Why Entrepreneurial Thinking Is For Everyone Now

The world has changed. The world of work has changed. Many of the assumptions that have guided how we think about careers in America are no longer true.

We can no longer expect to find a job, instead we must make our jobs, we have to find a way to add value in a way no one else can. For entrepreneurs, it’s differentiate or die — that now goes for all of us.

What role does passion play in a good career plan — if any?

Definitely plays a role. When you’re passionate about something, you tend to do better work, longer. The question is whether you find passion or develop it through competence. And then how you square passion with other considerations — such as your aspirations and the market realities. So, passion is key, yes, but it’s rather more complicated than many career writers would have you think. Passion without being good at it doesn’t get you very far; passion that no one will pay money for is also limited in scope. You need to weigh various factors, passion being one of them.

Is “entrepreneurial thinking” the new word for a type of thinking that has always existed?

All humans were born with entrepreneurial instincts. We quote Muhammad Yunus to this effect — he said that for a very long time humans forged lives by finding food, feeding ourselves. The instinct to create a life is deep within us. What’s new are the specific skills that complement that instinct — the skills for adapting in the modern world.

What is the No.1 misconception of people heading into a new career or looking to make a job transition?

That if you simply work hard, good things will happen. It certainly increases the odds, but working hard is no guarantee of anything. There are no guarantees, period.The question is whether you find passion or develop it through competence.

How important is being comfortable with uncertainty?

Anything worth doing is going to have degrees of uncertainty associated with it. Clamming up and treating any uncertainty as “risk” to be avoided will preclude you from seizing the very best opportunities. So, it’s important. How you actually go about embracing risk and uncertainty is something we detail in the book. One tip: induce risk in small chunks, bit by bit, to raise your tolerance.

Start an “Interesting People Fund”

Set aside time and money in advance to keep your networks up to date. The interesting people fund is a pre-commitment strategy: by pre-committing time and money to meeting interesting people, you increase the likelihood that you actually do it.

Because many people know they ought to do it, and think about doing it, but when push comes to shove and it’s time to take an hour out of your day or spend $40 buying someone lunch — they punt on it.
In terms of the long view of networks, if you’re not taking the long view, you’re doing it wrong. Relationships — be it romantic, friendship, or professional – take time to develop. A lot of time. Rushing a relationship into a short term transaction can jeopardize the long-term relationship potential.

 If you struggle financially, upgrade your social skills. Money flows through people.

Every opportunity is attached to a person. Opportunities do not float like clouds in the sky. They’re attached to people. If you’re looking for an opportunity — including one that has a financial payoff — you’re really looking for a person.