If you ask me, everyone has an entrepreneur inside of them. It depends on whether or not you decide to share it with the world. The characteristics of an entrepreneurial mindset include the willingness to take risks and fail, the ability to find creative solutions even when others see obstacles and the inner strength to never give up. There is an old Japanese saying, “Fall Down Seven Times, Stand Up Eight.”
So here are my top 5 ways to keep that internal flame alive:
1) Light The Fires of Curiosity: Do you remember what it was like when you had your first job right out of college? When everything was new and you were open to explore all possibilities? That is the same kind of freedom that an entrepreneur has. The marketplace is changing rapidly which means that new opportunities are being created all around us everyday. Change isn’t a bad thing to those that are curious. Curiosity has led me to opportunities and places that I never would have imagined for myself.
- • Find more pockets of productive discomfort. Chances are you will never be bored and you will have opportunities that you never thought you could have.
2) Push Your Boundaries: At some point we all experience a perceived wall at work. Breakdown the wall by having an entrepreneurial mindset. The founder of TerraCycle, Tom Szaky, surrounds himself with people who don’t ask for the permission to act. Szaky encourages his employees to think like an entrepreneur. Here is an example: While executives debated about ways to recycle cigarettes, TerraCycle scientist, Ernie Simpson invented a process himself that earned him a promotion and a raise. (ref: Men’s Health Magazine 3/14)
- • Push past the perceived wall and find a solution. Acknowledge and understand your fears before taking steps to address them. Don’t tackle them all at once, but do TACKLE them.
3) Think Like a Winner by Talking To Yourself: Call it a mantra or a cue. I am always talking myself through obstacles and I am getting better at it. Basically, you want to come up with a couple of words or a phrase that will help you to stay focused and motivated. Effectively blocking out the negative thoughts and distractions.
- • Coach yourself to move towards a reachable goal, then plan out what has to happen each day for you to achieve it
4) Change On The Fly: What’s the worst that could happen? We all experience highs and lows in our careers and life in general. Over the past 5 years in particular, I have learned that it is important to evolve, change, adapt and learn. Keep learning. When you consider the worst case scenario, you may just realize that the consequences of failure really aren’t that bad.
- • Really, what do you have to lose? The more you do, the more you CAN do.
5) Empower Others: Whether I am managing a group of people in a corporate environment or training someone at the gym, I believe that empowering others is like a chain reaction. I actually become more empowered myself when I see others taking ownership as well.
- • Learn from your successes and analyze your failures through personal accountability. Own it.
Finally, a word about doing something different. Some people will love you for it. Others will be threatened by what you do, because it challenges their assumptions and the choices they have made. What I have learned is that the discomfort of others is not mine to manage. Consider every option presented, but at the end of the day the decision is yours to make. Find small ways to celebrate victories and take stock in the new skills you are building.