When you think about what a successful entrepreneur looks like, chances are that a child isn’t the first thing that comes to mind. When you consider the various traits and characteristics that play roles into their success, those of a child may not be at the top of your list. However, a childlike mentality, in many cases, can prove to be the difference between years worth of struggles and the feeling of finally realizing your dreams. Though few successful entrepreneurs act childish, many do possess a set of childlike traits that lend well into the way they view and approach life and business. (Note: After all, even Jesus stated: "Suffer little children to come unto me... for theirs is the Kingdome of Heaven.")
Perhaps you wonder about or doubt if you have what it takes to successfully start and run your own business. It’s not uncommon to critically compare one’s self to others and develop a sense of discouragement or resentment when you feel you lack some of the skills and qualities that you see in someone else. But the fact of the matter is that successful entrepreneurs have simply allowed themselves to hold on to and further develop a number of simple traits that are innate in all of us. These include things like: optimism, creativity, curiosity, excitement, persistence, and a short memory.
Throughout life, we lose sight of these traits because they are most evident and generally reach their peak while we’re still very young. As we grow older and mature, we go through life and allow ourselves to be bogged down with the stress and responsibility that come with adulthood. We become less passionate about the things that used to make us happy and grow more cynical about those around us. Though we may gain experience and wisdom along the way, we also have the tendency to lose some of the key characteristics that played the biggest role in our happiness as a child.
Luckily, as we work to identify these childlike traits and characteristics, we have the ability to rediscover and nurture them until they can become part of those that shape and define us as adults and entrepreneurs. This process can’t happen overnight, but will undoubtedly prove to be worthwhile. So, start today. Observe children in whatever capacity you can. Watch how they live, play, create and ask questions. Then, work to apply what you discover into your own life. To help you get the ball rolling, here are a few standouts for which we recommend keeping an eye out. (Note: Do not despise small beginnings. Remember that it isn't how to start this entrepreneurial journey = How it ends is what's crucial!!!)
Children are endlessly curious. If you’ve ever spent time with a child, you know they ask questions. A lot of them! Children are in awe of any new thing that comes their way and have no shame in doing what it takes to learn as much as possible. They listen and are always willing to dig a little deeper to discover more and more. On the flipside, sadly, curiosity is a trait that many adults lack. Curiosity ignites creativity and spurs a desire to learn. Allow yourself to be curious. Don’t be afraid to ask what, why not and what if. Develop a passion for learning about new things. Adopting a lifestyle that incorporates constant learning will position you to stay ahead of the competition and always be a driver of change and innovation. (Note: I have always trained my clients to believe that they don't know everything, and neither do I. But it is imperative that you surround yourself with others who know MORE than you. You can glean from them and develop other traits that have proven useful in other business modules and templates. Never lose your curiosity to the point that you just top trying and give up.)
In case you haven’t noticed, children tend to get excited very easily. To children, any new activity serves as an opportunity for fun and adventure, to explore and discover. Even small and simple things quickly produce a smile or laugh. Imagine what the world would be like if adults were the same way. What if that same childlike excitement was found within the workplace or in the pursuit of reaching your own goals? Chances are that productivity and efficiencies would skyrocket. Don’t allow yourself to live life by simply going through the motions. Re-ignite that passion you experienced as a child. (Note: Think about when you first started your relationship with your spouse. At the beginning you had the butterflies in your stomach at just the mention of his/her name. You did everything you could to nurture the relationship. Well, same thing applies. Never lose your zeal, enthusiasm and passion for your business/craft.) As you learn to truly enjoy life and the work you do, you’ll gain the determination needed to get through the ups and downs that you come across along your journey.
A Short Memory
After observing a child for only a short period, you’ll witness how easily they can go from sad and crying to happy and laughing. For children, this literally happens from one minute to the next. That’s because they don’t dwell on things for longer than just a moment. Unlike adults, children don’t over analyze and worry about meaningless events and details. Instead, they quickly forget about them and move on with a clean slate. As an entrepreneur, this childlike trait is critical. We need to let things go. We shouldn’t let past failures or mistakes fester in our minds for too long. Doing so will only lead to frustration, stress and self-doubt. But rather simply forget the past, we should find ways in which we can learn from it. (Note: Making mistakes is a part of life. It is also a part of entrepreneurship and business ownership. Learn from the mistake and then let it GO!!! This is extremely important if you ever want to move forward, continue building your brand and engaging clients. Remember, Mistakes are permissible. Wallowing in it IS NOTA!!!) Every failure or disappointment in life provides an opportunity for us to grow and become stronger.