Key Directives For Entrepreneurs & Business Partners That Bring Success

Dan Sullivan
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Many entrepreneurs get to a point in their lives and businesses where they start to realize that things aren’t as aligned as they once thought they were. Team members, significant others, family members, and friends all have different mindsets, outlooks, and perspectives on life—and those can sometimes clash.

It would be naive to think that all of these different relationships and mindsets could magically align themselves without any intervention or instruction. Yet that is how many entrepreneurs operate. I, too, operated this way until I had an abrupt awakening that taught me a life-altering lesson.

Alignment is especially important for entrepreneurs. Entrepreneurs have big visions for the future, but they’ll never get there if the people they work, live, and spend time with are not aligned with that vision. That is why I believe that establishing key directives for entrepreneurs is so important.

Lessons learned on the worst day of my life.

Entrepreneurs need to create the alignment they want to see. As an entrepreneur, no one is holding your hand or giving you instructions on how to operate. I found this out in the ‘70s, and my experience was pretty painful—but it taught me a valuable life lesson.

Most importantly, it led to the wonderful relationship I have with Babs Smith, my partner in life and business, who is, without a doubt, the most important person in my life.

In the late ‘70s, my life was not going as well as I would have liked. I wasn’t growing as an entrepreneur, my business wasn’t growing, and my marriage was faltering. I could see that there was a constant clash around what my wife and I thought the future was going to hold. Like most entrepreneurs, I had big dreams and a vision for my life that was far different from what she was envisioning.

I knew it wasn’t going to improve, and I knew I couldn’t grow in other areas of my life unless I figured out how to fix this problem. And it all ended in 1978 when I was divorced and bankrupt on the same day—the worst day of my life.

You’ve probably heard the story before, so I won’t repeat all the details here—but needless to say, I was in a bad place. I had no instruction on how to deal with something like this.

But as painful as it was, I learned two key lessons that day: I knew that I wanted my next partner to also be a partner in business, and I knew that I needed to be fully aligned with everyone in my life if I wanted to grow.

And that led me to discover the lesson of key directives for entrepreneurs.

Establishing key directives for entrepreneurs.

Babs and I weren’t initially partners in business. When we first got together, I was working as a one-on-one coach for entrepreneurs, and she had her own business. It wasn’t until a few years later that we decided to join forces on Strategic Coach.

And when we made that decision, we also decided to establish what we like to call our key directives. The idea is that these guide our lives, giving us direction and instruction, and keeping us consistent. Every roadblock, question, or issue that comes up in our lives can be solved by going back to these directives. They keep us aligned.

Because Babs and I are partners in business and life, that alignment then extends to the team at Strategic Coach, our entrepreneurs, and everyone else around us. They are as follows:

  1. Everything we do together has to strengthen our lifetime intimacy and teamwork.
  2. We have to be 100% in control of our forward progress, both in our business and personal lives.
  3. We only align ourselves with people who are already aligned with us.

These are, of course, uniquely ours. Every entrepreneur will have different key directives based on their goals, desires, mindsets, and lessons learned over the years.

It’s difficult to identify specific lessons or instructions for how to develop key directives for entrepreneurs. You ultimately need to think about what’s most important to you and what you want to get out of life—then go from there. But key directives are something that everyone should think about sooner rather than later. (Just look at the lesson I learned … )

Like many parts of being an entrepreneur, this is something you’ll need to think about on your own, and it will take some time. There are no clear instructions, but just thinking about your own key directives is one of the best exercises you can do for your business and personal life.

What will your key directives be?

If this idea got you thinking about what you truly want out of your entrepreneurial journey, there is no better way to keep that thinking going than with our Strategic Coach Starter Kit. It has everything you need to start “thinking about your thinking,” as we like to say, including a few of our most popular tools free of charge.