We all want what’s best for our children. We want them to live long, prosperous and happy lives, but unfortunately, there’s no one way to guarantee that.
Though I may be biased, being an entrepreneur in my own right, I see entrepreneurship as a brilliant path to achieving most of those goals. Creating your own business gives you a path to build wealth, build satisfaction by creating something valuable, build the independence to make your own decisions and drive your own destiny.
Even if your kids don’t become entrepreneurs, having an entrepreneurial mindset can take them far in life.
So, how can you condition your children to pursue this route, and become entrepreneurs in some form?
These are the six lessons you’ll need to teach them:
1. "Your potential is limitless."
Whether you’re trying to earn more revenue or simply get more social media followers, there’s no upper limit to what you can achieve if you put your mind to it. This is a lesson you need to pass on to your children, no matter where they’re headed in life.
Having big visions and ambitious goals makes you work harder, and ultimately makes you achieve more in life. If you’re stuck believing that you’re unworthy of certain levels of success, or that it’s impossible for you to pursue your dreams, that becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. Teach your kids they can do anything if they work hard enough.
Related: 7 Tips to Guide Young Entrepreneurs
2. "Failure is okay."
A study by a group of French researchers suggests that telling children that it’s okay to fail actually helps them perform better. Failure is an essential part of entrepreneurship. For starters, most entrepreneurs fail, and getting over that failure is necessary to begin their next journey.
If you’re afraid to fail, you shouldn’t get involved with entrepreneurship at all. Unfortunately, our culture is one that stigmatizes failure, deeming it the ultimate mark of unworthiness. Instead, tell your children that failure is just a lesson -- a learning experience you can use to get even further in life.
3. "Your ideas matter."
Entrepreneurship is all about ideas. Obviously, you need a good business idea before you can start your company, but you also need to come up with ideas to help it grow and address challenging problems and circumstances. Ideas are hard to force, especially if you’re not used to coming up with them. Teach your children that their ideas matter, and listen to any ideas they come up with, with your full attention and interest -- it will make them more comfortable with generating ideas and help them become more confident in explaining and executing them.
4. "Life is hard to predict."
If you start a business with a solid plan and a stubborn mindset, you’re probably going to collapse at the first sign of trouble. The truth is, it’s impossible to predict everything. Your market research may reveal itself to be inaccurate; a new competitor could emerge; or your market could be disrupted.
Teaching your kids that life is unpredictable helps them avoid focusing too much on any one idea or any one path. It helps them develop skills of adaptation and flexibility, which are essential in building a successful business.
5. "Good decisions take time."
Sometimes, decisions are easy and obvious, but other times, the answer is fuzzier. Either way, there are right and wrong ways to make decisions. In childhood, your kids will be deciding what T-shirt to wear to school, but teaching a healthy decision-making rubric can lead them to make better decisions even when they’re leading multi-million dollar enterprises.
Help your children understand the difference between instincts and objective information and show them how to break down the pros and cons of different decision options. That knowledge will help them in countless areas.
6. "Listening is important."
Listening is the single most important communication skill your children can possess. Through listening, they’ll be able to form better partnerships and friendships and communicate more effectively; they’ll be seen with more respect and will develop a better understanding for what makes people tick, making them better salespeople and marketers.
It’s hard to teach “listening” as a skill, but one of the best things to do is to show in your own life that you’re an active listener, leading by example.
There’s no guarantee, of course, that instilling these lessons will magically make your kids become entrepreneurs -- some people are just born to be entrepreneurs and others are not. But no matter what they choose, these valuable lessons will make them confident in their decision-making abilities, focused in pursuit of what makes them happy and ultimately, more satisfied with their lives.
So, try to weave these lessons into your daily lives and remind your children of what’s most important.