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Entrepreneurship Lessons I Teach My Own Children

Unlike hair color or politeness, Entrepreneurship is both bred and learned. A recent study found that the entrepreneur gene is passed on to the next generation 30-40 percent of the time. But the truth is no one is ever born an entrepreneur; no matter how genetically inclined, you still have to choose to become one. You still need to commit and put in the work everyday.

Since I’m a parent myself, I hope to pass entrepreneurship qualities along to my children. In our family, at the dawn of every New Year, we each post on the refrigerator our goals for the year ahead, and we each explain how we did on the previous year’s goals. We review them quarterly. Every Sunday, we have a family meeting and take turns running it. I want my children to learn those traits of goal setting vision, communication, confidence and accountability. These are gifts you can pass on to your children whether you’re an entrepreneur or not.

  • Focus
    Always stay focused on your purpose and vision. When my 14-year-old son and I traveled to Antarctica for him to complete his 1st marathon and for me to continue my quest to do a marathon on every continent, things didn’t go as planned. Even though there were hardships, we knew what we were there for. My son learned the power of the mind and the importance of digging deep to achieve a goal.
  • Attitude
    Fifty percent of success is a head case. You must keep calm and positive, regardless of the environment. You can’t control external pressures, but you can control your attitude, which leads to clearer thinking, a better experience and overall happiness.
  • The Power of the Checklist
    My children always tease me about checklists and how specific I am about them. I break everything down into sections and include everything I need for every meeting, event and day. How many of you know someone who arrived at an important meeting only to find they forgot the power cord for their laptop?
  • It’s OK to Fail
    When our kids are growing up, we tell them that if they fall off their bike, the best thing to do is to get back on. We might not realize it at the time, but this is an entrepreneurship lesson. Earlier this year my son spent $800 of his own money developing a game “The Blue Speck” and launched it on the App Store. He had grand hopes, but ultimately didn’t get the traction he needed because after his buyers played the game a few times, the novelty was done. Sure, he learned a lesson about creating stickiness in games, but more importantly, he learned what if feels like to fail. It’s not the end of the world.
  • The Mirror Test
    At the end of the day, I look myself in the mirror and ask “did I put in a full day and did I do what I said I was going to do?” This is especially important to teach children, who, if given the opportunity, might spend the day playing video games.
  • Givers and Takers
    A very important lesson for High School-aged children is: Spend time with people that enhance your energy and stop spending time with people that deplete your energy. The sooner they are able to learn and implement this, the better.

Most importantly, I try to teach my children that there are no shortcuts; no matter how genetically inclined you are for greatness, you still need to make yourself great. No one is ever born great.

About CEO Coaching International

CEO Coaching International works with CEOs and their leadership teams to achieve extraordinary results quarter after quarter, year after year. Known globally for its success in coaching growth-focused entrepreneurs to meaningful exits, CEO Coaching International has coached more than 1,000 CEOs and entrepreneurs in more than 60 countries and 45 industries. The coaches at CEO Coaching International are former CEOs, presidents, or executives who have made BIG happen. The firm’s coaches have led double-digit sales and profit growth in businesses ranging in size from startups to over $10 billion, and many are founders that have led their companies through successful eight, nine, and ten-figure exits. Companies working with CEO Coaching International for two years or more have experienced an average revenue CAGR of 31% (2.6X the U.S. average) and an average EBITDA CAGR of 52.3% (more than 5X the U.S. average).

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