We were sitting in a meeting last week with a group of people when one of them asked us to what we attributed the success of the company. Jay began talking about industry and market trends like a well rehearsed script. I quietly smiled at him across the table appreciating his humility but knowing that there really was only one, primary explanation for it; him.
Jay and I began dating as starry eyed early twenty something’s. Of course we have both changed several times over in countless ways over the past 15+ years since then. Some of the traits I will mention were always there and all of them are constantly developing and changing in various ways. I have studied his behavior and personality traits, endlessly fascinated by his unique responses to different situations and have concluded that he is indeed quite different in some distinctive ways.
So what is it about Jay that sets him apart? I have come up with several conclusions that likely won’t come as any huge shock to those that have researched the personality traits of an entrepreneur and they certainly won’t surprise anyone that knows him well. Here are a few of them:
He Is Determined to Persevere
He. Does. Not. Give. Up. I mean NEVER. I’ve decided that he literally must be incapable of it. I’ve seen him get kicked when he’s down. I’ve watched what has felt like a firing squad of disappointment and set backs pummeled on him one after the other. I’ve seen him fail. Hard. And then keep going without skipping a single beat. His drive can NOT be broken. You can not take him down. He always perseveres.
He Is Truly Passionate About His Career
He knows his company inside and out. While he is not performing every daily function in every department any more, he knows how to do it all. He has personally scrapped each position and rebuilt it several times over the course of his career. There isn’t a question about his company that you can ask him that he doesn’t know the answer to. He loves his job and his company. When 4am on Monday morning comes he’s fast out of the gate, pushing hard to achieve his goals every day.
He Refers to His Staff as “Family” and He Means It
He says it daily and means it: “I’m only as strong as my team.” It’s important to him that he has a team that loves coming to work. He believes that success is a collective effort and he works to create a vision that every single person is working toward together. His office door is always open to everyone on his team. He’s the type of owner that is there to personally shake the hand of and welcome every new member. He appreciates his employees as people and extended family members and works everyday to make sure they know it.
He Is Innovative
Not only is he constantly evolving and improving himself every day, he believes strongly in technology and system innovation. He loves technology and tracks advances closely. When he saw a deficit in technology in his field he created his own software that has played an important role in his operations. He is not intimidated or resistant to change of any kind and is especially open to changes involving technological advancement. This has been an important factor in his own advancement.
He Is a Natural Leader
Whether he is coaching a team of 5-year-old girls or speaking in front of a room of people, he owns it. He is prepared and knowledgeable but a lot of his leadership success comes from being able to think on the fly. He leads by example and he earns the respect of others easily. He’s comfortable on center stage. Ask him anything. He’ll have the answer and make you laugh in the process.
His Personality Is Infectious
He’s the kind of person that can walk into a room full of strangers and leave with a room full of friends. He’s always cracking jokes and laughing. He is genuinely funny and quick witted. He wants others to be happy around him and won’t stop trying until he has even the most serious person laughing. He’s friendly to everyone he crosses paths with. It’s hard to have a bad day with him around.
He Thrives Under Pressure
He works best under the gun. I think he must love being told that he can’t accomplish something. I can almost see the challenge register in his brain and I immediately start calculating how long it will take before he successfully proves the challenger wrong. He moves fast and juggles a lot at all times. Just when I think he’s finally filled his plate too full and he can not possibly pull it all off, he comes up with a plan that only he could think of and he pulls through. His brain works in different ways than the average person. The ideas he presents are regularly ones from an angle that no one else has thought of.
He Can Sell It
He is a great sales person. He can turn on the charm but it’s never in a disingenuous way. He knows his trade and enjoys speaking about it endlessly. Because he is passionate, friendly, funny, personable, driven and perseverant, he can also sell very well. And if he gets the door slammed in his face he always finds another way in.
Owning a business can be both incredibly rewarding and incredibly difficult at times. In our trying times I have pulled strength from his unwavering dedication to succeed. He rides the waves with determination and focus. I feel lucky every day to be on this sometimes wild ride with him even if it requires me to tighten my grasp and maintain blind faith in his abilities to pull us all through together. He guides our company with an optimistic can-do determination, a wise and compassionate outlook and a consistently innovative and creative approach to our collective future. He’s not perfect, but to me, he’s pretty darn close.