Why the Entrepreneurial Spirit is the Answer
en·tre·pre·neur (ŏn’trə-prə-nûr’, -nŏŏr’) n. A person who organizes, operates, and assumes the risk of a business venture for economic gain.
As my friend and mentor, entrepreneur Bernie Simpkins commented, “It is easier to make money than manage it.” In other words, it is easier to build or create than to keep and sustain. That is not only true with a business or with finances, it is also true of the spirit that ignites and inspires new businesses.
The attitude of the entrepreneur is about growth, not status quo. I believe we are all entrepreneurs at heart, and inspiration lies in all of us. In 1900, 90 percent of the country was self-employed. So where is the entrepreneur today?
What Have We Lost?
Through the years we have lost our spirit of independence. Fear and the avoidance of pain have driven us from our intended purpose in life. We live for a “comfort zone” where someone else (primarily the government) is responsible to take care of us.
Why is the entrepreneur the answer to our crisis?
The underlying goal of every entrepreneur is freedom. The most fundamental element of the entrepreneurial spirit is the ability to overcome extraordinary pain and fear to persevere for a reward greater than their current situation. In order to have freedom you will have pain, but the entrepreneur realizes that the pain of being trapped is worse than the courage to act. Rick Warren, pastor and author of The Purpose Driven Life, said it best: “Life is understanding that pain and joy coexist; you are either entering a storm, in a storm or coming out of a storm.” Our society has developed a “Big Brother” mentality in which our parents, employers, or government are supposed to protect us and keep us pain free. In doing so we are creating an environment that is stifling entrepreneurial opportunity and freedom.
What Do We Need?
Character and courage are what we need. Character is not concerned with who is right, only what is right. As government tries to fulfill every promise made by passing bills with all kinds of hidden line items that nobody has read, representatives somehow continue to believe they have fought a good fight for the people they serve. As business owners, we would never dream of not reading through and understanding documents that affect our business and our employees; why can they?
The unintended consequence of this behavior is far-reaching. We need to elect men and women who understand that government’s job is to protect our liberties and pursuit of freedom, not provide them.
Here’s an example of promises that can’t be kept and should not have been made by politicians: In Florida alone, Medicaid/Medicare is over 35% of our budget and the Baby Boomers are not even fully using it yet. And we wonder why we can’t fund education? Why is it the government’s responsibility, which ultimately means you and me, to pay for everyone’s medical costs? But instead of making sacrifices deemed too painful, we will just continue to turn our heads to the problem. We don’t have time to break down the promises and the pitfalls of Social Security in this article.
As one person said, “The Wizard of Oz is 70 years old. Today, if Dorothy were to encounter men with no brains, no hearts, and no courage she wouldn’t be in Oz – she’d be in Congress.”
What Is the Missing Element?
I’ve said it so many times before: Personal Responsibility. The entrepreneur takes personal responsibility for his/her life and in doing so provides opportunity to others. The ability to achieve freedom means you must first be accountable for yourself. The ultimate dilemma we face today is the majority of people in our country want freedom but they don’t want to take responsibility or be accountable for it.
Make no mistake that economic recovery will only come from inspiring the entrepreneurial spirit in our country. The small business sector is where real jobs are created. Regardless of all the fancy talk and promises, turnaround will come by creating policies and processes that inspire instead of programs that handcuff. In the meantime, try a little personal accountability and responsibility. Start the day by refusing to blame, criticize, or depend on someone else for your situation and instead start on a path of doing something about it yourself.
en·tre·pre·neur (ŏn’trə-prə-nûr’, -nŏŏr’) n. A person who stimulates the mind, inspires the soul and acts with courage in the pursuit of freedom. Now that’s the American Way!