How can we reinvent ourselves in times of uncertainty?
Talking about reinventing something implies changing some paradigms; and new paradigms demand, without exception, new forms.
After the 2020 that we live, it is very comforting to see how, to some extent, the world narrative is changing to words like “recovery”, “reactivation”, among many others that bring with them a dose of hope. Many times we have fallen into the temptation of wishing that things were as before, I understand that, to be able to recover a little from the freedom of being surrounded by many people without worries, to being able to hug that person who, out of care, You haven't gotten closer than five feet to him in a year, going from being able to smile at someone without a mask hiding it. All this has led me to make a series of reflections on whether we really want to go back to how the world was in 2019 or, although we can take advantage of this situation to incorporate a new word into the narrative: “reinvention”.
Talking about reinventing something implies changing some paradigms; and new paradigms demand, without exception, new forms. That is why, although I normally write about attitudes or skills that entrepreneurs can develop to apply to their businesses, this time I want to speak with a different approach, starting from attitudes or skills that everyone, regardless of age, gender, occupation , or beliefs, we can learn and adopt from entrepreneurs.
These last few months, marked by uncertainty, loss and fear, have reminded us of the value of a skill that, despite being taught it to us as children, we often forget when we are adults: empathy. This "ability to put yourself in the shoes of others" often represents a great challenge in a world in which the temptation to think first and only of oneself is increasing. But the reality is that entrepreneurship teaches us that the first step to design a successful product or service is precisely empathy with the customer or user, in order to understand the problem from their perspective and generate a solution that better fits with their need. Paying attention to people, wanting to listen to them and constantly seeking to generate value for them, are translations of empathy that make it a fundamental attitude in the success, not only of any company, but of any society.
On the other hand, another attitude that must be present in the DNA of any entrepreneur is the adaptability of knowing that not everything is in our control, and that we can take advantage of the situations that arise. If you ask an entrepreneur if his first business idea is the same as the one he ends up launching on the market, he will most likely at least tell you that it has some variations. The reality is that many will tell you that it has little to do with it. Although it is true that human beings have had the ability to adapt since the beginning of time, every day we are presented with the opportunity to get out of our comfort zones and realize that what is different is, many times, even better. than we expected.
Another attitude that I consider worth learning from many entrepreneurs is the strategic vision. On the one hand, every entrepreneur has a great dream, but they are the ones who land that dream and use the tools available to empower it, who end up setting the standard. For this, it is important to have a clear vision of what you want to achieve, but also knowledge (or, where appropriate, curiosity), to do it in the optimal and effective way. Strategy is often thought to be something that is raised each year-end with extensive sessions for reflection. And, while they can help, it is of little use if static concepts and unattainable metrics are concluded. In times as changing as we live in, it is important to be clear about our "moonshot" and be flexible to achieve it, without losing sight of our essence.
The fourth skill that I consider important to learn from an entrepreneur is teamwork. Always starting from the fact that we do not know everything and that we are the average of the five people with whom we spend the most time, as Jim Rohn used to say, an entrepreneur seeks to surround himself with people who, on the one hand, complement him, and on the other hand another, nurture it. If we have learned anything in this pandemic, it is the importance of "the collective". In the end, society is a great team and that is the way we have to behave: knowing that, if we want to reach the goal, we all have to do what we have to do.
Last but not least is passion . It is reinvigorating to listen to an entrepreneur talking about his business model or making a pitch. That passion that characterizes them and that makes them work hard and go to bed with the satisfaction of building "something", which, although it is not exclusive to entrepreneurs, does characterize them. Viktor Frankl used to say that “whoever has a reason to live, is capable of supporting any how”. I hope that we are able to take the experience we have lived to reflect on what motivates us and our own life mission, so that this is our greatest undertaking.
Without a doubt, we continue to face many challenges as a society. But if we think about it, truly the history of humanity has been one of challenges, learnings and reinventions. Hopefully we will take advantage of the following months for ourselves, betting on an economic reactivation, but one that looks beyond: that is more fair, sustainable and empathetic, so that, more than just reactivating ourselves, we are able to reinvent ourselves.
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