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You’re Not the Boss of Me!

Uncovering the roots of entrepreneurship

Are you your own boss? If so, does that automatically make you an entrepreneur? That’s what I want to explore — how such professional independence intersects with an individual’s values and purpose.

It’s a theme that falls in line with my approach to nearly all of the columns I write: Who are you at your core, and how does that drive the way you love, live, parent or lead? What’s more, if you are an entrepreneur, how do you integrate your core values and purpose into the way you move through life?

As you read this, consider the following:

  • Is entrepreneurship your side-hustle or something more?
  • What motivates your entrepreneurship?
  • Is it the satisfaction of being the boss, working for yourself and making big decisions?
  • Is it because you get to encourage others to support and help realize a shared vision for a project, company or organization?
  • Do you truly control your own destiny?

Your answers to these questions will help forge your own beliefs on the components of successful entrepreneurship. In the meantime, I’ll share with you what several leaders who consider themselves entrepreneurs, had to say on the subject. It turns out, there’s even more to their success.

“There has to be some innovation,” says Celsa Snead, executive director of The Mentoring Center, an Oakland, California-based organization that aims to move youth through whatever challenges they face toward healthy, successful lives. Snead is a lawyer, activist, nonprofit leader and youth advocate. She believes that individuals can espouse an entrepreneurial spirit while working for someone else, just as long as their work excites and inspires them.

Entrepreneurship happens, she says, when creative autonomy is paired with encouragement to thrive and produce something powerful. “As individuals, we should try to cultivate an entrepreneurial spirit wherever we are,” Snead adds. “It’s not just about owning your own business.”

But what about values and purpose?Where do these elements fit into the life of an entrepreneur?

Entrepreneurs who have clarity on their internal compass and core values tend to approach ownership in exciting and powerful ways. Their values serve as a filter and touchstone, pushing them through to the finish line of a project, business or organization. Knowing their purpose means they realize what they are uniquely meant to contribute to the world. This type of knowledge elevates entrepreneurship to a new level, as purpose-driven leaders always know ‘the why’ behind ‘the what.’

You see, entrepreneurship can be activated even when your name is not on the marquee.

So, who’s the boss of you now?


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