T.D. Jakes is the Apostle/Bishop of The Potter’s House, a non-denominational American megachurch, with 30,000 members. His rise from very humble beginnings in West Virginia to an internationally renowned author, entrepreneur, and religious leader is amazing story of success. In his recently published book, “Basic Instinct- the power to unleash your inborn drive,” Bishop T.D. Jakes describes how following his instinct accounts for his success in life which includes his ministry and business ventures. The book is packed with practical advice beneficial to anyone with the desire to turn their passion into success which is why this book is particularly relevant to aspiring entrepreneurs. Bishop Jakes states that, “Instincts are the product of what we have and what we want to have. They are the inner compass guiding us from where we are to where we want to go.” This definition resonates when we think of the success of some of the world’s greatest entrepreneurs. Thomas Edison, Henry Ford, Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, John Johnson, Oprah Winfrey, Fred Smith, and countless others followed their instincts to entrepreneurship legend. The relevancy of instinct to entrepreneurship is captured in this statement, “Our instincts inspire us to look beyond the usual and identify the unusual.” The book describes how the cofounder of Nike, Bill Bowerman was inspired by a waffle iron to develop a sole for a running shoe.
Samples of lessons Bishop Jakes offers in the book that are relevant to entrepreneurs include:
1. It is necessary to take risk. T.D. Jakes states, “Having had the unique opportunities to sit at the table with champions in almost every imaginable field today, I’ve found that people who accomplish massive feats don’t play by man- made rules.” When all is said and done, entrepreneurs take the plunge based on their instincts in spite of advice from family, friends, and haters, urging them not to leave the safety of their existing life for the unknown danger of entrepreneurship.
2. Exposure enhances your instinct and this is relevant to entrepreneur success because most successful entrepreneurs have had some exposure to the business they pursue.
3. Instinct is honed by adversity and instinct transforms adversity into opportunity. Entrepreneurs face great adversity and those that succeed have a strong survival instinct.
4. It is not necessary to be totally imprudent in following your instincts. As an entrepreneur, you should write a business plan, find a mentor, volunteer in an organization centered on your interest, and don’t quit your job if you do not have resources to support yourself, gradually ease into your business dream.
5. Perseverance is necessary. Following your instincts may mean failure on the way to success. Thomas Edison is famous for his many failures. Through instinct entrepreneurs know that success is in the future and preserve in spite of financial hardship. Fred Smith founder of FedEx exemplifies the importance of perseverance and following your instinct. In the early days of FedEx, the company bordered on financial collapse. In one instance, Fred Smith took the company’s last $5,000 to Las Vegas and won $27,000 gambling on blackjack to cover the company’s $24,000 fuel bill. In T.D. Jakes words, “Instincts transforms failures.”
6. Instincts must be supplemented with data. Success in entrepreneurship requires knowledge and wisdom related to your entrepreneurship passion and there should be a symbiotic relationship between instinct and knowledge. One of the greatest causes of entrepreneurial failure is the failure to conduct adequate due diligence by developing a business plan.
T.D. Jakes, states, “Once again, I want to be sure you understand that these concepts are not meant to give a formula or template for success but to awaken what may be dormant or underutilized in your life. Sometimes recognizing the resources already available to us can be the most empowering moment of all. We are most effective when we draw from every God-given resource we have been given to survive in this world.”