I’ve had a goal this year to try to read a book at least every 6-8 weeks. I read a lot of articles don’t have a lot of time to read and find that when I do it’s at night and I fall asleep in no time. So I’ve resorted to audio books in an effort to achieve my goal and have found when I remember to turn them on they are a great alternative.
The first book I’m listening to is Richard Branson’s “Screw It, Lets Do It”. I have read one of his books many years ago (before kids when travelling consisted of reading books on the beach in peace). This one I have really found amazing and a great read as we start out in our own business.
My blogs for the next few weeks will centre around some key points I have taken from this book and how it could apply in our business, our client’s businesses and our lives in general.
What I’ve found really interesting about his story is that his parents and other family members really had a great role to play in making him into the entrepreneur he is today. He tells stories of his mother before WW2 and how she got around the exclusion of women to learn to fly. He goes on to tell of stories from his childhood of being put on his bike with a packed lunch for a weekend bike ride, with family along the way to pop into for meals and stay with overnight. We’d possibly be arrested for child neglect these days for something like that. It got me thinking that yes it’s a different world we are in compared 50years ago but we still need to actively encourage our children to get out of their comfort zones and take some managed risks. His parents had arranged stops for Branson along the way and while yes something could have happened in between they would have known reasonably quickly. I’m sure they had also practiced the same route as a family on a number of occasions.
So with an education system and society that as the ‘norm’ encourages us to have structure, rules and confined movements how do we find the balance between that (we all want well behaved children and good reports from teachers) and giving them some free rein and teaching them it’s okay to break out of the norm at times. This is something that as my children grow has challenged me greatly. We all like to know our kids are safe and protect them so it is easier said than done however as with many others I am more than aware that if we don’t actively encourage true problem solving and endless opportunities to try and fail until they succeed so they learn how each feels and to get up and try again our children will have a hard time as adults in the future job market.
What are some practical ways to encourage your children to find their entrepreneurial spirit?
- Give your children opportunities to brainstorm ideas and come up with crazy things! When they ‘invent’ something in a picture encourage their imagination and maybe to take it to the next level with a prototype.
- Teach them how to set goals to achieve. These can be as simple as working hard to get a better result in something they are struggling with at school. Or setting a goal associated with an extra-curricular activity.
- Explain to them at an early age the value of money and the importance or budgeting. Age appropriate pocket money (together with chores) is great for this. This extends to investing in them. If they have an idea on a little business invest in them and use it as an opportunity for learning on how business works in the real world.
- Let them make decisions about things but then ensure they follow through. If they want to do a sporting activity, ensure they understand that they need to commit for a set amount of time. Letting kids start and stop activities because they ‘don’t want to do it anymore’ encourages endless quitting when things get hard or uncomfortable. There will be many things in life they don’t want to do, but sticking at tasks will be what delivers success in life.
- Encourage them to problem solve and see opportunities. From simple things like ‘my sandwich got soggy at lunchtime’. What is something they could have done to prevent that and what could they do at the time to ensure they have enough to eat at lunchtime if something happens. Always encourage them to be solution orientated and positive towards problems.
- Foster a spirit of giving back and expressing gratefulness. Giving is not just in monetary form. Encourage your children help those who may be struggling with something, help them pack their bag, help them pick up their books they dropped. Also encourage them to see what great things they do have and be grateful rather than worrying about what they ‘want’ and don’t have.
This list is by no means exhaustive and I encourage you to seek out other ways to help grow the next generation into successful entrepreneurs to find solutions and opportunities in the world.