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Success Comes from Knowing Yourself

Are you a hunter or farmer?


A colleague asked me: Are you a hunter or a farmer? This is a question that sages since antiquity have pondered and answered with the advice to "Know thyself." It's not surprising that passionate pursuers — those who find and go after their passionate purpose — know themselves. But how can you become familiar with and understand yourself better?

Understanding has two critical elements:

  • VALUES – These are the core beliefs, ideology, ethics, morals, attitude, and ideals that define who you are and what is meaningful to you.
  • GIFTS – These are the talents, experience, abilities, aptitude, and education that mold how you can uniquely contribute.

You personal characteristics allow you to effectively use your values and gifts. People in my research study shared the nine SUNFLOWER traits found in effective passionate pursuers:

  • Self confidence and esteem
  • cUriosity
  • Never quit
  • Fervor
  • Live the 2-4-6 formula
  • Optimism
  • Wholeness
  • Energy
  • Regeneration

To learn more about these traits, see p. 51 in Pursuit of Passionate Purpose or read my newsletters on this subject.


When I was asked this question I paused. While often used to describe sales people, this question has broader implications for all members of a business team.

SalesLoft gives these definitions:

HUNTER: Typically thought of as the doers, hunters aim to close as many deals as fast as possible. They often focus on deal quantity and love to explore new areas.

FARMER: Farmers focus on developing long-term customer relationships and working with others. Sales people with this attitude are happy working with a few customers to create a lasting impact.

I'm a hunter. I love picking up the phone to call someone or meeting a person at a conference and having a conversation to determine their needs. Can our solution help solve your challenges? Yet, I'm also a farmer. I am committed for the long-term to improving business communications with 'voice with visuals.' So I'm really a hybrid who follows the 'Never Quit' trait for both hunting and farming. What about you?

Know thyself. Do a personal inventory. What traits do you possess? How are you nurturing them? Are you a hunter, farmer or hybrid? Regardless of the answer, to thine own self be true.

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Theresa M. Szczurek

Theresa M. Szczurek, Ph.D., co-founder and CEO of Radish Systems, is a serial technology entrepreneur. The story of her last start-up, which sold for more than $40 million in less than six years, is included, along with her strategies for success, in the Amazon-bestseller Pursuit of Passionate Purpose: Success Strategies for a Rewarding Personal and Business Life. www.RadishSystems.com, www.radishsprouts.typepad.com and @TheresaSzczurek on twitter.

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