I was inspired by CNN’s 10 Visionary Women last week, especially since they were all engaging in entrepreneurial ventures to make a difference in the world, sometimes motivated by their daughters’ futures. It got me thinking about the entrepreneurial spirit, because all 10 women embodied it. It was encouraging to see a major news outlet honor women who were not the highest paid or had reached the top of their profession, as important as that is, but had, in some cases, left that type of career to create opportunities for others. They all had the character traits and skills outlined in Lyn’s blog last week to have realized their vision into working ventures, and the passion for their work jumped off the screen and into my head and heart.
It made me ask: what is the difference between being an entrepreneur and having an entrepreneurial spirit? Are they one and the same? If not, how are they different?
According to Chris Smith of the Harvard Business Review blog, “(Entrepreneurs are) people that challenge the norm, have original opinions that move a discussion forward, and act with tenacity and determination.” He goes on to say that those entrepreneurial spirited individuals are motivated by, and can find success in, the everyday activity and the opportunities their role affords. The entrepreneur will focus on personal achievement and independence, not on taking advantage of every opportunity to learn and grow in new ways.
DrsGattyPeopleSolutions.com had a nice definition of the entrepreneurial spirit: “…when we describe the entrepreneurial spirit, we are also including characteristics such as optimism, trust in one’s self, and courage. …. cultivate new ideas and inspire those around them to use innovation to discover new opportunities for new products, services or intellectual solutions… The entrepreneurial spirit encourages self-pride and recognition for each individual’s contribution to an end product. In the long run, such spirit breathes necessary vitality into long-term organizational life-spans.”
In How To Keep Your Entrepreneurial Spirit Alive As The Company You Work For Grows in Forbes Magazine, Jacquelyn Smith had this to say about the entrepreneurial spirit: “Entrepreneurial spirit is a mindset. It’s an attitude and approach to thinking that actively seeks out change, rather than waiting to adapt to change. It’s a mindset that embraces critical questioning, innovation, service and continuous improvement”.
In some sense, most women I know embody these traits. The juggling of raising a family, working full or part time, maintaining a household all require a mindset that constantly seeks out change to make life better for themselves, their families, friends. Women are already creative problem-solvers, delegators, and acknowledge the good work of others, including their children, friends, partners, co-workers.
But most are not entrepreneurs in the sense they are not taking this spirit to the next step and acting on a passion to build a business or entity. That was what was so inspiring to me about the 10 visionary women. They took their womanly entrepreneurial spirit and added the entrepreneurial drive to make their dreams a reality. What a combination!
Most authors I read while researching this blog agreed that you do need some innate entrepreneurial spirit and drive, but the skills that turn you into an entrepreneur can be taught. To my mind we all have some degree of the entrepreneurial spirit and can use that spirit to be visionary women, too, if we so desire. I’m off to re-read Lyn’s blog from last week and review how!
Have you gotten in touch with your entrepreneurial spirit? Tell us what it is in the comment section below.
Featured image courtesy of: http://www.limelace.co.uk/entrepreneurial-spirit-etched-bottle.html