Our brains are not always connected to our mouths. We say stuff that sounds good that gets embedded in our hard drives and flows out our pieholes without any awareness of the meaning of these words. I meet lots of people who tell me their dreams, goals and ideas. I listen to the words they use. Robotically spoken words that have become de rigueur to sound smart and modern. Apparently if you are human with a pulse you now have certain traits because everyone now utters these attributes as their own. Here are the top 2 that have become commodities and to me suspicious:
These words once meant something important and special. No longer.
What people really like is being in environments described by these words. Everyone loves to work in "entrepreneurial", "innovative" or "creative" organizations. But that does NOT make you these things. This is the confusion.
Breathing the air in Africa never makes you African. Being around talent does not make you talented. Being the son of an artist has never made me artistic. 🙂
First of all you have to prove with evidence that you are any words you use. Like Robin Williams, you would have at least 5 stories queued up ready to "ad lib" your proof that you are what you say you are. I know this sounds basic, but most people don't have any proof ready so there is nothing behind the curtain. In my experience these people are not evil purveyors of deceit, but they usually have not filtered what is directly flowing out of their craniums. So they do deceive themselves. These words and many others are part of their memorized routines, reflexive habits that occur well outside of their consciousness.
When you use these words and all of you do, please be prepared to defend them with other words and examples you have thought about.
Let me just focus on Entrepreneurial. This one bugs me more than the rest. This is a sacred word to me. I know and have worked with true entrepreneurs. Entrepreneurs are friends of mine. And you are no entrepreneur! (you know who you are)
Success is going from one failure to the next with enthusiasm. Winston Churchill
Are You Entrepreneurial? This means you like taking chances; you take risks; you embrace failure and love to iterate. You are driven by passion and the problem you desire to solve. Most entreprenuers have been fired multiple times. They quit cozy jobs with dental benefits to pursue a passion or an audacious concept with no benefits. Entreprenuers have glorious stories of failure. They have some stories of success. They always have side projects they are building in their proverbial garages. You are not entrepreneurial sometimes. You can't just turn on your entrepreneurial talent. It is in your DNA and it manifests itself everywhere you are.
So if this is not you and you have no proof, stop saying you are entrepreneurial!
Big difference between claiming to be entrepreneurial and wanting to become an entrepreneur! It's great to aspire to be an entrepreneur. Seek them out as mentors, engage in entrepreneurial ventures, and explore your entreprenerial side. Try it on for size. The bug will bite you or not. You will know when it happens. Then this term will be true for you. Only then will you understand why true entrepreneurs recoil at hearing imposters cheapen this way of living and working by recklessly and irresponsibly adding "entrepreneurial" to their list of words in their resumes.
Let's also help others stop using these words when they are not true. Evaluate the words you use and be prepared to back them up with deeds.
Thanks for reading. John
6 thoughts on “Are you Entrepreneurial? I Doubt It.”
This is great! I would never say I am entrepreneurial, but after reading this I realize I have been working at a start-up for the last two years without any compensation, funding my lifestyle on student loans while spending over 50 hours a week conducting market research, writing business analyses and plans, meeting with our one developer, our one UI/UX designer, our one Marketing guy and our one Executive, still hopeful, still puzzled, still broke and LOVING IT!!! But still, I would never say I am entrepreneurial because I have never done anything like this in my life. Whether or not our venture fails. . . having the real experience of taking a dive off a cliff is Entrepreneurial? No, Insane? Most Definitely!!! And would I do it again? We’ll see. . .
Your honesty is refreshing. You are at least in it. You Rae putting your work where your mouth is. You have my permission to use the e-word! Onward. John
How do you seek out entrepreneurs as mentors?
Leonard, good question. Entrepreneurs come in many shapes and sizes. Some us it as titles as an aspiration. It is more of a mindset, a way of thinking. People that gravitate to solutions “outside of the box” AND develop solutions through iterative processes. People who like inventing things, not just thinking but doing. An entrepreneur by nature is dissatisfied with the status quo. But you may know all of this 🙂 There are places where “entrepreneurs hang out, conferences, associations. Linked-in. But again many types of entrepreneur so you may want to think about the industry, or a company, or a geography that means the most to you. Then you reach out, get referred, and seek advice. Hope this helps. Thanks for reading.
Working and reaching for a dream that always seems to be just out of reach. Having ten sticks in the fire at all times hoping that one will catch. Selling myself always and reaching out and welcoming any and all offers to help.
Even without the brains, persistence and giving my all moves the rock forward. My dream isn’t just going to happen, I’ve got to make it happen and I’m all in for the fight.
Douglas Impressed with your life philosophy. Your commitment combined with the openness to seek help will get you to the promised land. Just heard a big VC say that 97% of his profits have come from companies that pivoted. Your dream will take you on a journey, let it lead you. All the best. John