Ask me how many times I have to write “entrepreneurship” just to spell it right. Entrepreneurship is something I have to explain to everyone I meet. “How do you study that? Wouldn’t it be more beneficial to just start a company?” Those are valid questions! The term itself is somewhat ambiguous. But here is what I’ve learned: Entrepreneurship is a mindset.
Would starting a company help flesh out this entrepreneurial mindset? You bet. Is it necessary to start a company to be an entrepreneur? Absolutely not.
Entrepreneurs are fearful, passionate, ambitious and driven people who want to work toward a specific cause, according to Entrepreneur.com. You must be willing to jump into something without asking for permission, which is why starting a business is so closely associated with that word. But you can seek to make a difference within your own occupation, family or campus career. I, of all people, know that can be difficult. I make every decision based on validation from my friends and family — a habit I’m slowly learning to break by thrusting myself into things.
In my Entrepreneurship 1010 class, taught by Mark Cook at the University of Utah, I learned about people who excel no matter what their lifestyle may be. I was particularly impacted by the story of a man who took out the trash every day in a hospital. One of the rooms he serviced was that of a small child who was admitted for a terminal disease. Both the child and his family were startled each time a custodian abruptly knocked and intruded, going about their tasks routinely. However, this special custodian was soft and kind. He would entertain the family and engage the child in meaningful conversation. He cared. He had an entrepreneurial mindset; he sought to make a difference in his own way. In so doing, he changed the world—or at least this small family’s world.
So next time you’re overwhelmed with the task of making an impact in the world, just remember that starting small within your element will ultimately make the biggest difference in your own life and in the lives of others. I may not be able to spell entrepreneurship, but I am inspired by my definition of it. I challenge you to define it for yourself.