Community//

4 Lessons a Group of 4th Graders Taught Me About Entrepreneurship

Seeing through children's eyes for one day reminded me of four critical lessons that apply in life and in business.

“Sometimes you will never know the value of a moment, until it becomes a memory.” —Dr. Seuss.

Adults, especially busy entrepreneurs, often forget to see the world as “magical.” Kids, on the other hand, still have that sense of fascination and magic with all they see and do. They are awed and inspired by their surroundings. Each experience is new, different and inviting.

As we grow older we tend to replace the magic in our lives with tasks. Our plates become filled with obligations: the unexpected call from a customer that just added 10 more to-dos to your list, or that employee issue that came out of nowhere. We rarely slow down to notice the magic in our day-to-day lives because to us, it looks the same as yesterday. But is it really the same, or are we just ignoring what is right in front of us?

Recently, a group of 4th graders reminded me of the magic that exists in entrepreneurship. It started with their principal reaching out to my company to request a tour of our new office. He had seen an article about how we had designed the space to optimize the way people like to work, learn and interact together. The article inspired him to provide his students with a closer look at how STEM-driven companies work.

Admittedly, I was very hesitant at first. What would we talk to these kids about? What would we do with them? We’re a digital strategy and technology development agency focused on innovation for the life sciences. This wouldn’t be as exciting as a field trip to the science museum. But, our team was excited about the visit and saw possibility where I didn’t initially. So, I cautiously complied.

Don’t let uncertainty stop you

And that was my first lesson. While uncertainty in some situations can be a good indicator that you may need to take a risk assessment, in most cases, unwarranted fears can close you off from opportunity.

Luckily, my team saw the opportunity. They went to work planning ideas for the big visit. On the day of the visit, we took the students on a tour of our office. Our engineering team led an activity teaching the basics of coding and programming using OZObots and making peanut-butter-and-jelly sandwiches. Students, chaperones, school staff, and meltmedia employees were delighted by the experience.

While I had been so worried about, and focused on, what we would teach the students, they were teaching me a few other lessons.

Don’t overlook the seemingly insignificant

Following the visit, the principal shared photos of his school’s newly redesigned classrooms. He had thoughtfully laid out each space to inspire creativity and collaboration, inspired in part by his learning about meltmedia’s office design. And that’s when it dawned on me: as entrepreneurs, it’s easy to get caught up in the notion that we only make an impact when we do things on a grandiose scale. But often it’s the things we take for granted or overlook that have the greatest effect.

There are so many ways entrepreneurship touches lives that we have never imagined. Recognize that you are building an environment for others to be creative and purposeful. Because of your idea, passion, or perhaps the physical space you’ve built, people are able to learn, interact, socialize, invent and explore. The products or the services you provide are the end result of the “magic” that is created when your people come together to make it all happen. This magic radiates out in so many other ways. From the clients we touch to the families that are part of our company, the communities we are part of, the economies we contribute to, and to the children that become our next generation.

Take the time today to celebrate your magic and the seemingly insignificant, whether that’s how you’re helping clients, the jobs you’re creating, or the inspiration and positive change you helped evoke in a colleague, employee or the community.

Be cognizant of your “tiny” actions

Steve Jobs once said, “Things don’t have to change the world to be important.” It could be your company’s core values, your leadership approach, the content you put out there, or even advice you give someone in passing that sparks an idea or completely changes the trajectory of that person’s career. It could even be through modeling inspirational behavior to your team or lending an ear when they need it –– in countless ways entrepreneurs have the ability to create tremendous impact, whether tangible or intangible. Recognizing that helped me see the “magic” of entrepreneurship and reminded me that others are watching our subtlest of actions, so be purposeful and intentional in everything you do.  

You’re more interesting than you think you are

Initially, I didn’t think we had anything to offer these students. Yes, I’m proud of the work we do and the environment we’ve built, but who outside of our industry or fellow entrepreneurs would find it as fascinating as I do? This limiting thought almost prevented us from allowing these students in and promoting a positive change in the way they engage in the classroom setting.

It’s easy and safe not to put yourself or your company out there for fear others won’t gain from it some way or find it exciting. But you never know who will clean even the smallest inspiration from your story.

You don’t have to go as far as inviting a group of students to tour your office; simply take a moment to look around at what you’ve created. It just might change your perspective and remind you what you are doing––even the day-to-day tasks––are making a difference. Embrace the magic of entrepreneurship.

    The Thrive Global Community welcomes voices from many spheres. We publish pieces written by outside contributors with a wide range of opinions, which don’t necessarily reflect our own. Learn more or join us as a community member!
    Share your comments below. Please read our commenting guidelines before posting. If you have a concern about a comment, report it here.

    You might also like...

    Community//

    The healing is coming, I promise

    by Cherie-Ann Darling
    Community//

    Magic Beans

    by Kay Bolden
    Community//

    The Life-Changing Magic of Noticing

    by Justine Clement

    Sign up for the Thrive Global newsletter

    Will be used in accordance with our privacy policy.

    Thrive Global
    People look for retreats for themselves, in the country, by the coast, or in the hills . . . There is nowhere that a person can find a more peaceful and trouble-free retreat than in his own mind. . . . So constantly give yourself this retreat, and renew yourself.

    - MARCUS AURELIUS

    We use cookies on our site to give you the best experience possible. By continuing to browse the site, you agree to this use. For more information on how we use cookies, see our Privacy Policy.