A while ago I came across this great definition of what makes an entrepreneur:
entrepreneur = heart + mind – fear
Entrepreneurship starts with psyching yourself up instead of psyching yourself out. It is a state of mind determined by the fact that you overcome your fears, ignore or break through the barriers you set yourself and passionately believe and pursue your ideas.
I had the pleasure last week of joining a mentoring session at The Startup Kitchen and meeting a number of young entrepreneurs. 20-something-year-olds that are all pursuing their dream idea and launching their own business. The originality of some of the ideas as well as the conviction and self-believe was truly inspiring to witness. They in turn looked up to the experienced CEOs that were mentoring them, because of the track record and the nuggets of insight these seasoned business leaders offered.
It is absolutely a fact that for most of us, the older and more experienced we get, the bigger the mental barriers become holding us back to shake things up and truly change direction. Whilst we should take comfort in our ability and experience, we tend to get paralysed by the risks we see of all the things that can go wrong ‘cos we have seen it before’.
I must admit, I was shaking my head in disbelief with some of the ideas I heard last week and the naivety with which some approached their business ventures. Some really didn’t have a clue of what they were embarking upon!
But you know what, good on them for trying and persevering! They turned up to that session because they wanted help, so they know they are not the finished article. They do not shy away from sharing their thoughts, concerns and problems and embrace all the help they can get in overcoming their specific hurdles.
That mentality is really something the corporate world could and should (!) learn from. All too often entrepreneurial ideas are muffled because they are not perfect and not immediately underpinned by a compelling business case. They get stonewalled by obstacles such as lack of resource, mis-aligned score cards and the internal politics. It is frightening how quick and inventive corporate people can be in listing all the reasons why not to do something, instead of using that force of energy to devise ways to mitigate the risks and remove the barriers.
Personally, I admire the bravery of these youngsters and I left that session determined to quieting down my own internal voice of doubt when it rears its ugly head eager to plants seeds of doubt. (see previous blog Pathway to the future – fear of the unknown)
Since then, I am very proud to have been asked to support this amazing charity as a mentor and am really looking forward to working with young inspiring entrepreneurs and seeing their bold ideas turn in to successful businesses.
If anything in this blog triggers a reaction, please leave a comment and join in the debate.