“Entrepreneurship” – it’s one of those terms that a lot of people use without really knowing what it means. It’s easily defined by way of the internet:
But, what is it really? The definition changes greatly when you put the word “spirit” with it.
I was with my fourteen-year-old daughter as she was signing up for high school classes (my how time flies). It was a simple process of sitting with an adviser who was somehow willing to give her Saturday up to help students pick the right classes. My eyes darted down the list to see what options were on it. Mixed with “domestic arts” (not even kidding), “dance” and “PE” was entrepreneurship. It was like I had found Waldo. I said to my daughter, “LOOK! Entrepreneurship! Take that one! Take that one!” Getting the “Will you please not embarrass me?” look from my daughter, she calmly said… “What’s that?” Ok… this was my big chance to finally teach my daughter what I do. But for some reason my mind was blank. I didn’t know where to start. I knew that a 10 minute explanation was going to get me kicked out of the gym-a-caf-e-torium. I only had a split second to narrow down my almost 40 years of experience, so I said, “Well… it’s what I do” THAT’S IT?!? That’s all I had. Of all the hours of teaching what it means to be prepared and armed with a targeted, to the point elevator pitch all I came up with was, “It’s what I do”. Then I just looked at her as if to will all of my knowledge into her so she could have a life blessed with entrepreneurial successes and failures. She replied, “Oh, and what is it you do Dad?” Now the adviser was waiting for my answer, too. I said, “Well, I can’t explain it all right here… way too much to tell… it about starting a business.” Again, short and to the point my daughter said, “I don’t really want to start a business.” And that was the end of that. My moment was lost. As some kind of veiled consolation I looked at the adviser and asked if she knew who taught the class. I was thinking that I could come in and, you know… help teach. After all, I am a University level teacher in the art of entrepreneurship.
As I left the school, something came back to me that had been bothering me in teaching this semester. Do people really know what entrepreneurship is? Hopefully the awkward story with my daughter proves that it’s not an easy thing to “bottom line”. The definition above is easy enough to explain, but why do some people have that “it” factor while others struggle and just don’t get it. How do you teach “it” anyway? Based upon that time with my daughter, I don’t even know really what “it” is. I thought a lot about this and came up with the entrepreneurial spirit. The spirit is an attitude that separates the willing from the want-to-be(s), and the risk taker from the conservative. The spirit gets someone up early and doesn’t let their mind rest as they lay down at night. The entrepreneurial spirit is the fire that burns when all you have experienced for the last month is rejection. It’s fuel that allows you to push ahead, but also gives you opportunity to change when success isn’t on your current path. It is the best part of the job!
About The Author:
Christopher Elmore has written 8 books, countless articles, lectures at UNC – Charlotte and Queens University. Chris travels the country speaking on the topics of startup success, sales, presentation skills, change, entrepreneurship, accounts payable and payment automation. Having deep startup and entrepreneurial experience, Christopher was one of the six people who started AvidXchange in 2000 and continues to work in the business today. If you hire Christopher to speak or teach at your company or event… you won’t be sorry! Request a media kit or contact us for more information