Purpose-driven Entrepreneurship (bis)

I’ve been writing a lot about being purpose-driven, about ecology, about economy, but I haven’t actually wrote about entrepreneurship (which is at least as important as the purpose-driven part). Being an entrepreneur is not about owning or starting an organization, being an entrepreneur is about noticing a (market)need or -problem, and acting on that. Being a purpose-driven entrepreneur is about creating social value and improving society.

Being an entrepreneur is extremely fun, and changing this world for the better is a noble pursuit. Then why aren’t more people entrepreneurs? Seth Godin recently wrote a post on four lies about entrepreneurship (you can read the post here). I would like to discuss the four lies as described by Godin.

The first lie is that you’re going to need far more talent than you were born with.

This is something I discussed earlier in my post on the imposter syndrome. Being talented is one of the most overrated things in the world. Talent might give you a head start, but it won’t let you win the race. Hard work is very important. Hard work will make you good. It might even make you great. What distinguishes the gods from the great is amateurism.

The second lie is that the people who are leading in the new connection economy got there because they have something you don’t.

The interesting thing about the connection economy is this: the only way to really connect with anyone is by having a conversation with others. Broadcast your message in whatever way suits you the best. Be open to feedback, defend your point of view fiercely but most of all, go out, do something (anything that gets you started), and share your story with others.

The connection economy isn’t based on steel or rails or buildings. It’s built on trust and hope and passion.

The future belongs to those that care and those that believe.

There’s this very interesting thing I’ve noticed and heard from others as well: once you say you’re capable of a special skill, people will believe you. And once you’ve said out loud that you’re good at something, the last thing you want to do is fail miserably, so you’ll learn harder and more efficient than you’ve ever had.

Don’t wait until you’ve mastered every single skill you think you might need. Learn by doing, stand up, take responsibility and see where it takes you.

The third lie is that you have to be chosen.

John Lennon gave a legendary interview for Playboy back in 1980 on being chosen. Last week, Gavin Aung Than (Zen Pencils) drew this beautiful comic of John’s reply on  what the Eighties’ dream was to him.


The fourth lie is that we’re not afraid.

Everyone’s afraid. Once you’ve put yourself on the front row, it’s easier to get noticed when things go wrong. There’s also nothing wrong with being afraid. Being afraid pretty much got us as a species to where we are today. So it’s not about learning how not to be afraid, it’s about not getting paralyzed by fear. There’s two things you should look into if you feel as if you’re not getting further with a project:

  • The Spotlight-effect: It’s helpful to remind yourself once in a while that the social spotlight doesn’t shine as brightly on us as we believe.
  • Your lizard-brain:  Your lizard brain is here to stay, and your job is to figure out how to quiet it and ignore it.

About leyssensjan

Jan Leyssens is a designer and entrepreneur who strongly believes you can’t turn sustainability into a positive story if your main focus is on negative impact. When designing, he is always looking for the overlap between activism and entrepreneurship, technology and community. His main expertise lies in strategic business model development, Circular Economy, the makermovement, and social innovation. With a background in Industrial Design, Jan quickly shifted his focus towards business design and using the design process in strategic management. Jan is the father of two kids and founder & CEO of Regenerative Design, co-founder of Full Circle, ImpactBoost, and the Circular Design map, podcaster, storyteller, and changemaker.

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