Back off, helicopter parents. If you want your kid to grow up to be a successful entrepreneur -- or to realize her career dreams at all, whatever they are -- the best thing you can do is “take the pressure off,” Shark Tank star Barbara Corcoran says.
“Ignore what they don’t do well,” the millionaire mom of two recently told Entrepreneur.com on the Shark Tank set. “Instead, stay totally focused on finding what your kid does well and let them do a lot of it. They’ll be better and happier for it.”
And, while you’re at it, smothering Moms and Dads, stop nagging your child to get good grades already. Corcoran, who has dyslexia and admits that she was a “lousy,” straight-D student all through high school and college, made a point of never hounding her son Tom about scoring high marks. He’s now in his third year at Columbia University and faring quite well.
“I told him, ‘You don’t have to be a good student. Take your time. What the hell? Try this. Try that. Move around.’” The result? “A well-rounded creative kid that’s always going to be himself.”
To help your child learn, grow and come into their own with confidence, let her “experiment, make mistakes and recover, and don’t narrowly confine them the way that school systems and society does.” In other words, let your little one fall so she can learn how to pick herself up.
The diner waitress turned wildly successful serial entrepreneur also said her “top four [Shark Tank] entrepreneurs” were all “lousy in school, too.” Being the “dunce and the out-man” prepares kids for the challenges of business, she said, because it teaches them first-hand how to cope with and bounce back from rejection.
“When you’re not good at school, you’re comfortable out there on the skirts,” she said. “You’re used to it. It’s like breathing. You get good at rejection and you don’t feel sorry for yourself when something goes wrong.”
Entrepreneurs who didn’t endure academic challenges, who had high-pressure parents and high grades to please them, are often more likely to “fold and feel bad for themselves,” she said. “While they’re busy feeling sorry for themselves, the world is going by.”
You can watch Barbara coach, accept (and reject) entrepreneurs of all stripes on the sixth season of Shark Tank, which kicks off from 8 to 9 p.m. ET/PT this Friday, Sept. 26 on your local ABC station.