Entrepreneurship means You Don’t Always Get What you Want — You Have To Learn To Let Go

“I asked Jeroo what she had learned from her work with Childline in India.  She thought for a moment, then replied:  “If I have to summarize it in one line, it would be, ‘Learning to let go.’  Everything will not be exactly the way you want it.  You have to let people take charge.  The best thing is not to have a picture of what you want, but to have basic principles…  It happens because it has to happen.  It is not because of me.”
(from How to Change the World:  Social Entrepreneurs and the Power of New Ideas by David Bornstein).

There are a lot of ways that the world has changed.  Here is a big one:  you don’t always get what you want.  And when you don’t you have to adapt – quickly.  And, this is a perpetual practice—you have to adapt, and adapt again, and again…

I was recently revisiting the terrific book, How to Change the World:  Social Entrepreneurs and the Power of New Ideas by David Bornstein.  It is a book about social change, designed for the social sector – you know, the nonprofits that work diligently on issues of social justice.  It is a rare “crossover” book for me, which I presented both at the First Friday Book Synopsis and the Urban Engagement Book Club – it has great wisdom for both audiences.

Here is what it says about entrepreneurs:

The Entrepreneur: the source of the “creative destruction” necessary for major economic advances; one who builds something (brand) new

• Here Are The Five Traits Of An Entrepreneur:

• An orientation to action, to risk, and to growth
• One with an “internal locus of control”
• One obsessively committed to change.  They seek out and exploit change
• Highly, highly motivated… motivated more than confident, persistent, or knowledgeable
• Highly self-correcting

• And Here Are Six Qualities Of Social Entrepreneurs

1.              Willingness to self-correct
2.              Willingness to share credit
3.              Willingness to break free of established structures
4.              Willingness to cross disciplinary boundaries
5.              Willingness to work quietly
6.              Strong ethical impetus

All of these are important, but I especially like these two: a willingness to self-correct and a willingness to cross disciplinary boundaries.  We live in a competitive environment that requires constant self-correction, and we have to constantly cross boundaries of all kinds.  We work with everyone, and we learn from everywhere.

And maybe the key of all keys is this:  the entrepreneur has an “internal locus of control.” Intrinsic motivation, motivation coming from within, with a “true north” to guide every decision and every action, really can change the world.

How To Change The World – it’s definitely worth a re-look.


To purchase my synopsis of How To Change the World, with audio + handout, go to 15minutebuseinssbooks.com.

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