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Breaking Barriers

Economic growth is important for the well being of families, communities, and cultures. Economic growth cannot occur without a certain degree of inspiration that leads to innovation. The myth that only certain people are inspired needs to be dispelled, and what needs to be realized is that anyone, regardless of their current state in life can be inspired, express their creativity, and be innovative enough to start something that can blossom and flourish into an entrepreneurial enterprise that not only enhances themselves, rather also it enhances everyone impacted by it.

It is important to recognize what hinders the entrepreneurial mindset from being developed and groomed in our lives. When we are driven by fear based on negative economic forecasts or “doom and gloom” thinking, we shut down our own creativity. That creativity is the very thing that will shift both the individual and the collective mindset to a place of genuine hope that things can change. There are habitual actions that take place when we are driven by fear that mitigate against being innovative and entrepreneurial. Peter Senge has spoken often of “reactive learning” as a “learning disability” in his landmark work, “The Fifth Discipline”.

Senge’s observation in many situations is that we have learned how to react to circumstances where we are unconscious for the most part of the part we actually played in causing those circumstances to occur. As a result, we keep recycling the past instead of inventing the future. This becomes a “comfort zone” that is rather uncomfortable, because it locks us in between the tension of the fear of failure and the fear of success, and as Robert Fritz made plain in “The Path of Least Resistance” years ago, we end up in an oscillating pattern between these two poles and get locked into a paradigm that blocks our ability to see clearly and create freely.

We become all too committed to our comfort zones and then actually unconsciously defend our right to remain in a self-sabotaging state of inefficiency. Our observations of reality are skewed by our limited perceptions of what is unfolding before our eyes because we are doing what I heard as a phrase years ago in South Africa, “looking at the dawn through the eyes of yesterday’s sunset”.

When you continue to look at what is unfolding in the now through the fractured lens of what didn’t happen yesterday, you discount new interpretations of what is unfolding and opt for what is familiar because as uncomfortable as the familiar is, we have learned to trust it and rely on it. If we are going to be entrepreneurial, we have to leave the familiar and cross the threshold into liminal space, that in-between place where uncertainty looms large, and learn how to press through the uncertainty to new places that we are being invited to pioneer with creativity and innovation. “How can we improve things” is the question that drives the entrepreneurial mindset. Start asking it for yourself: “How can I improve the situations I am seeing and involved with?” Live with that question long enough and you will start getting some great answers. Act on those answers and you just might become an entrepreneur!

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