As a parent, I want to give my kids an edge, helping them learn important skills to lead a successful life. I think they will enjoy more success if they develops a solid entrepreneurial mind-set at a young age. People with an entrepreneurial way of thinking see challenges as opportunities and confront them with confidence to innovate and create value in the world.
Kids can develop these key skills and behaviours to lead a successful life. In fact, they are more capable of learning them than adults because they have fewer mental barriers to tear down in order to develop them. Here are seven entrepreneurial skills you can teach your kids to help them lead a successful life:
1. Self Confidence
Self-confidence is a feeling of trust in one’s abilities, qualities and judgment. Developing it is the cornerstone of a successful life. According to psychological studies, confidence comes from where we derive our self-worth, so both internal and external sources.
External sources include appearance, the approval of others, and academic performance. Internal sources include being a good person and staying true to moral standards. Kids with a strong sense of self derived through internal sources – those who are ethical and principled – are less likely to engage in dangerous activities as adolescents and are more likely to have life experiences that lead to a successful life.
Entrepreneurship goes hand in hand with one’s own internal motivation. It is a belief in ones ideas and ability to overcome obstacles that builds strong relationships in both business and life.
So how do you instil confidence in your child? Be a good role model, show empathy and encourage their opinions. You need to let kids make decisions and support them as they make choices. Even when you think it may not be the right decision, let your kids think up their own ideas and try them. Learning something from experience as opposed to instruction is key in developing problem solving skills and confidence in oneself.
2. Durability and Resilience
Developing a thick skin when it comes to adversity is paramount in an entrepreneur. We all know pain, failure, and disappointment are part of life. No matter how much you want to shield your kids from these things you can’t totally do so.
An important part of entrepreneurship is learning about failure and not fearing it. Prepare your kids develop a resilient spirit and handle challenges life sends their way. You will feel better and more confident in them while helping them avoid anxiety and self-doubt.
How can you help your kids be more durable? Allow them to express emotion and avoid minimizing their feelings. When children perceive their emotions are understood, charged emotions dissipate and allow them to focus their energy on feeling better.
3. Problem Solving
Entrepreneurs are critical thinkers. They hone the ability to focus and tackle a problem using analysis and evaluation to form judgments. Learning to think critically is a key component to being a problem solver. It is how people make clear, reasoned decisions leading to a success in business and beyond.
Teaching critical thinking is, in part, questioning your kids. Ask them how they think they should handle a situation that is troubling them. They may need help coming up with ideas but avoid the urge to handle the problem for them. Give some options for solutions if needed but offer your thoughts in the form of questions like “Do you think this could work?”
Leading kids in this way helps them define the problem aloud, which is affirming. This is a way to get perspective and to find answers independently. Supporting kids in this way helps them feel secure in their ability to find solutions to problems on their own.
4. Creativity and Innovative Thinking
Entrepreneurs need to be creative. Solving complex problems can be tricky. Creative thinking is how new ideas are developed to solve such problems.
Make time for creativity and thinking up ideas with your kids. Questions spark inspiration, like: “What could be done differently to make this better?” or “How many ways can you solve this?”
Ask lots of questions and come up with answers together. Creative thinking is the key to innovation, and the world is changing so quickly that people need to be innovative to stay ahead of the curve and be successful.
5. Goal Setting
Entrepreneurs know that what gets measured, gets done. All great accomplishments have a timeline, working from a starting point to the goal. Goals keep us moving toward things we really want in life. Having the ability to formulate effective goals and see them through to fruition is important for a successful life.
Teach your kids about goals by sharing your own. Talk about your ideas and your game plan for implementing them. Help them devise short term and longer-term goals by learning what’s important to them, what it is they want to learn, change or have.
Work with them to create steps to achieving goals and talk about progress and challenges over the timeline to achieve the goal. A person needs to know where the finish line is to complete the race and the same is true for life goals. Learning this skill early helps kids accomplish things faster but more importantly helps them gain an understanding that they are capable of controlling their destiny. A pretty powerful feeling when you’re a kid (and later in life too!).
Entrepreneurs all have initiative. Initiative is a catalyst for creating innovative ideas. It is the motivation to look at what is or what is around you and take action to complete something or make something better. Developing a keen sense for identifying opportunities is one thing but without the initiative to take action nothing gets done.
Teach your kids initiative by modelling it yourself. Children model behaviours of those they look up to so verbally point out instances where you take initiative. This will show them when something needs doing it gets done without hesitation.
The ability to empathize is part of being an effective leader. Successful entrepreneurs know that by trying to see others’ views and feelings they can gain acceptance from their colleagues more wholly. Empathy isn’t something you either have or don’t; there are degrees of it and it can be developed and understood by kids as well as adults.
You can help your kids develop empathy by treating them as individuals, people with a mind of their own. Respecting their feelings and emotions and talking about the connections between their feelings and how they behave will help them understand others motivations. This will help your kids recognize things they have in common with people and to relate to them naturally. This ability creates relationships that are more meaningful and is vitally important for success in leading people and as well as in overall happiness in life.
All of these skills are developed through two-way communication. Yes, we need to give direction but kids need the opportunity to express themselves freely and be understood and accepted. As parents, we are the leaders, and we need to be supportive by allowing kids to make decisions and trying different ideas to fix problems. Entrepreneurs know experience is the best teacher and young kids benefit from it most as they develop skills for a successful life.