Despite our recent elections, and the return to business as usual in Washington, many of us are still holding our economic breath. While politicians argue over “fiscal cliffs,” many of us are waiting for a signal that the economy can begin chugging again in earnest. Breaking the grip of this lethargy demands that the American entrepreneur recapture and re-internalize the mindset of a leader.

Leaderpreneurs are forged when we take control of how we show up in our lives, and in the world around us. The external pressures that define a leaderpreneur being set aside for another discussion, leaderpreneurship begins internally with clear accountability to ourselves, and to the people around us. It is tempered through relentless perseverance in the midst of adversity, and matures from a lifelong commitment to skill enhancement.

I spent much of the end of 2012 in planning sessions for the new year with friends and clients. We laid out our plans for 2013 in detail and calendared task items for the first quarter that will bring those goals to fruition. Each of us promised to check in monthly to ensure that we are meeting our goals.

Some of my friends and clients declined to participate in the 2013 planning process. They were too busy celebrating the holiday season. Now, far be it from me to put a damper on holiday cheer. However, I’m willing to bet that those that participated enthusiastically in the process are probably going to see the greatest measure of success in the coming year. These leaderpreneurs will start the year with juice and direction, and won’t waste time spinning, trying to figure out what they want and how to get it.

Unfortunately, those folks that postponed our time together are probably less likely to return to the task, or to see the importance of planning and calendaring. They will likely reach next summer not having attained their goals, and still complaining that “the system” is rigged against them, and prevents their ultimate success. Leaderpreneurs understand that success doesn’t happen by chance. They embrace accountability.

Additionally, leaderpreneurs are relentless in the face of a challenge. I’ve often heard it said that we fail our way to success. If you’ve never failed at anything, then, let’s face it, you’ve never tried anything.

There is absolutely no shame in failing. The shame is in quitting when you have the capacity to win with a little hard work.

I took the California bar exam more than once. Most lawyers won’t tell you that. However, the fact is that the average candidate takes the California bar three times for the pass. This means that there are a lot of attorneys out there building successful careers for themselves after an initial failure (or even two).

What if any one of us had decided (as we lay flat on our back on the living room floor) that it hurt too much to get up and try again? Where would we be today? A leaderpreneur will rise again like a phoenix from the ashes.

Nothing keeps us down. Acknowledge temporary failure, gather the gifts and learnings from the experience, brush yourself off, and keep moving.

Finally, one of the greatest measures of your leaderpreneur capacity will be in your willingness to become a lifelong student. Most people stop learning after high school, and few of us read books, take classes or study subjects online well into our adult years. Some people may call me a seminar junkie because I attend at least 10 to 15 trainings yearly. However, I invariably share this information with my clients. Attending seminars keeps me fresh and able to provide unique and learned perspectives to my clients. They effectively took the class because I took the class.

This ability to be a resource is arguably the most important aspect of being a leaderpreneur. People will seek out your perspective and will defer to your judgments on certain matters because they know you are an expert. That’s truly priceless. And it’s the essence of leaderpreneurship.

Shaune B. Arnold, Esq., is a practicing attorney, business strategist and business coach. Contact her directly at