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I hear a lot of entrepreneurs say they’ve thrown out their televisions in exchange for self-improvement books, meditation, and more hours chipping away at their dreams. If it isn’t Shark Tank, it’s doing nothing to grow the business and put money in the bank.

Well, I’m an entrepreneur that loves to spend hours watching reality competition shows. After a long day of work, nothing is more satisfying than sitting on my couch with a bowl of cereal and watching other people battle for their dreams. Far from being a sadist, not only is competition fun to watch, it also helps me becomes a better entrepreneur.

TV and entrepreneurship can go together

This is not to say I can attribute all of my success to watching The Bachelorette. But, I’m not quick to discount the lessons I’ve learned from this show, and other shows like it, either. Here are three very important things that reality competition shows have taught me about being a successful entrepreneur.

Sometimes it’s difficult to feel fulfilled as a leader when you are currently working as a manager.

Sure, your bosses want you to be a leader (or so they tell you in your annual performance reviews), but real leadership involves having the freedom to envision the future and having the authority to make tough decisions that hopefully end up with results like “driving growth”, “reducing costs”, “streamlining operations”, or any other corporate buzz-phrase that sounds like you just stepped out of a powerful board meeting.  But let’s face it, when you are a manager, your sole responsibility is to “manage” the day-to-day tasks as required by your boss.

You can be a leader when you're not a leader

Image by James Beene

So what’s a mid-level manager to do with all of their passion to lead and no real outlet to lead in?

One of the best ways to engage your team and ensure that they are really working towards the success of your business is to craft a vision that your team can believe in and can buy into. As leaders, we need to focus on what we are trying to accomplish and how our teams can get involved. This rings painstakingly true on an everyday basis.

It is our responsibility as leaders to craft a vision that is clear, consistent, inspirational, and aligned with our core values. With clarity, team members not only feel comforted in investing themselves fully but that compelling vision also helps disengaged workers find their connection point within the team and engage.

Vision is important

For over 200 years, the United States Constitution has been the litmus test of liberty in our country. It has helped “We the People” remain free in a world that can quickly devolve into tyranny. Our forefathers, the writers of this document, tried to put as many protocols in place to balance the leadership of the United States. They saw the dangers of giving one person, or even one body, all the power, so they in turn created three separate but equal branches of government – the legislative, executive, and judicial branches.

Do You Know How Great Organizations Lead from the Past, Present, and Future.

Just like our very own country, most organizations need a balance of power. This isn’t just true in the structure of an organization, but also with the strengths of each individual leader in it. Try working for an organization where no leader is gifted in administration skills, and you will quickly see why balance is needed for success.

In order to lead, one must first look within.

Good leaders can be defined by their emotional intelligence, which according to Psychology Today, requires an individual to manage both their own emotions and the emotions of his or her team. It might sound easy, but it’s not.

A December 2014 report in Forbes magazine explains that emotional intelligence is the act of understanding and responding to one’s own emotions and dealing with and overcoming stress, while knowing that their words and actions at a critical moment will directly impact the overall composure of the team.

Essentially, there are four key components of emotional intelligence: Self-assessment, self-management, empathy and/or social awareness and relationship management.

Self-awareness might seem like an intangible quality, but it’s actually a cornerstone of success, according to Mark Connelly, a counseling psychologist and certified life coach based in Cape Town, South Africa.