This fundamental question separates the indispensable from the average.
“What’s next for me?” limits your thinking to looking for your next job.
“What’s next for the business?” allows you to identify value-adding activities and projects you can tackle as part of your work.
If you look around at the most influential people in your organisation and/or industry, what do they do differently from everyone else?
My assertion is; they think like entrepreneurs.
Its a Mindset
Being an entrepreneur doesn’t require owning or starting a business; it’s a mindset.
Entrepreneurship sparks innovation, drives employment, powers economies and offers solutions to many of society’s problems. An entrepreneurial mindset must be present before the sparks and drivers can take effect.
Not everyone wants to be an entrepreneur, but even employees can learn to be more effective by adopting an entrepreneurial mindset.
“Entrepreneurship is the pursuit of opportunity beyond the resources currently controlled.” - Howard Stevenson
3 Traits of an Entrepreneurial Mindset
In the “Entrepreneurial Enterprise” webinar presented by Professor Rowena Barrett from QUT and Bill Aulet from MIT, they identified three traits that define an entrepreneurial mindset regardless of the environment.
The entrepreneurial mindset sees challenges and problems as opportunities, not roadblocks. When challenges are encountered, energy is directed towards finding solutions to keep the momentum moving forward. A lifelong knowledge seeker who uses curiosity and creativity to fuel their resourcefulness. Approaches like, “We came across this challenge; my recommendation is ___ because ___” are common.
A long-term thinker who understands there is more than one way to achieve the mission. With the ability to adapt to changing environments, the adaptable entrepreneur deeply understands the dynamic nature in which she operates and can do what is needed to stay aligned with the mission when change is encountered.
In addition to being solutions-oriented and adaptable, someone with an anti-fragile mindset becomes more robust in the face of extreme stressors, chaos and disorder. This is a conscious effort to use the experience to improve and goes beyond resilience.
“The resilient resists shocks and stays the same; the anti-fragile gets better” - Nassim Taleb
Much like finance, engineering, or storytelling, the entrepreneurial mindset is a skill that can be learned through practice.
Many believe being entrepreneurial-minded is a skill set reserved for a select few who were born with it as a gift.
I tend to disagree.
Take the above traits as an example. Can you learn to be solutions-oriented? What about being adaptable? Or even Anti-fragile?
If you can define the traits that make up a skill set, what's stopping you from mapping out a path to acquiring it?
Simply believing that a particular skill set is something you are born with and can't teach/learn guarantees you will never acquire it because you will never take the first step and try.
If you look at it through your career and self-development perspective, what type of skills and knowledge do you try to acquire? And why?
Why do you think it's possible to learn some skills and not others? Who decided that it is to be this way?
The Next Step
Our personal and professional development are fundamental to who we are as humans and what value we bring to the world.
“What’s next for me?” is an important question to ask yourself, and I believe we can all benefit by asking ourselves better questions.
Whether your goal is to climb the corporate ladder or start a personal venture, developing an entrepreneurial mindset will no doubt help you on your way.