5 Steps To Unleash Your Inner Entrepreneurship
Entrepreneurship is a part of everyone’s life whether we realize it or not. As a child, I spent hours tinkering with building blocks along with my friends or using my imagination to tell fantastic tales. At its core, these activities taught me how to collaborate and prototype before I could spell the word “Business” correctly.
As I move into the conclusion of my high school experience, I’ve seen my creative output increase but my time do the opposite. Creative thinking has saved me in my entire high school career though, whether it was unusual marketing pitches in business class or a personal spin on an english essay, figuring out a process to structure my thoughts has made it easier for me to think of newer and better ideas, as well as made it easier to collaborate with other people. Over the years I’ve found a simple 5 step solution to taking your own ideas and getting them out there quickly which has been at the core of many of my favorite ideas:
As you go about your normal activities, take notice of the things that bring you joy. By saving pictures, sketches, and objects that are sentimental or helped you in the past you create a referenceable map of your past inspirations which can turn out to be useful later. While most things don’t have an obvious 1 to 1 use immediately, you create dots which can be connected any way you like later.
For example, I keep a shelf chocked full of my old childhood drawings. Many of them are odd and frankly not-so-pretty but over time there is an obvious continuity in how my drawings have improved and changed over time. Not only the quality, but the subject matter has also shifted from cartoon characters to prototype sketches of inventions I’ve thought of. The important thing is that you can see your progress in whatever you enjoy doing because the application may only come later, but it must be recorded in the moment before it’s forgotten.
While it seems obvious new experiences fuel creativity, there is another reason you should step out of your comfort zones. The simple fact is, different experiences give you practice for things you already enjoy doing and vice versa.
When applying this idea, one memory always resurfaces. When I was younger, we moved to San Diego during my third grade year. At that point, my family was remodeling my bathroom with a hammer and chisel. I was bored watching until my father asked if I wanted to help. Eagerly, I put on a pair of safety goggles and learned quickly how to operate the tools. Now, my father and I work on all the family projects using a variety of more advanced tools.
Saying yes in the moment laid the foundation for me to learn more advanced lessons about building things down the road, but it took trying something new first.
Exposing yourself to the world can be daunting. A reported 12.2% of females and a 5.8% of males reported public speaking was an actual phobia of theirs as opposed to a simple issue of shyness or anxiety. The remedy to this and a way to improve your own goals is to open yourself for feedback.
After moving to San Diego, I was graduating from 8th grade, marking the end of my Middle School experience. One day at the end of the year, I saw a flier to audition as a graduation speaker. While I was having mixed feelings, I decided to take the flier and tried out the following Saturday to find I had been selected. The following 2 weeks before the last day was filled with drafting my speech and practicing in the mirror, but it turned out to be one of my favorite memories of my school experience as a whole.
Taking breaks is something I am an expert in. But taking breaks doesn’t mean you are lazy, especially when your break time has some structure.
During my breaks, I like to relax and clear my head with a movie or some good old fashioned sleep. While doing this however, you can make the most of your downtime by doing one of the other 4 steps to any degree you like, on any topic you like. For example, while you binge watch your favorite series on Netflix you can also remember what you liked or disliked about what you watched, which is collecting inspiration. Or you may fancy watching a genre of movie you haven’t seen much, which is trying something new. On my own break time I like to do more collaborative work where I always keep a lower risk but fun activity active between myself and my friends that is both productive and fun to do during downtime like interactive games or scheduled time at the mall etc.
By planning some practical use for downtime whether you choose to get in shape, create something with your hands, do something with other people, or anything else this builds a sense of accomplishment in your brain which can only work in your favor when thinking of new ideas.
Your thoughts start with you, but the ones that have impact never end with you. Whether it was creating a social media account for my dog or posting a recording of my speech online, sharing what you have accomplished with the other 4 steps helps to fuel the next idea you can use this process on.
While going through the steps, it is important to know the difference between this step and step 3 of “Put yourself out there”. Step 3 is an experimental phase for step 5. Putting yourself out there can mean discussing an idea with friends and family or people online who are knowledgeable about whatever subject you are working on, while step 5 is a final share after you have received feedback from preferably more than 1 external opinion. When performing step 5 having your target audience in mind is important as well. While anyone can see what you’ve made, having a picture of who specifically benefits from your message speeds up the thought process and intention of the idea so that it can take shape. What works for you though is important, as understanding the intention of this process to create a space where you can jump-start your own vision is the valuable part.
Reflecting on how this process has helped me in the end has made something clear. Marking down all of your ideas is extremely important because there is no way to know what is and isn’t going to have future value.
These steps don’t follow a particular order (except for 5 being last!) and should never make you feel constrained. Skipping a step or adding one of your own is a great way to practice your own creativity, as long as you make some tangible daily progress to an end goal. As Arthur Ashe puts it, “Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can.”.
Published with permission from Arjun Abhyankar