THE ENTREPRENEURIAL MIND: NATURE VS. NURTURE?

The idea of being an entrepreneur has really become a trend. Everyone wants to be one. Interestingly, more people think they are entrepreneurs than truly are — some are simply business owners. Entrepreneurs truly are born, not made. You either have the innate ability to lead a startup and run your own business or you don't. There are challenges, obstacles, and pitfalls along the way; clearly, not everyone is equipped to or interested in navigating this road. Many are completely satisfied to work a set schedule and pick up their paycheck at the end of the week. If this is how you feel, then entrepreneurship might not be for you.

Although not everyone may share our opinion that entrepreneurs are born — much as in the old debate about leaders — our personal experiences drive our belief. As one of the authors of this book and a veteran entrepreneur, Adrie concluded that entrepreneurship had to be part of one's DNA. Six years ago, he discovered that the father he had grown up with was not his biological father. As he began to explore his new identity, he learned that his biological father was a business founder and entrepreneur. He found he had a half-brother and two nephews who were businessmen. Adrie's two sons are also businessmen. However, his adoptive family was not entrepreneurial and shared no interest in that type of career path. Suddenly, Adrie realized where he got his passion for entrepreneurship; it was in his blood. Now not all entrepreneurs have this type of experience or realization, but many do feel like this is what they were always meant to do.

In contrast, Marion's experiences demonstrate that many entrepreneurs might not be in touch with this biological connection to entrepreneurship. Marion spent more than twenty-five years in the corporate world. At one point, she handled five separate start-up companies in a row. However, throughout her time there, she did not feel as though she was a typical corporate employee. After reflecting on her work, Marion realized that, even though she was in a corporate environment and working for someone else, she was actually a silent entrepreneur and was approaching the work on these startups as though they were her own businesses and very successful ones at that. From there, albeit later in life, she migrated into the world of pure entrepreneurship, with a newfound realization that she had always been an entrepreneur — a serial entrepreneur, actually — at heart. As our business now shows us, anyone can encourage his or her internal entrepreneur to emerge.

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