If You Own a Business, It's Your Job to Build Your Skills
Today, I'm starting a new volunteer gig that helps me build entrepreneurial skills for myself. I'm volunteering with the Dive Into Summer program for Title I Manatee County schools. The purpose is to help second and third grade children with poor reading skills increase their reading level over the summer.
Here's a tip for you if you are a business owner – to build your entrepreneurial skills, go do something that is outside your comfort zone. This is how we stretch ourselves and learn to take risks – and entrepreneurship is all about taking risks!
For me, it's been a long time since I've sat down to teach a child. I spend my life helping adults who want to grow a business. I encourage, mentor, and teach each client I have how to push past fear and be more successful in their business. So it's only fair that I put myself into a situation where I am pushing past my own discomfort and going off to try something new.
Leadership Is Part of Your Entrepreneurial Skill Set
As leaders and owners of our own businesses, we need to get used to getting ourselves outside of our comfort zone. It really should be almost a daily thing. Find something that you haven't tried before and commit to it. Doing something that challenges us, so that we develop personally, builds us up. Additionally, we get a different perspective, about our own business in terms of what it is that we're doing and how it is that we effect people.
When I volunteered to be matched up with an elementary school kid, I didn't know who I was going to get. As it turned out, I was matched up with a 2nd grade boy, who has a twin brother, and who is reading at a kindergarten level even though he is in second grade. Today, his challenge was to recognize new words, including “the” and “animal.” My challenge was to quickly discern his needs and create a way to make reading a book that was way over his head fun – to hold his attention. Doing that used my own entrepreneurial skills – it's just the same as engaging a prospect and helping them see how you can help solve their problem, right?
Our Responsibility as Entrepreneurs and as Humans
Besides taking on challenges that develop our entrepreneurial skills, I believe that it's up to us to find a way to serve others. I don't know how much I'll be able to help this little guy, but it's my job to give it my best and adapt quickly to keep his attention. I believe it's up to each of us to throw a rock in the pond and see where the ripples go. We have an impact, for bad or good, on the people around us. To me, if I can help even one little kid learn to love reading or improve their reading level, that's a success. Just as I help develop knowledge and skills with my clients, I can help a child develop his reading skills and love of reading.
The message is that it's our job to find something every week that develops us, that builds our entrepreneurial skills. While it's vital to develop our clients and customers, it's equally important for us to to develop ourselves. What can you do this week that pushes your comfort zone a little bit? Being a business owner really is all about pushing against our comfort zones. That's how we build our business. That's how we expand our reach and our visibility. Pick one thing that pushes you this week, and develop those entrepreneurial skills. You can read more about entrepreneurial courage in this article, too.