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Highlights from OEN’s 2015 Summit: What’s Your Wilson?

All entrepreneurs have a “Wilson” – something they cling to that helps them navigate the turbulent waters of entrepreneurship. On June 5, 12 successful Oregon entrepreneurs shared their stories of triumph and despair, including the one thing they have held onto through hard times.

Though each entrepreneur brought his or her own unique journey and experience, three common themes emerged throughout the course of the day:

    1. People. Whether it’s your team, your family, your mentors, or your friends, the people in your life will help you to both grow and stay grounded. As Jason Bolt, founder of Society43 and Revant Optics, pointed out, “It’s not a sign of weakness to realize that you need to rely on a group of people – it’s a sign of leadership.”

    2. Passion. At their heart, all successful entrepreneurial ventures are labors of love. If the going gets tough and you don’t have your passion to fall back on, you’re not going to make it. Of course, many speakers reminded us that while passion is key, it alone is not enough to succeed. As Danny Clancy, founder of Homeschool Outerwear, put it: “Follow your heart, but take your brain with you.”

    3. Me time. Many entrepreneurs fall into a martyr mentality and forget to take care of themselves. Our speakers reminded us that you can’t chronically neglect your own needs without suffering the consequences. Whether it’s carving out an hour for yourself each day, practicing mindfulness meditation, or recognizing and finding a way to cut out the things in life that make you miserable, it’s important to “connect with yourself to refuel, reconnect, and re-energize your vision,” says Sarah Pool, founder of Pacific Superfood Snacks.

See photos, quotes and other highlights from each speaker:

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