changing a mindset

I’ve spent the past three days at the Ice House Entrepreneurial Training Program, sponsored by the Entrepreneurial Learning Initiative ( One of my projects for the training was to identify a problem – my problem: what strategies are institutions using to increase retention and graduation rates. I sent my request out to the First-Year Experience, Academic Advising, and Academic Coaching groups; here were the most popular responses:

  • Academic/success coaching.
  • Intrusive advising.
  • Various forms of communication with students.
  • Progress reports/graduation plans.

What I learned from the responses and from this Entrepreneurial Mindset Training is that our Life Design work is definitely on the right track. The entrepreneurial mindset principle that Life Design work prescribes to is:

“Promotes the development of the entrepreneurial spirit by: (1) becoming deeply engaged in and committed to personally rewarding purposeful, passionate goals; (2) being intentional and resilient by taking calculated risks to create value and generate meaningful results despite adversity and obstacles; and (3) using creativity, curiosity, and resourcefulness to design a better life and a better future for yourself and for others.”

There’s a book I read just before the Training called, “Empower: What Happens When Students Own Their Learning” by John Spencer and AJ Juliani. One of the concepts that I believe we NEED (not want) to instill our students today is developing self-directed learning, the intersection between of self-starters (doing projects that matter to them) and self-managers (show up and do the work). In a society where they predict 75% of workforce will be independent workers and 85% of the jobs today won’t exist in 2030 (in jobs created by our students), it’s imperative to develop create creative, curious, adaptable, and self-directed students.

It’s time to change how we work with our students – and we have an opportunity as advisors, as coaches, as educators, to empower our students to create meaningful, purposeful lives. Let’s be “Guides on the Ride.” Want to join me on this journey?

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