For most of us the word entrepreneur throws up images of Steve Jobs, Donald Trump or Richard Branson, with the words “risk-taker,” “leader”, “dynamic,” and “passionate” appearing as the captions. And then there’s the indisputable understanding of the word – a person who starts his or her own business. Who stays clear of the hell that is a 9-5 job.
Problem is you haven’t started, nor are you planning to start a business. You don’t see yourself as a risk-taker or one with a dynamic personality that takes over the room. And truth be told – you actually prefer the security of a 9-5 job.
So obviously you aren’t and can’t be an entrepreneur, right?
What if I told you that you don’t need to start your own business to be an entrepreneur? In fact, you don’t even need to be a business person!
Yes you heard right. You can be entrepreneurial in whatever you do: whether you coach the Junior High soccer team, work in church, take care of the kids, or spend 40 hours a week in a cubicle. I like how this Forbes article defines entrepreneurship as a mindset, not a business model.
Being entrepreneurial is a way of thinking that results in doing things differently in order to achieve a desired outcome. No matter the context, each day we are faced with situations that may call for an innovative action or choice on our part. The difference lies between those who choose to act and those who don’t.
As entrepreneur and teacher Jon Burgstone puts it in his book, Breakthrough Entrepreneurship, “Every time you want to make any important decision, there are two possible courses of action. You can look at the array of choices that present themselves, pick the best available option and try to make it fit. Or, you can do what the true entrepreneur does: Figure out the best conceivable option and then make it available.”
Here’s the crazy thing. When you are presented with an opportunity to change your current course by adapting or embracing a way that differs from the norm, you’re doing exactly what entrepreneurs do. You’re innovating.
Not only do you need to be an entrepreneur but you’re actually one already!
Having an entrepreneurial mindset is essential to survive in today’s world whether you are a business owner or an employee. When living and working with the poor in India I noticed how entrepreneurial thinking was necessary to simply survive and although never taught, it came instinctively. Harvard Business School professor, Howard Stevenson, defines entrepreneurship as “the pursuit of opportunity without regard to resources currently controlled.”
The workplace landscape is changing and if you don’t recognize those changes and adapt then you will be left behind. If you don’t take the right steps towards developing those entrepreneurial instincts today then you might ultimately be forced to when a crisis, such as losing your job or house, hits.
So then what’s stopping you?
The destitute don’t have a choice – it’s either do or die. However for the majority of us it’s our perceived comfort and fear that inhibit this natural instinct from flourishing. In this insightful article, Thomas Koulopoulos talks about how the fear of failure is the biggest obstacle to your success and stresses the need to unlearn this fear.
Fear of failure is a different sort of fear. It is not a fear that helps you navigate the unknown, it is a fear that prevents you from taking the journey into the unknown to begin with – Thomas Koulopoulos.
The biggest difference between entrepreneurs and you is they haven’t let fear dissuade them from listening and responding to their natural instinct.
And how does one overcome this fear? There a number of ways, but what’s worked for me is bulldozing limiting beliefs and cutting through the noise of stereotypes and natural biases that frame the way I look at myself. I also choose to go where the perceived fear is, and break through to the other side.
Mindsets are powerful. They colour your view of the world and frame the way you respond to opportunities and challenges. Whenever you innovate, no matter how small the innovation, you are embracing your natural instinct to make something better. Let the inner entrepreneur rise to the occasion a little more often, and you might just find yourself making better decisions, doing life better. At home, at work, everyday.
This Week’s Takeaway
What is holding you back from letting the inner entrepreneur step up and what can you do about it today?