Curiosity, Authenticity & Abundance: Characteristics for a successful life and a thriving community. Sheryl Hunter is the President of Hunter Business Law – The Entrepreneur’s Law Firm – which serves growth-focused entrepreneurs and their business enterprises, from newbie founders to serial entrepreneurs and angel investors. In addition to managing her growing six attorney firms, Sheryl is actively engaged in the entrepreneurial ecosystem as counsel to and investor in Florida Funders, board member of Synapse, and mentor and chair of the advisory board of “GEMS” (Girls Empowered Mentally for Success) and its social venture, Transitions Candles. She is celebrating 20 years married to Gabe and raising two terrific teens, Logan and Aspen.
"If we can take the knowledge that comes with insatiable curiosity and couple it with authenticity and then foster true co-opetition by and between all of the members of the entrepreneurial ecosystem, our community can be as successful and inspiring as individuals who have these characteristics."
After 23 years of practicing law, working with hundreds of entrepreneurs and running my own businesses, I have observed 3 characteristics that contribute to the success of individuals and which are also fundamental to a thriving entrepreneurial ecosystem.
INSATIABLE CURIOSITY. People with an insatiable curiosity are observant and stay ahead of trends. They engage in lifelong learning, daily. In the world of lawyers, we must be highly skilled in our chosen practice areas, but we also need to be effective issue spotters, educated about our clients’ industry and mindful of a broad array of subjects in order to consider more than the obvious issues at hand. In any business or profession, to be a good leader, a true advisor, and a valued contributor you must explore new concepts, read about your craft, and discover on a deeper level who people are and what they care about, so you can meet their needs and collaborate effectively.
AUTHENTICITY. I often advise younger people to develop and maintain a personal and professional brand that is rooted in truth and consistency. My favorite quote is “Always be a first-rate version of yourself, instead of a second-rate version of somebody else” by Judy Garland. Once you have a grasp of your unique talents and niche, you can also discern how to engage in your highest and best use, delegating that in which you do not excel to others. In his book Key Person of Influence, Daniel Priestly identifies the “entrepreneur’s sweet spot” as the intersection of (a) do what you love; (b) do what you’re good at; and (c) do what makes money. Well said.
PERSPECTIVE OF ABUNDANCE. To develop a high achieving company culture and a growing client roster, have a perspective of abundance. Share contacts, make introductions, and advocate and promote clients and colleagues. While there is certainly a place for protecting company assets and valuing your time, do not lose sight of the benefits of co-opetition over competition. A scarcity mentally that results in hoarding clients, contacts and especially knowledge is not a long-term strategy for opportunity to knock on your door. Think Karma.
These same characteristics of successful people can be said of successful communities. For innovators to come and stay in Tampa Bay we need to be an educated, skilled, lifelong learning community where the best and brightest are welcomed, engaged and inspired. We need an authentic community brand – how are we unique and captivating as compared to other areas of the country? Florida Funders has its mission embodied in its tagline “Sunshine State to Startup State”, while the tagline of Synapse is “Innovation Lives Here.” We are building these positive identities with each new grant awarded to Tampa Bay WaVE, with the opening of Embarc Collective, and with the addition of venture-like funds launched by universities to provide capital to their enterprising students and alumni.
If we can take the knowledge that comes with insatiable curiosity and couple it with authenticity and then foster true co-opetition by and between all of the members of the entrepreneurial ecosystem, our community can be as successful and inspiring as individuals who have these characteristics.