As many top entrepreneurs and executives will tell you, finding a role model who exemplifies personal integrity and innovative thinking can be a great way to forge a new path towards success in business. Here are five inspiring business leaders who exemplify success, and why learning from their example can give you the confidence you need to take your career to the next level.
1. Bill Gates
To many entrepreneurs, Bill Gates exemplifies what it means to be a business leader in 2019. As the head of Microsoft, Gates transformed the computer industry into what it is today, but what he did with his enormous success at Microsoft truly sets him apart as a leader.
With the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Gates used his personal wealth to tackle some of the world's most pressing problems. Through his help, scientists have made major strides in reducing the spread of diseases such as polio and malaria in Africa. In doing so, they have saved millions of lives and truly made the world a better place.
2. Steve Jobs
In many ways, Steve Jobs was Bill Gates's biggest rival, but the two were not so different in their aim to improve the lives of millions of people. While Gates has used his charity to make huge impacts in healthcare and education, Jobs tried to help make society a better place to live through his products. Indeed, Apple computers have changed the way that most of us go about our lives.
So what can we learn from Steve Jobs's example? In a sense, Jobs's greatest lesson to entrepreneurs is to approach our work with a sense of passion and even perfectionism. Jobs was not content to make Apple products merely "good"; he was famous for endlessly revising product launches to make his computer products perfect. In the end, Jobs taught us that we must tap into our creative side to truly succeed in our chosen field.
3. Fayez Sarofim
As one of the world's leading investors and philanthropists, Fayez Sarofim exemplifies the good that successful business leaders can do. Sarofim was born into one of Egypt's most aristocratic families, but his privileged upbringing did not keep him from forging his own unique path in life.
After moving to the US as a young man and completing an MBA at Harvard, Sarofim slowly but surely cultivated a reputation as a sterling business leader and investor. After founding his own highly successful investment firm, Sarofim put his efforts into philanthropy. He has donated hundreds of millions of dollars to hospitals and cultural institutions throughout the world, and to this day, a common piece of wisdom in elite investment circles is that anything that has “Sarofim” in it will succeed.
4. Warren Buffett
It almost goes without saying that business leaders should look to Warren Buffett's remarkable character as an example of how to remain grounded in the high-stakes world of business. Despite being one of the wealthiest people in the world, Buffett has retained a sense of personal humility that is both inspiring and remarkable.
In fact, Buffett still lives in a modest, middle-class house in Omaha, Nebraska that he purchased in the 1950s for around $30,000; he also chooses to eat at McDonalds rather than Michelin Star restaurants. Indeed, Buffett is a billionaire many times over, but he has managed to keep his attention on the important things in life; his record-breaking charitable donations to good causes are legendary in the business world and beyond.
5. Elon Musk
While Elon Musk has faced his fair share of controversy over the last few years, the entrepreneur's approach to his work should serve as a prime example of how a passion for innovation can lead to massive success in business. Not content to help found PayPal, Musk pursued his own path in the business world and launched several world-changing businesses like Tesla and SpaceX.
Elon Musk's interest in scientific technology has served him well as an entrepreneur; Musk dreams big, and his daring, futuristic concepts for electric cars and commercial space flights are fast becoming a reality. By combining an intimidating work ethic with his passion for innovation, Musk serves as a reminder that business doesn't have to be boring.
For these reasons, finding great role models in business can truly help entrepreneurs set a path forward to success. Whether you're learning from great minds like Steve Jobs and Warren Buffett or taking cues on philanthropy from Bill Gates and Fayez Sarofim, finding a good role model can really make a difference in your career trajectory. Truly, that is entrepreneurship at its best!