Are you entrepreneurial in nature?
What makes someone entrepreneurial and someone else less so? We all have read about legendary entrepreneurs who have set up the scene of what entrepreneurs look like: often a school dropout, high risk-taker, who usually started a business by 12 years old. They spent most of their twenties broke, only to spike to millions suddenly overnight. Basically if you are not the Zorro type, with limited means and a dislike for status quo, you are not the entrepreneurial type.
Seriously, being entrepreneurial is a lot subtler than this. It is about a mix of personal qualities and mindset that can potentially exist in anybody. You could happily be sitting in a corporate job right now, and have those attributes within you albeit quite underused. You could also be more entrepreneurial in other areas of your life outside of work: in your community, or in your social life for example. Once you identify if you have those traits, it’s up to you to dial them up in the right environment.
So what is this entrepreneurial spirit we are talking about? It boils down to five key components:
- Personal drive: you are energised by progress, by getting more or by making life – yours or others’ – better. So you like chasing things. When you get somewhere, you quickly start thinking about the next thing. And by the way, you are never finished. It could be anything from planning a trip all the time, to taking on house renovations, to seeing a big project succeed.
- Being a smart reactor: when something isn’t on target, or isn’t working, an entrepreneurial mind reacts with agility to change or try new things. It’s a default setting, completely automated. You can call this strategic micro-manoeuvring. Or in basic terms, if you turned left and it’s wrong, you turn right without spending any time pondering why or what if. This isn’t just about spotting opportunities; this ability can be used daily and hourly in how you think.
- Resilience: this trait is commonly spoken about in entrepreneurial circles, but is often only spotted after someone launches a venture. Whilst it is often already there, dormant or out of practice. This is about being able to take the ups & downs without flickering. And the best ones at it already anticipate for things to fail and prepare for that. They are not attached to the outcome, until it’s the one they are after.
- Being keen to explore and learn: an entrepreneurial mind likes to follow the breadcrumbs wondering ‘why?’. Even if there is no goal in sight, or they have not been asked to do so. They have an appetite to find out more about life. They are usually avid learners, readers or teachers, whatever the topic. This is the basic foundation of the ‘growth mindset’ described by Carol Dweck.
- Putting freedom ahead of comfort: this is as much about lifestyle as it is about mindset. Everybody wants both, but an entrepreneurial person is not bothered by losing comfort as long as they have freedom. This relates to their inkling to explore, and to let their drive run freely. Box in someone like this, and no matter how much you pay them they will never be satisfied. At work, this translates into the freedom to choose your hours, your way of working or to change your mind.
What if that’s not really you? You might like to make the most of what you have right now. You like to put your heart and soul into projects, and tend to get deflated when things are not on track. That is totally OK; you just have a different nature. The entrepreneurial attributes are hard to cultivate when you start from a different base. It is possible, but will require a lot of efforts and energy to get there – whilst it comes naturally to other people. You just have other talents, and other ways to contribute.
So by now you see that being entrepreneurial in nature has very little to do with your upbringing or social status, and a lot to do with how you think. You might recognise yourself in any or all of the traits above. That is all it takes. From there you can grow and expand in the area that will resonate with you: developing innovations, helping people, improve the state of the world…you name it.
Personal Development Coach @ careercatchup.com
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