Empowerment and Self-Authorship – The Process of Becoming
We often hear from self-help gurus that we must empower ourselves. Envision our future and it will come true. Write the story of our life and it will come true. Yes, at their base, these ideas are good, but what does that really mean? How do we go about it? Are they separate or one in the same? Are they supposed to happen right away? And if they don’t am I a failure? I found the image above of a metamorphosis and thought it captured the sentiments I wanted to express in this blog perfectly - the idea of our potential.
There is such a rush to create ourselves. Students, in their late teens and early 20s, are taking entrepreneurial classes at colleges and university around the country. They are encouraged to create the latest trend and hopefully make millions in the process. Those who choose to skip college struggle in silence to find the next big idea. That is a lot of pressure! What all of them are missing is that it takes time. Time helps us find our voice, discover our strengths, and create something that embodies our unique gifts. Empowerment comes about through the process of self-authorship.
As I’ve come to learn, and studies are showing, that time benefits entrepreneurial ventures. I recently came across an article from the World Economic Forum. The article cited a recent MIT study showed that “the research looked at 2.7 million business start-ups between 2007 and 2014 and found the average age of people who founded a business and went on to hire at least one employee was 42.” Looking at statistics like this and understanding human development that occurs both within and outside of school, I have some ideas as to why this is the case. The path to entrepreneurship is essentially being a lifelong learner. Each phase has something to teach you, so you need to pay attention! You must to identify the big lessons you need to glean from each phase. Here is how I see those phases:
This is where we learn the foundational skills, both concrete (math, reading, science, etc.) and soft (self-control, emotional management, playing well with others, etc.). From what I’ve been reading online recently, these skills are what employers are looking for in applicants.
College or University
Two to six (or eight) years of post-secondary education builds upon the foundational skills you learned in the K-12. It helps you focus your learning (your college major) and sets the stage for transition to the workforce with a general or specific skill.
10-20 years of work experience is where you further hone in the skills you learned in college, and develop an expertise. You also begin to look around and see where your work environment is missing opportunities that you may be able to exploit.
This is the phase where you put all of your learning together to create something that reflects your unique perspective and contributions. This is where you reflect on all of your in-class and out-of-class learning experiences. It meant something, you learned something, you saw a gap and now have to figure out how to fill it.
As you can see, becoming a successful entrepreneur takes time. Please give it to yourself, but make sure you use that time wisely. Remember that you are learning, essentially doing recognizance, and forming an idea that will be your unique contribution to the world. If you enter college at 18, my timeline will place you at about 44 years old when you are in the entrepreneur phase. From the research, that is the sweet spot to make sure your entrepreneurial venture will likely to succeed. To be empowered, you must find your voice. You must become the author of your life..
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