Bringing Up An Entrepreneur

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Whenever I thought of being an entrepreneur, I almost always saw it as a term closely connected to business and career. It never had anything to do with someone’s lifestyle. That’s how I used to think before I, as I later realised, knew nothing about what being an entrepreneur really means.

When I became a mother my whole life changed. First, I took to reading and exploring all the books and methods that tried to teach how to be a good parent. Then, somewhere along the line, I got familiar with the term “entrepreneur”, and those two areas – parent and entrepreneur – overlapped and helped me see how much they have, or at least should have, in common.

I learned that to become an entrepreneur, I have to give in to my curiosity and let myself see an opportunity in everything that surrounds me. Any step I take from that point would require action; choosing something, making a decision, doing it, learning, researching – it all requires action. Those are the things I first learned when I started getting into entrepreneurship.

On the other hand, I am a mother to an amazing boy. Watching him grow, I also learned that children show a natural tendency to be curious. They explore, they try, they fail, they succeed, and eventually, learn. They are not afraid to step into the unknown, touch something for the first time, or question the world around them. It seems to me that they are what adults would be like if we omitted a very important feeling – fear.

Fear can, unfortunately, hinder almost anyone. It’s especially present if a person is embarking on a journey they see as worthwhile and precious. Children are mostly not familiar with that feeling. Or at least, it doesn’t control their actions as much. They may repetitively fail to do something, but they never stop trying or get easily discouraged. That’s what I find the most astounding about them.

One day, I was watching my son play, and I thought how amazing it would be if we could all learn to develop an entrepreneurial mindset as early as possible and then just live our lives as such. I believe by the time we reach our adult age, most of us will feel more content with our lives. So, I started researching and educating myself first on how I could teach my child different skills and ways of thinking to help him develop an entrepreneurial mindset. I have tried numerous various activities, but a few of them seemed more fruitful than the rest. So, I would like to share our journey.

Curiosity breeds the firm base

Modern, so-called “gentle” parenting teaches that we should not prevent or stop our children’s learning process by introducing punishment, arguments, or overly-protective behaviour. My child started showing curiosity from the very beginning. Naturally, he got himself into a few dangerous situations.

It took me a while to realise that he needs curiosity in order to learn. At first, I was panicking at everything and trying to protect him in every situation. But then, I let him explore, but I still followed wherever he wanted to go – I wanted to make sure he was safe.

I simply started observing in silence. I watched him play, I watched him try new things, I watched him touch snow for the first time, I watched him dip his feet in the sea and then get excited about it. Exploring the world like this helped him get familiar with it on his own terms.

Problems need to be solved

When I took a step back and let my son explore more, I noticed how impressive it is just watching him look for solutions by himself. First, I started by letting him do the things I would normally do for him every day – like, getting upstairs and downstairs instead of me carrying him, using a fork and a spoon instead of me feeding him, or getting up when he falls instead of me picking him up immediately. After only a few days of doing everything by himself, he seemed more eager to do everything independently and I was so proud of him.

We played different games like – putting different shapes through random holes, “rescuing” toy animals wrapped in sellotape, assembling baby puzzles, collecting leaves and acorns in the park.

It was interesting to see him get frustrated and then think of a solution. But, unlike before, when he would just pass me the toy bothering him, to fix it for him, now, after a few attempts, he started trying different things and exploring what would work. I accepted that he needs to learn what it feels like to fail and then try again. Some days, it would take him long to figure things out, he would get frustrated easily, or even give up after a few attempts, but other days he would be very persistent and determined to succeed, and I just enjoyed each moment.

Together, we learned that whenever there is a problem, there will be a solution for it. It just takes time and effort to get to it.

Reading leads to critical thinking

When I was pregnant, I remember I read an article about reading to babies. At the time, I thought it was nonsense – my baby will most certainly not remember what I read to him or even that I read in the first place. But it isn’t about that. I kept reading to him every day and as he grew, I noticed how he enjoyed it. He started repeating words after me, pointing at pictures, asking questions, and eventually, he took to books so much that he would bring me a book and then turn the pages and pretend to read.

I have always loved reading and I see many benefits of it. Also, the more I read, the more I questioned everything and thought deeply of the world surrounding me. I want to encourage my son to do the same; I would like him to be curious about everything, to always ask questions, to keep learning and exploring.

When I read books, I get to experience someone else’s point of view and consider things from a different perspective. For my son, it’s the same. He gets to imagine a different setting, different characters, storyline, and it helps his imagination.

Later on, when he grows up, I believe he will understand other people and observe the way they feel and behave and it will be one of the most valuable skills for an entrepreneur.

Socialising builds character

Regardless of how many interesting activities I may come up with, or the places I could take my child, or the toys or books we may play with – he will at some point need the company of the children of his age.

I easily neglected the importance of socialising at such an early age, simply because I was willing to do anything for my child, so I never really considered his need to play with his peers. But, when he started making friends and getting to know other children, the way they behave, play, communicate, I noticed a change in him as well.

Spending time with other children, I have noticed that my child learned how to share, he copied other children’s behaviour and thus learned how to do something differently, he learned how to enter a group of unfamiliar children and be accepted.

He has such a friendly personality, he loves other children, and I can see that he gets truly excited whenever we go to the playground. We all need interaction with other people – that’s how we learn and exchange opinions and grow.

I believe that if I teach my child to feel comfortable socialising with his peers, one day, the same activity will not seem like such an insurmountable problem. He will set a healthy foundation for developing strong social and emotional intelligence.

These are some of the things I enjoy during our play-time at the moment. I am still learning and exploring, and testing new ways. Each day is a new adventure for us, but also a new opportunity to learn something and add each piece to the big personality puzzle. I enjoy watching his character traits develop, and I can’t wait to follow him on his journey. There is an entrepreneur in all of us. We just need to find a way to let them show.

What activities do you think are the best for practising and establishing the entrepreneurial mindset?

Pozdrav,

Milica

Milica Sekulic

In my career, I have tried many things, but writing has always been something I primarily aspired for. Both my BA and MA were in English language and literature, so I’m also passionate about reading and teaching.

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