My two and a half year-old grand-daughter had visited with us for several days and it has amazed me to watch her learn new words, new concepts and new ways of doing things in just a few days time. It dawned on me this morning that children can teach us to become more entrepreneurial because they have not yet been taught to hamper their creativity and their enthusiasm to always fit in… they take risks to learn.
So what can we learn from our young children?
Children are naturally creative. How many times have you watched a child take a simple empty box and create something amazing in their mind with it? The box turns into a fort… or a spaceship… or a boat. As adults, most of us see just the box… we do not naturally tap into our imagination and see what the potential is to think outside of the box. Successful entrepreneurs keep that childlike creativity… they can see something that many others do not.
Children do not take NO for an answer. My grand-daughter hears the word NO and she then tries to do what she set out to do at least one more time. She is not being naughty… she is not ignoring me… she is just wanting to try whatever she had wanted to do in the first place. If entrepreneurs were stopped by the first time they were told NO, we would never have any new ideas… inventions… or businesses.
Children learn through play. They explore the tiniest cracks in the sidewalks to watch the ants go about their daily business. They dig in the dirt to make roads for their toy trucks … and they run as fast as their little legs will take them, sometimes falling down and scraping their knees. Entrepreneurs are explorers and need to look under the rocks to see what is working and what is not working in their business (metrics are a great way to see the activity under the rocks). Being an Entrepreneur means that you will fall down at times and scrape your knees… success or failure will depend on how quickly you can pick yourself up and brush away your remaining tears and fears.
Children learn how to play with others. They are encouraged early on to learn to play in the sandbox with others. The entrepreneurs who learn early on how to play nicely in the sandbox with others, will have a better time getting their business off the ground. Most of us do not like to play (or work) around people who control the sandbox and we will ultimately decide to either fight over control of the sandbox or just leave it all together. Successful business leaders surround themselves with people who have complimentary strengths and skills. Next time you see several kids at the beach or in a sandbox playing together, watch how each child brings something unique into their play.
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