In a recent article on the blog Bernard Mokua gave some tips to parents on how to instil the spirit of entrepreneurship in their kids. (I lost the article a while ago and happened upon it again this morning – I read the website compulsively to such an extent that I had to download the self control app [I kid you not – there is such an app] to keep me out of Facebook and’s websites during the day so that I can focus on more pressing matters at hand such as educating my kids and cleaning my home!) As I was reading through it I thought that this is also not just relevant to entrepreneurs but to life in general. Apply this to yourself and teach this to your kids. (Disclaimer: I know that there are more than one way to skin a cat [Who would do that in any case?] so use what you can, add what you want, and better yet – share it with the rest of us.)

For my parents’ generation the first prize was to land a job at a solid company and stay there until retirement. If that company happened to be a government department even better! They consequently raised their kids to follow instructions, that money has a personality and that it is mostly bad. (Money is inanimate – it thinks nothing, feels nothing, is dead. It is our attitude to money that determines a lot.) You had to aspire to be like someone else, and you had to work hard in school so that you could go to uni and then get a good job, which you should keep until you retired.

Before you start teaching your children anything about business and life in general, you have to decide for yourself what you think about the following:

What are the messages that you believe?

  • Do you see problems as a dead end, or as something that have a solution? Do not allow problems to paralyse you. Understand that this is an opportunity that has presented itself to you. You may not like this opportunity, but it is one none the less. In their book, The Art of Possibility, Ben and Rosamund Sander says that they teach their students to say, “How fascinating!” when they make a mistake. Remember – problems = opportunity (Even if it is just to learn patience!)
  • We all have this dream of winning the lotto. I have the dream of winning the lotto and I have never bought a scratchie! From what I have heard and read about Lotto winners, are that the consequence of all that money ‘falling’ in their laps is anything but happiness. Most people earn their money.
  • Is having a conscience and following it more important than blindly following the rules? Are the rule makers always right?
  • What is your definition of education?
  • What is your opinion about failure?
  • Are you still trapped in a world that is constantly measuring everything and every one? Have you been able to step outside of the box you and others put you in? Are you ok with being different?
  • Do you take the media as the be all and end all of authority on business? Because let’s face it – media is all about making money, and bad news sells. Understand that the media is not the leading authority on business and you must do your homework from other sources.

In the above mentioned article Mokua mentions that entrepreneurs involve their kids in their businesses. Teamwork is essential in any business. We are not islands in the stream. (Kenny Rogers and Dolly Parton any one?) Communication is of the utmost importance together with a shared vision. Do you have a vision? Do you and your team (even if you do not have employees but you have a life partner and children) agree on this vision?

A while ago a mum shared this with me. Her husband was doing FIFO. Her eldest son came to his dad and asked, “Why do you go away so often?”

Dad responded by showing to his toys and saying that he works so that they can afford food and the expensive toys around him. This youngster replied, “If I eat less, and give away my toys, will you come and work from home?”

If your vision does not line up with your loved ones’ where are you going without them?

Thirdly, what is your opinion regarding comfort zones? The SOS (same-old-same) way of living is a killer of the adventurous spirit that we were born with. I loved the movie of Walter Mitty. Being uncomfortable is good, not necessarily enjoyable, but good. It enables you to learn things about yourself that you have not discovered yet.(

Lastly, take the road less travelled. Stop thinking about how things can not be done, and start looking at mistakes that you have made with the ‘how fascinating’ approach. Where I worked we used to give T-shirts to employees when they arrived for training and on the front a traffic light was printed and it said, ‘STOP, RETHINK, GO’.

Become MINDFUL – focus on one thing at a time and understand that this is a journey and not a destination.

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