Burt Reynolds passed away on September 6, 2018. Throughout his career, he was the epitome of vitality and vigor. Through his acting roles in movies like ‘Smokey and the Bandit’, Mr. Reynolds inspired millions of global viewers to pursue their dreams and never take no for an answer. As we honor his long career, today’s entrepreneur may learn a few essential life lessons from his wise words.

life lessons from burt reynolds

“The best way not to fail again is to be absolutely positive that when you do it this time, you’re going to do it right.”

Failure is traditionally part of the entrepreneurial journey. From launching your business without product/market fit to failing to understand the crucial role public relations and social media play in the success of a young company, if you’re going to be a successful entrepreneur, learning from your failures is part of the job description when you’re a business builder. Burt Reynolds’ quote teaches entrepreneurs that preparation is a key component to avoiding future failure. It also helps us understand how not to fail is just as important as thinking you know how to succeed.

“All you really have in the end are your stories.”

Burt Reynolds hit the proverbial nail on the head regarding storytelling. The sooner entrepreneurs realize how critical storytelling is to their success rate, the sooner they’ll realize the importance of content marketing and social media outreach. Whether you’re building a startup company or a small business, being able to tell your company’s stories is essential for customer acquisition and audience engagement. Superior storytelling skills can even help you land investor funding sooner, since investors are often impressed by entrepreneurs who understand the importance of effective storytelling.

“You get to a certain age, where you know you can’t go over the wall, but I’ll never get to the age where I can’t go through it.”

Giving up isn’t an option when you’re an entrepreneur. If you give up on your dreams, you’ll likely be haunted by the ‘what ifs’ and ‘that was my idea’ when someone else builds the company you wanted to launch. Burt Reynolds understood that resourcefulness and determination are key for success, lessons today’s entrepreneurs would be wise to pay attention to.

“I can tell a young person where the mines are, but he’s probably going to step on them anyway.”

Mentors and investors can tell you about entrepreneurial mistakes you should avoid, but there’s a good chance you’ll inevitably make a few mistakes anyways. Becoming a successful entrepreneur often comes with learning from your own mistakes, even though you probably should have known better and heeded the advice of your mentors. Burt Reynolds’ quote regarding stepping on landmines is especially relevant for entrepreneurs who fail to understand the importance of watching what they say online, how they treat employees, and their behavior in a public setting.

“Money doesn’t buy happiness. It buys great hookers – but not happiness.”

 As a successful entrepreneur, hopefully, you’re not spending all your profits on frivolous pursuits, but reinvesting in your company. Burt’s advice regarding money not buying happiness should resonate with entrepreneurs raising funding rounds or growing their companies to a profitable status. Money is just a tool and a means to an end. If you build your entrepreneurial career with the pursuit of money being your main goal, there’s a good chance you’ll find your entrepreneurial journey less than fulfilling.

While Burt Reynolds may no longer be a living example of how to build a successful career as an entrepreneur, his words of wisdom live on.

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