Elon Musk is my hero.
No, I am not jumping on the bandwagon. Other than being the CEO of the Boring Company, the CEO of Tesla and the CEO of SpaceX, there are so many leadership traits that I admire about him as an innovator. By sharing a couple of his traits here, I hope that you can learn a thing or two for your own personal and professional life.
Image Source: Kaggle
What makes his leadership example so influential for other innovators, and what makes him a successful CEO?
He Takes Risks
Everyone, at some point in their life, has the choice to take the safe path down life, or they can choose to take the risky road. If you take the safe path, you can have an amazing life, but you will never experience serious success, serious adventure, or serious adversity. However, if you choose to take the risky road in life, you won’t feel secure, but you set yourself up for greater potential for failure, but also have the chance to achieve greater success.
Elon goes all out, all the time. He even put all of his company on the line to test a rocket for SpaceX. He managed to get enough money for 3 failed rocket launches and, instead of giving up and returning to success at Tesla, he scavenged just enough money from Tesla into a fourth and final launch. Had this mission failed, SpaceX and Tesla would have gone bankrupt, but, because he took the risk and effort to believe in his ability, the mission was a success, which is one factor that made him so rich today. Nonetheless, this risk-taking mindset is ever-present in all of his present innovations, as well. This risk-taking mindset provides uncertainty in life, but, if you put in the work, the payoff is tremendous.
Image Source: CNBC
He Thinks Big
A few years ago, Musk got stuck in usual LA traffic. However, this time, it was enough. He could no longer take it, so he sent a tweet saying “Traffic is driving me nuts. Am going to build a tunnel boring machine and just start digging…”. I found this amazing because, while everyone thought he was joking, he wasn’t. He was dead serious. The mentality of recognizing a problem, no matter how big, and developing a plan of action and the necessary resources to make it happen, is a trait that we should all aspire to learn at some point in our lives. Thinking big is the only way we can make a big impact. As well, even though he could brag about his past accomplishments, Elon doesn’t define himself by his titles. Instead, he keeps looking at what people want but, more importantly, we people will want. Resources, money, and accolades are insignificant to him because, so long as he is working on revolutionary projects and always keeps thinking about the future, he is happy.
Image Source: Business Insider
He Accepts His Failures As a Part of Success
After he graduated from college in 1995, he desperately tried to get a job at Netscape, a venture which was unsuccessful. Then, in 1996, he was denied the opportunity to become the CEO of his own company, Zip2, which he founded. The position was offered to Rich Sorkin, an older, more experienced entrepreneur. After Zip2 was sold, Elon bought Confinity, which was the company working on creating PayPal, which at the time was voted as one of the top 10 worst business ideas in 1999. While many people would take these events as signs of incompetence or inherent failure, Musk took his failure in stride, continuing to invest in new business ventures. This just goes to show that failure isn’t really a bad thing. Without these failures, Musk wouldn’t have been able to get where he was today.
A young Elon Musk when he was working to merge X.com and PayPal. (Image Source: Astrum People)
While Elon is an amazing CEO and leader, he was always an amazing person. If you develop these personal traits and apply them in your daily life, you will not only become an amazing leader in whatever position you end up in, but you will also be able to reach your full potential in professional and personal life!