Sunday, October 24th, 2021

Which Way Does Your “Entelechy” Grow?

By Karen Dodd on Jul 03 2012 • Filed under Business,Uncategorized

Which way does your Entelechy grow? (Photo: Cathy Watters)As a writer, I love words. So, you can imagine my delight when I came across a word that I discovered serendipitously (love that one too) about six years ago. Pronounced en-tel-e-ke, it is the word that Dylan Thomas used to describe, "The force that through the green drives the flower."

"What the heck does that mean?" you might ask. "And what does it have to do with me?"

Well for starters, if it is the entelechy of a seed that becomes a tree, then to my mind the process it takes to grow into that tree is like you setting down your roots, spreading your branches, and then flourishing in your chosen field like a mighty oak.

In a world that too often produces "overnight successes" or people and businesses that are here today and gone tomorrow, I think Dylan's definition is such a cool analogy for what we should strive for when we attempt to characterize authenticity.

Entelechy Is Not Always Straight Up

If you talk to just about any successful writer, artist or business person they will tell you that they didn't just plant their roots and go straight up to stardom. In all likelihood, they had a few false starts where they wondered if their seed had died or felt like their branches were thrusting upward, downward, and cross-wise. Because they persevered on their tangled and twisted road, when they finally blossomed into who they are today, they were perceived as going from zero to hero virtually overnight.

Sound familiar? The reality is that in this world of instant gratification there are people who have gone from completely unknown to over the top celebrity but they are rare and usually have huge PR machines beneath their wings. But what about the rest of us; how long will it take for us to make it big?

Entelechy of Being YOU: The Best Indicator of Authenticity

"But what if my target audience doesn't like me the way I am?" you ask.

Then they're not your target audience. Plain and simple. Sounds harsh, doesn't it? But how on earth are you to be authentic if you feel that you have to re-package yourself to be something you aren't? It's about as impossible as me becoming a gorgeous 5 foot 10 inch model with long, lithe legs and no hips. It's just not going to happen!

But I can be the best of me, the way I am naturally and then learn to be more effective in reaching the people to whom I direct my message. And so can you.

Do you think Oprah was ever bad before she was good? Is it possible that Sir Richard Branson had many business failures before he had huge successes (read his books, Business Stripped Bare and Losing My Virginity) Do you think best-selling authors never wrote a really shitty first, second or ninth draft? (I'm writing mine right now).

My point is that the people we admire for being so authentic in their professions are the same people whose entelechy went anywhere but straight.

Your Mission Should You Choose to Accept It:

1. List three people (living or dead) whom you admire and then do a little research: read their biographies or autobiographies or Google them.

2. If they are still successful (or were when they died) take note of how long they said it took to achieve success.

  • What challenges or flat-out failures did they have?
  • How did they overcome those challenges?
  • What did they learn from their mistakes?

3. What makes them authentic in your eyes?

4. Finally, which of these adjectives do you think can make a huge difference in ones success: Prolific and Productive? Be sure to read my next article to discover the answer…you might be surprised!

1 Comment


  1. Key to Success: Prolific vs. Productive? – | Entrepreneurial Woman Magazine

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