entrepreneurial spirit

About a month ago, I attended the Ice House Entrepreneurial Facilitator Training in Durham, NC; I got to hang out with 50 inspired individuals interested in spreading the entrepreneurial mindset in North Carolina.

Since then, I felt something was missing – and then it hit me.  The “Entrepreneurial Mindset” was too focused on the head…it didn’t connect with my heart.  And when I really examined my definition of the “Entrepreneurial Spirit,” I finally got it!  The Entrepreneurial Mindset develops in the head, the Entrepreneurial Spirit emanates from the heart.  And we have to start from the heart before we can get to the head.  I found this quote that resonated with me:

“The Entrepreneurial Spirit isn’t something you are taught, it’s something you must develop within yourself.” – Matt Ehrlichman

So, here’s my latest version of the Entrepreneurial Spirit:

“The Entrepreneurial Spirit allow you to: (1) become deeply engaged in and committed to meaningful work and purposeful, passionate goals; (2) be intentional and persistent by taking calculated risks and stepping out of your comfort zone to create substantial value and generate significant results despite adversity, obstacles, and failure; and (3) use curiosity, creativity, imagination, and resourcefulness to design a better life and a better future for yourself and for others.”

Third, I just recently created a new tool (still in Beta mode) that helps students (and others) define a problem they want to solve, but from a place in the heart. I’m using a combination of Business Canvas You (book) and the Opportunity Discovery Worksheet (Training) to have students examine nine different areas of their lives

Once they identify a problem to solve, they will use this information to identify: (1) a “project” to create (“signature work”), (2) a job title/line of work, and (3) a business to start. It’s my hope that they’ll be able to create a plan to incorporate all three during their college experience. I just had two of my classes complete the worksheet – and here are a few examples of problems they’d like to solve:

  • The struggles that people have in their job. I want to explore why there are moments someone will struggle and how to avoid it.
  • The problem with neglect and non-caring attitude towards vulnerable people and provide support and encouragement that there is still good things about life.
  • To help mothers and newborns with whatever they need to live a healthy, safe, and happy life.
  • To alleviate people’s problems and inquiries about their own lives and relationships (business and personal) through investigation, communication, and gathering evidence.
  • To help people feel important and implement different techniques on how to help them feel this way.
  • To help illegal immigrant kids in need of financial resources and health care.
  • To help animals that are neglected/abused.
  • To help young adults with problems in math and to improve the way they see math and work with problems.
  • To help people set short-term and long-term financial goals and make wise decisions around these goals.
  • To change the way society views and treats health and wellness, not as a commodity and trend, but as a valued self-care practice.
  • To help at-risk youth who lack the resources to be successful.
  • To help people build themselves back up and/or rebuild relationships with others after experiencing trauma.
  • To give immigrants and minorities a chance to pursue their dreams, focusing on getting an education or getting a good job.
  • To help families and children connect and know they are not alone and promote to the world a positive image of disability awareness.
  • To help student-athletes get ready for life after college.

Imagine how this information could help choose a major, get involved in students organizations, explore employment opportunities, create side businesses, identify potential graduate programs, etc.  Now I’m inspired to do this activity with our 600 first-year students next Fall, as well as adults at a crossroads in life, trying to define “what’s next.”  So exciting!!!


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