Great leaders often have great lessons to share. Their stories remind us — in business especially — that failure is not avoidable and that success in any endeavor is a choice.

While we cannot control all our environments, what we can control is our response. And that’s what makes a leader great: his or her decision to take responsibility in the midst of chaos.

The following quotes are from four of the most influential people from the past and present.

1. Be confident in who you are.

“If money is your hope for independence you will never have it. The only real security that a man will have in this world is a reserve of knowledge, experience and ability.”  — Henry Ford, founder of the Ford Motor Company

2. Think independently.

“If you want to succeed you should strike out on new paths, rather than travel worn paths of accepted success.”  John D. Rockefeller, founder of Standard Oil Company

3. Know when to move on.

“Part of being a winner is knowing when enough is enough. Sometimes you have to give up the fight and walk away, and move on to something that’s more productive.”
Donald Trump, entrepreneur, television personality and author.

4. Pursue excellence, not fame.

“Having success for a year or two, that’s called being hot. Being in demand. Excellence is being able to perform at a high level for a long period of time.”
Jay Z, music artist and entrepreneur

I know a number of people who have experienced overnight success with a product or startup, but allowed their success to fool them into thinking they were special. They neglected the critical business feedback they received from their partners and clients.

Once an entrepreneur stops growing, learning and being open to feedback, it can spell the end of his or her business.

So make it a point to pursue excellence, not fame. Excellence is who you are. Fame is who you once were.

as published on http://www.entrepreneur.com
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