master entrepreneur as being an ultrapreneur. Their secret to the ease with which they generate ideas, and make things happen, is their ability to always be a few seconds ahead of everyone else. When an ultrapreneur is on fire, everyone else is playing catch up.

Ultrapreneur (noun): an entrepreneur who is way ahead of the pack. [Derivation: ultra- (Latin: beyond) and -preneur (French : prendre, to take)]

The term ultrapreneur is much more appropriate to describe an entrepreneur who is at the top of their game. These are the people that are not so much 'under-taking’ something but 'over-taking’ others. Ultrapreneurs are not so much occupying the Entrepreneurial Zone but defining what this zone is in the first place. They even invent entirely new zones of their own making.

To ultrapreneurs, the concept of a boundary is simply not entertained. If something can be done, it will be done. They will either do it themselves or they will know someone who can make it happen for them. •

Next: The Creative Zone »

Tom Evans Renaissance Man and Imagineer Tom Evans is the author of four books and counting about creativity. More »

Updated 1/18/15