It has been argued that to succeed in the 21st century, everyone will have to become an entrepreneur. To an extent, this is true. Everywhere we turn, jobs, and even entire industries, are collapsing as their existence becomes irrelevant in the technically advanced globalized world. The world we grew up in is very different from the one that we are growing into, and thus, we all must adapt.
But adapting doesn’t have to mean throwing everything you have away in pursuit of the elusive high-profile entrepreneurial life. At its core, entrepreneurship is all about creating value— whether this is economic, social or environmental, and whether this happens within an existing organization or through a brand new one, is arguably less important than whether you have an idea that is innovative and works. But remember – to work, something doesn’t always have to be new and innovative. And the opposite is true as well. Just because something is new and innovative, doesn’t necessarily mean that it will work.
For this reason, we believe that it is just as important to have an entrepreneurial mindset, meaning the traits and characteristics that make someone entrepreneurial, than it is to be an entrepreneur who creates new things. People with entrepreneurial mindsets are creating change everyday within organizations and outside of them. For this reason, we decided to post a list of the key traits that we believe make up the entrepreneurial mind:
1. Passion. Entrepreneurial individuals know themselves and their ideas. Whether it is a simple hunch or something you’ve spent 20 years researching– you know what it is you want to achieve, why you are passionate about it, and how it will make things better. Most entrepreneurs are self-aware individuals who are working hard to bring about the kind of change that THEY believe in.
2. Creativity. Leigh University’s Jeffrey Ochs wrote that, “Innovation fueled by creativity is this generation’s most important economic development engine.” Beyond simply being an engine that develops new ideas, creativity is also essential for spotting opportunity. Again, this may be something completely new or simply a way of combining things that have previously been thought of as separate or just a way of reaching between and across disciplines for the greatest opportunity. Creativity means the open mindedness to think outside the box and construct opportunity.
3. Eagerness to Learn. Whether from your peers or your bosses, from experience or from the library—entrepreneurial individuals are hungry to know and understand what to do and how to do it. You must believe in your idea and take ownership over the conditions under which you are developing it. Because of this, part of your work is challenging constraints and assumptions and being open and willing to learn through the process. No one knows everything, but everyone can take the initiative to try and figure things out.
4. Willingness to Try. Entrepreneurs often learn best by doing and because of this, they need to be willing to try things out, recognize failure early and adapt. It is important to have the courage to put yourself and your idea out into the world, but it is just as important that you are able to acknowledge and learn from mistakes when they happen.
5. Boldness. It’s cliché but important to remember that YOU determine the boundaries of possibility. Entrepreneurs often see the change they want to create before anyone else thinks it is possible. For that reason they must have courage and faith to stand up for what they believe and do what is necessary, often just taking little steps, to bring their ideas to life.