en-tre-pre-neur

originally published on 5/12/17

 

 

‘the most dangerous thing you can do in life is play it safe’ – Casey Neistat

 

Sit down.  Don’t talk.  Raise your hand.  Stay in line.  Don’t be late.  Quiet down.  Put that away.  Share.  Read this.  Watch that.  You can eat now.  Play like this.  Don’t speak out. Settle down.  Be prepared. 

This is what our kids are told…time and time again.  What must become slowly and steadily ingrained is the idea that they should all conform, follow the crowd, learn how everyone else does, choose a career, spend a lot of money to study within that field with a college education, find a company to work for, and work…so that you can afford things like a car and a house and a latte…then, they will be successful. 

Are we introducing and exposing our children to enough entrepreneurial ideas to truly let them know about other options they may have?  At Concord High School, I can remember one single unit within I believe an Economics class.  Mr. Denoncourt worked so hard with us to help us pronounce the word en-tre-pre-neur.  I said it wrong until college.  I don’t remember a single thing from that unit we studied however…but I’m sure it was thorough in explaining the option for citizens to…yippee! start your own business!  You could make and sell cookies with your mom, or you could design a t-shirt, and sell it out of the trunk of your car.  I’m sure the text book detailed some of the easier fields to enter as a business starter, like construction, landscaping, or dog walking.  I’m sure one of the bolded subject headings was ‘be your own boss’, and we probably discussed as a class the pros and cons to running your own company. Mr Denoncourt was genuine in his efforts, I am sure.  But all I remember is äntrəprəˈnər.  

Considering the loyalty once involved in working for a company, and the lack of commitment and loyalty in present times, we owe it to our kids to expose them to more.  One unit is not enough.  I’m sure there was more within my high school curriculum and I just missed it…I was in a fog most of the time.  But I know there wasn’t enough.  

Years ago, one could be very secure in choosing a company to work for, sticking with that job for many years, and then retiring with a good sized pension to ride off into the sunset with. It is not the same today.  It’s predicted that our youngest workers will hold around 12-15 jobs in their lifetime.  It’s also commonly noted that the average worker will make 5-7 career changes during there career.  It is simply a very different workplace.

Speak out.  Hustle.  Grind.  Don’t sleep.  Find a loophole.  Challenge authority. Follow your gut. The time is right now.  Make your own line to stand in.  You are creative.  Develop grit. Ask more questions.  Better questions.  Come up with ideas.  More than that.  Start something now.  Take the risk.  Don’t seek comfort.  Don’t listen to me.  Do whatever the #%@$ you want to do, whenever the #%@$ you want to do it.  

What if these were some ideas we showered our kids with?  That’s it…I’m starting a school, and the paragraph above will serve as the uncommon core curriculum.  The mission statement will have to be, ‘do whatever the #%@$ you want to do, whenever the #%@$ you want to do it’.  When I step back and think, that phrase can simply define success like no other.  Children and adults alike could find so much happiness and success by first searching, finding, discovering, and identifying their own passions and loves…and then working, playing, and living within those areas as much as possible.  I’m not sure our schools, our communities, our parents, our culture is set up for that.  

I want my daughter Matilda to know that there are many paths.  And that she has many choices.  She’ll be able to pronounce entrepreneur this year.  I’m going to introduce her to my uncommon curriculum…though I might leave out the do whatever you want part for now.  I’m still figuring this parenting thing out.  She will though, be able to dream something up, take a risk, and even fail, knowing that she’ll have help to get up and find a different way.

In the short term, we’re starting a small farm stand called The Grower’s Daughter.  Matilda is very excited about this.  She’ll be selling some plants we started from seed, some breads that we made, cookies, vegetables and honey in the Fall, and whatever else comes to mind.  The Grand Opening is tomorrow from 11-1pm at our house…so please stop by to say hello!  I’m hoping that this new adventure will play a small part in helping her develop some skills, passion, and even some hustle.  


Music:  Here is a beautiful song called Cherry Wine by Hozier.  It actually raised awareness and funds for domestic violence.  Enjoy!

gamble on a school night

‘a ship is safe in harbor, but that’s not what ships are for’  – William Shedd

 

Spontaneity.  It was 1998.  I was a senior in high school, and it was a school night.  I was sleeping over my friends house though, and two other guys were staying over too.  My host-friend suggests that because his mom is asleep (must have been 9 or 10pm), we should take her car and drive to Foxwoods Casino.  We can have the car back before she wakes up, and even make it to school first thing in morning.  


I was never spontaneous.  I’d say I was nervous, shy, scared of the unknown, and therefore calculated and somewhat structured in my ways.  When this journey to Connecticut from Concord, NH was brought up, I probably started asking, ‘well ok, how long does it take to get there?  Do we all have enough money?  How old do you have to be to enter a Casino…to gamble?  What classes do we have in the morning, and what time do we have to be back…exactly?  And that means we’ll have to leave Foxwoods to return at blah blah blah.  I can see my friend smirking now…and telling me that none of that matters.  We’re just going.  


Somehow we actually did make it to Foxwoods and started gambling.  When we were huddled around my friend at one of the tables as he was doing well, we noticed security guards in nice suits approaching.  They split us up and asked us questions.  Mostly about our age or birth dates.  Then they told my friend to cash out on his winnings, and told us all to get lost. We got home in time to quietly push the car back into my friend’s garage, and sneak into his room as though we’d been there all night.  His mom had to know.  But she never showed it.  We went to school on maybe a half hour of sleep.  But the stories and excitement were enough to make that next day, one of the best days of my high school career.  Today, as I did that day, I can reflect on the awesome feelings of freedom, bravery, risk, adrenaline, and a sense of brotherly love that this experience created for me.  

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I wish I figured out then that spontaneity was special.  It was part of that experience.  It was central to it, and key to the everlasting memory it solidified within me.  I wasn’t at all self-aware then though.  I probably couldn’t pronounce spontaneity.  And even though I was easily influenced by others and did have fun doing crazy things in the following years, I never embraced the idea of improvising in my life.  I needed a script. 

A couple of weeks ago, I quickly grabbed a couple of snacks, some wipes, my new cheap and obnoxious mirror lens sunglasses, and Matilda, and hopped in the car without knowing where we were going.  I know…you probably do this like every weekend.  But I couldn’t think back to when I had last done it.  Kind of made me sad.  Anyway, I still live in Concord, NH.  And what I love about my geographic location is that all within about one hour away…I can drive North to the White mountains, east to the ocean, or south to the city of Boston.  All great options.  Matilda asked where we were going.  ‘I don’t know Til…we’re just going on an adventure…and we get to choose where we go.’  I told her that I was now leaning toward Portsmouth over on the coast, but then I remembered those fun books I used to read and I told her this is called ‘choose your own adventure…and you get to choose!’  She said she didn’t really want to go to Portsmouth, and wanted to go to Mother and Child, a pretty hip consignment shop in Amherst that her mom had brought her to.  So that was it!  We found a cool dress for her, played hide and seek in all the clothes, and upset one of the old employees who thought we were being too loud.  It wasn’t Foxwoods.  It was incredibly fun though. Matilda was able to choose it.  And that morning, I never would have guessed that this experience would have been in my future.  

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don’t try this at home


I noticed a huge change within myself after having a child.  Matilda has helped me learn so many great things…one of them being the ability to ’embrace spontaneity’.  Children often live in the moment.  Not reflecting on previous behaviors.  Not planning out the steps to our future.  Simply enjoying this moment.  They make quick, thoughtless decisions based on passion, desire, love.  They often don’t know the consequences of making the wrong choice, choosing the wrong person, wearing the miscalculated dress, or chomping on Nerds candy instead of an organic apple.  

Don’t let fear get in the way of being spontaneous.  Embrace the risk involved.  Acknowledge an uncomfortable feeling, but let yourself be ok there…and remember how much you can learn there.  About yourself and others.  Go on more ‘choose your own adventures’, let your kid choose their own outfit and then splash in the puddles, jump on the bed with them, and eat lots more Nerds.    

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could be my favorite pic of all time

 

music:  One of the best guitar players in the world.  Prolific writer.  Pop, electric, or acoustic. Every album is good…including his new ‘The Search for Everything’.  John Mayer.  Click here and check this out!