Can Entrepreneurship actually be taught?
I can’t believe we’re still debating this. Yeah, maybe there’s some attributes of an Entrepreneur that are innate, but in today’s world you can learn anything at anytime. Even learn how to become an Entrepreneur.
There are fundamental differences between what most people think distinguishes a “born” Entrepreneur from a “made” Entrepreneur, and a number of studies that show how entrepreneurs are surprisingly different from other people. Not just a willingness to take a risk, but also psychological characteristics including greater resilience and perseverance.
The “mechanics “ of entrepreneurship aside – the what, why, how, where and when of building your own idea, I challenge the fundamental, innate differences of risk, resilience and perseverance argued to be “born” with rather then “learned”.
Sure, did growing up in an entrepreneurial family help me develop and adopt some of the traits of my father, who took enormous risks and had his share of ups and downs throughout my childhood? It helped. But it didn’t “make” me an Entrepreneur. As a matter of fact, despite all of his success, he pounded the idea of me going to work for a large company for the next 20-30 years for stability. Maybe he didn’t want me to suffer the heartache that he had, repeatedly over decades. His occupation, as listed on my birth certificate: Businessman.
I like to place everything that makes up an entrepreneur, including the skills, habits and psychological characteristics in to two buckets – “mechanics” and “mindset.
Mechanics can be learned. These are the processes, frameworks, systems and skills needed to plan and execute.
Mindset can be learned too. For some, who aren’t used to operating outside their comfort zone, it takes practice, and inevitably it takes failing – which I always look at as opportunities to learn and get better. With all of the tools, resources and support surrounding you every day, shifting your mindset and getting more comfortable with taking risks, persevering and learning from your mistakes (which leads to resilience) is getting more attainable every day. You can learn and train your brain to do anything, just as you can learn a new system.
Start small and incrementally grow. I have a saying that I use with teams I coach in business – “Fail fast”. The faster you fail, the quicker you learn and adapt.
Books, podcasts, coaches – they’re everywhere. If you’re reading this now, getting ready to dress up and go help someone else fulfill their dream, listen to a motivational podcast on your drive in. Create a spark within you that leads to a fire. Being an entrepreneur can be learned. It’s a state of mind, not genetic.