The Three Ingredients of an Entrepreneurial Mindset

Sept 2021, Sawsan Khuri. This blog is a summary of an interactive webinar Sawsan gave on the Entrepreneurial Mindset to the Lucidity Network in September 2021.

Quoting Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr, “A mind that is stretched by a new experience can never go back to its old dimensions”. An entrepreneurial mindset is stretched by the continuous process of learning and it does not stop there.

The first ingredient in developing an entrepreneurial mindset is to be open to learning from mistakes as well as from what works, and to never stop being open to learning. However, it is not enough to passively receive information – we need to think about our new knowledge and how we can apply it to our world. The process of learning truly begins when we begin to think about the information we’ve taken in, reason with it, form links with past information and decide what we want to do with it. It might fit within our personal schema, our comfort zone, stuff we understand well … or spin us into a new area we’ve never understood before. An entrepreneurial mindset allows new learnings to spin us out of our comfort zone and into a new action.

Entrepreneurship is about venturing into the unknown, testing a theory to see if it has any potential benefits to those around you. Venturing into the unknown comes with its uncertainties and with uncertainty may come failure. The way we see failure impacts our ability to develop an entrepreneurial mindset. Failure should be seen as another opportunity to learn, as Thomas Edison said, ‘I have not failed. I have just found 10,000 ways that won’t work’. Failure should be treated as a valuable learning experience and not something we fear but rather something we welcome because we know that it will be beneficial in the long run.

The second ingredient is to act! This involves translating this information into your behaviours and practising what you have learnt. Acting on ideas requires you to have a vision and to remain flexible with how you might achieve it. It is important to be confident enough to trust your instinct during this process – ask yourself why you care about the new learning and the idea that it sparked. Allow that “why” to inform your next steps and evolve you into that someone with more experience and more confidence.

The third ingredient? Practice learning and acting. Practice makes habit. Repeat the learning and acting cycle until it becomes second nature, until you forget what it was that you were afraid of before you started. This is where the fear from uncertainty turns into excitement and recognising opportunities for what they are, and this builds your confidence and resilience.

An entrepreneurial mindset lives by this motto: Learn, achieve, evolve, repeat, coined by Sawsan Khuri in 2009. Learn something new, achieve something with the new knowledge, evolve into your next maturity and repeat.