Is the entrepreneurial spirit innate or can you cultivate it?
This question often appears central to economic development since entrepreneurs, in fact, create most new jobs, invest and create the newest technologies and build successful entrepreneurial ventures.
In cultivating my thoughts for this week’s column, I came across an interesting piece of trivia.
Joseph Schumpeter, a noted German economist, is considered by many the father of the theory of entrepreneurship theory;
He coined the phrase “Unternehmergeist,“ which translated into English means the entrepreneurial spirit.
Perhaps not surprisingly, the term itself didn’t stick but the idea behind it sure has.
The term entrepreneurship doesn’t apply strictly to our careers and the way we go about making money; it applies, I espouse, to every part of our life.
Strictly speaking, entrepreneurship still refers to starting and operating one’s own entrepreneurial venture—an endeavour that requires independence, creativity, innovation, individuality and risk.
But the same skills that enhance your life as an entrepreneur can also enhance your own personal life.
An entrepreneur is a person who doesn’t wish to be locked into a job.
A possessor of varied skills, an entrepreneur generally is not a 9 to 5 person who collects a paycheque every week or two.
Entrepreneurs all over the world have a true and innate pioneering spirit. They make their dreams happen.
It is said that successful entrepreneurs have their heads in the clouds and their feet on the ground.
Consider the analogy of someone sitting in a kayak with the waves breaking over your head. The force of the water is much greater than the force of you trying to paddle against it.
But if you make the right moves by focusing your concentration and being diligent and careful, you can get to where you want to go in that kayak.
As a serial entrepreneur myself, I’ve learned that you must paddle as fast as the current itself.
If you don’t, the current will push you sideways and take you off course.
Then, you become vulnerable to the waves that will flip you over.
Successful entrepreneurs feel that a life without risk is a life without living—you will never achieve any success or happiness in life without taking risks.
Another key to the successful entrepreneurial spirit is doing something with your life professionally that you love.
The people who are successful in business and industry are truly doing something they love to do, but you also need to be flexible when harnessing your entrepreneurial spirit.
I often subscribe to this credo: What you may perceive to be an entrepreneurial opportunity, may not be an entrepreneurial opportunity for you, but may, in truth be for others.
Changing careers is difficult. You wonder if you’re throwing something away for which you studied long and hard.
It’s not smart to change merely if you don’t have a good reason.
Consider the change only if you can clearly see that it will improve your life and the lives of those you love.
To run a successful venture, you will want to increase the number of clients. The same idea works in our lives, the number of successful friendships you forge the more successful your life can become.
The parallels are endless between an entrepreneurial venture and one’s personal life journey.
Unleashing your entrepreneurial spirit means recognizing that you can’t separate those two parallels—work and life.
Being an entrepreneur is indeed a way of life.
Look around you. Would the success of identifiable corporations or social organizations have come to be without the evolution of an entrepreneurial credo to guide them? I think not.
So, budding entrepreneurs go for the gold. Ignite and preserve the power of the entrepreneurial spirit, but try to put in place what your company, your organization or your dream will need to grow.
You can really have your cake and eat it too, but it takes some courage and faith.
In closing my column this week, let me invite you to explore seven characteristics that will aid you to foster your entrepreneurial spirit:
• Fervent faith that you can change things for the better. An unshakable belief that you can devise better, quicker, cheaper ways of presenting products or services needed in the marketplace
• Always having a solution in sight for any complexities and ability to overcome challenges effortlessly
• Optimistic about the prospects of your venture and each venture you become associated with in your entrepreneurial life
• Independent mindset
• High energy levels along with unwavering mental stamina and internal motivation
• Willingness to live for and invest in the future
• Willingness to experiment and a joyous penchant for innovative and creative thinking.