At the core of each of us is the courage of an entrepreneur. We all have the ability to step out of our comfort zones to accomplish great things.
The entrepreneurial mindset, courage, is derived from Latin “cor,” referring to the heart. At VentureLab, we see entrepreneurship as not just about starting a business, but as a mindset and “heartset.” And courage is at the core.
But courage doesn’t have to stand on its own. When courage is combined with other mindsets and skills, entrepreneurs can accomplish truly remarkable things.
It takes courage + confidence to look within yourself to know your passions, interests, strengths, and areas of growth.
It takes courage + curiosity to question the way things are “normally” done.
It takes courage + empathy to look outside of yourself and seek opportunities to help others.
It takes courage + creativity to innovate when the results are uncertain. There is no guarantee of success.
It takes courage + a growth mindset to say, “I don’t know, but I will find out” and “It didn’t work, yet.”
It takes courage + persistence and grit to keep going when faced with challenging circumstances and moments of failure.
It takes courage + optimism to share your ideas with the possibility of criticism and rejection.
It takes courage + teamwork with a diverse group of thinkers and doers to creatively solve problems.
Knowing the importance of courage, how do you cultivate it in your youth?
3 Ways to Instill Courage in Youth
1. Start young
“The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now.” -Chinese proverb
Youth, and especially girls, begin to determine their aptitudes as early as second and third grade so it is crucial to instill courage and the rest of the entrepreneurial mindsets early on.
Dr. Cristal Glangchai, founder and Chief Innovation Officer, created VentureLab while working with Trinity University college students in San Antonio. She noted that the young women in her class “lacked confidence and feared failure” in stark contrast to the male students who answered questions “seemingly without worrying about embarrassing themselves if they were wrong.” She began teaching entrepreneurial mindsets and skills to her 5-year-old daughters and saw how quickly their confidence and courage improved.
Hear Dr. Glangchai talk about her story:
2. Encourage students to get out of their comfort zones
These zones of comfort are different for everyone and vary depending on the context. From the playground to the classroom, academic to social, look for moments to encourage youth to practice and grow their courage by taking a step into their “uncomfortable” zone.
You might encourage youth to:
- ask questions when they don’t understand
- play a new/different game at recess
- take the lead on a group project
- sit with someone new during lunch
- share their feelings about a situation with a friend or an adult
- say no or yes to something they’re not comfortable doing
- say the truth even when it’s hard
- have patience
- talk about creative ideas to new people
TIP: Your ability to give courage, and the students willingness to receive it depends on the relationship and trust you’ve established with them. Keep this mind when doling out encouragement.
3. Model failing with courage
“Failure is another stepping stone to greatness.” -Oprah Winfrey
Entrepreneurs see mistakes as ways to learn new things. Embracing, rather than fearing failure, requires courage and can build self-confidence. Share your stories of failures and how you applied courage (heart) to persist and keep going.
Be real with youth and acknowledge that it was challenging and there were moments of doubt, but in the end that it was a valuable learning experience. Want to learn more about how to model failure with courage? Check out our Embracing Failure blog post!
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