Just last week I was told, yes told, that entrepreneurship cannot be taught and that entrepreneurs are born. A binary view.
We are all born with the fundamental elements we need to be a practising entrepreneur. When teaching or mentoring an entrepreneur to practice entrepreneurship, I see many differences in their pace and ability to deliver their promise to the customer or community. I am constantly surprised. I often expect this and they do that. This week has again revealed why we are all so different when stepping onto a stage, promising and trying to deliver on that promise. I always take some time to wonder, what if that person remembered how they did things when they were very young.
What if they remembered how they “delivered” when they were ten years old? If they were now say 25, they would have 15 years of practicing and strengthening their entrepreneurial skills. With this in mind, what could they now achieve, how many lives could be positively affected and the multiple dividends achieved in a sustainable manner, simply because the entrepreneur has so much more experience.
Why do we forget?
Forget what? As children, we are hard wired with natural, powerful and sophisticated entrepreneurial skills. Ever tried to negotiate with a 5 year old? Good luck. At that age our imagination is remarkable and we often marvel at the wonderfully simple ways a child solves problems and challenges. They communicate well, form teams naturally and through play, get things done.
We do not practice. We are not encouraged or always allowed to practice our entrepreneurship as children. We go to school and that’s the end of it.
There are signs that we are starting to remember.
It is interesting to see the rise and rise of co-working spaces, could they based on children playing in groups, play groups? Design thinking is the rage. Many think that design thinking is entrepreneurship; sorry to inform you it is not. When I see design thinking in action, I regret I’m not invested in the sticky notes businesses as we often complicate things by using a list (sorry canvas) to help us remember the simple things, that is, what and why someone will buy something.
Look at the remarkable complexity we are building; is this complexity something we need to build to hide behind to hide from the incessant change? A growing child faces constant change. They learn something and to them it full of the wonder of discovery and they love it. We adults change the terms so it is no longer called discovery. It used to be called change and then, to add to our stress, change is now called disruption. What will we call it next, turbulence?
Can we teach curiosity? No we don’t need to teach it, we simply need time and space to remember, practice and enjoy the process of discovery again. Can you imagine if we allowed ourselves to daydream, what would the charge code be? We would, in many environments, be considered not taking things seriously, wasting time, fooling around and the list goes on.
So how do we remember?
I am a narrator and work with individuals, leaders and boards to take them on the journey to remember, back themselves, and play with possibilities. To some this may seem as though we go through a process similar to regression, to me it is simply and powerfully, remembering. My narration is based on 40 years of practice, research, teaching, mentoring and facilitating.
I dare you to play with the possibilities, without tools, guides, sticky notes or frameworks. After all, that is how we all began to explore the world and play.