Lessons from my one-year old daughter

My daughter has a new favorite game. She grabs on to whatever is handy, pulls herself up to her feet, and lets go.  In those few seconds she's standing up on her own, she briefly tastes success. But her legs are still wobbly, so she soon topples over and falls.

Minutes later, she tries again, brazen in the face of adversity. She’s having a great time. She laughs her outsized belly laughs.

My daughter tries and fails, tries and fails, tries and fails over and over again. One of these days, she will finally succeed (and then we will urgently need to fully child-proof our home!There is nothing more central to entrepreneurship than the willingness to try things that scare you, the courage to fail, and the audacity to get up off the floor and try again. This is how I know my daughter – who is all of 14 months - is a natural entrepreneur. It’s why I believe all children are born with an entrepreneurial instinct.

Trial and failure is how kids learn. Their ability to keep at it – these days referred to as grit - is what eventually helps them achieve adult success.

But this gets exponentially harder as we age. The taller we are – physically and mentally – the harder we fall. A creeping fear of failure starts to take over, and our entrepreneurial instinct is at risk of extinction. We get comfortable and stop trying. For some, this results in a quiet, contented life. For many, it results in regret for all the things we wanted to try and didn’t.

So I watch in awe as my budding entrepreneur flexes her gritty muscles, develops her audacity with a belly laugh or two. And I quietly promise myself to fan her entrepreneurial spirit always, to encourage her to keep trying, keep failing, and keep trying again. My brave little girl with a future full of possibility.


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