Nurturing High Self-Esteem to Encourage Entrepreneurship By Galit Zamler
Entrepreneurs with high self-esteem are more daring, taking over a big responsibility and achieve more. Therefore, nurturing high self-esteem in childhood will enable growth and achievements.
It will be easier for us to nurture self-esteem if we accept Rabbi Nahman from Breslov's prospection, who said:
Know that each and every shepherd has a special melody.
Know that each kind of grass, has its own special song...
The courage to ask questions
Already in his early stages the entrepreneur understood that he must learn a lot to promote his project.
Part of the learning process is asking questions. An entrepreneur who fears to raise questions will learn things the hard way.
Each and every one of us has a field they're better at than others.
It might be possible that some fields were completely ignored, but that can't reflect our ability to succeed in life. If we find it right to ask questions, we should do that without fear.
In practice, sometimes we tend not to ask questions, so as not to harm our image with the reveal of a lack of knowledge. If this is why we do not ask, then this indicates precisely our lack of self-confidence. A person who feels comfortable to raise questions is a person with high self-esteem and has no problem exposing the lack of knowledge or lack of understanding in any topic.
First of all, an apology for mentioning this example due to a person's honor, but with this example, the subject comes across well:
One of the Israeli defense ministers toured the north of the country, and he received binoculars to observe the area.
Although he didn't see anything, he didn't ask why he couldn't see because, apparently, he felt that there was an expectation of a person in his class to know how to use binoculars, and if he asked, perhaps, he'd hurt his public image. But a person with self-confidence and high self-esteem would ask, and would not fear a question like that would harm his status.
The fear of asking questions apparently comes from those days in school or in different social gatherings when someone who would ask a question which got a response of giggles or mockery. Eventually, we repressed the desire to ask and receive questions. The solution for that is in education for tolerance.
From our experience, we have learned that in many cases there are people among those present who desire that someone else ask a question so they do not have to ask for themselves. I've learned that many times these giggles at your question come from those who don't know the correct answer themselves, whether because they are not experts on the subject or because they did not really understand the question. This reveals a lack of understanding, lack of self-confidence and arrogance.
Asking questions is important, even when everything seems clear, because in some cases we can find that one person means X and the other Y. Both sides are absolutely sure they understood each other, but only by asking questions and getting answers can we confirm our understanding. There have been more than a few mistakes throughout history that came from a lack of understanding between the sides, like the most important military move in the Six Days War, according to the book by Dr. Uri Milstein.
When it comes to children:
As educating figures, we must encourage them to ask questions and enable them with satisfying answers. If it seems that we think the question is unnecessary, we can ask the child what he thinks the answer might be, and from his answer, we can understand why he asked the question.
Developing independent and positive thinking
Successful leaders, inventors and entrepreneurs, aren't afraid to speak their minds and walk their own path, even if it's not acceptable to those around them.
As authority figures, we should encourage the child to express his opinion even if it's different to the group's/family's opinion - that's the way to encourage self-thinking.
It's likely that no one would want his child behaving like the student group who was in Solomon Asch's research who investigated social group pressure, and gave in to pressure:
Source: Wikipedia Asch conformity experiments
The experiment found that, although it was clear that the left line had the same length as line C, there were students who agreed with the wrong answer given by the group of collaborators because they gave into the pressure from the collaborators.
Examples of people who choose positive, independent thinking against their critical surroundings:
People with positive, independent thinking, are capable of taking their idea to a performance stage, even if their surroundings don't believe it's possible, like in the following examples:
* Benjamin Ze'ev Herzl, the visionary of the Jewish state - Everybody says I'm crazy, cause that's what I see, and I see one solution: Jewish exodus from Europe and the establishment of a Jewish state in their historic homeland. (From the speech by Benjamin Netanyahu in the Knesset in -24.5.2005)
* Eliezer Ben-Yehuda, the initiator revival of the Hebrew language - initially considered by those around him crazy: first born child, Itamar Ben-Avi, did not utter a word until the age of three. But fears lest his father 's madness will cause the child a mental retardation, were proved wrong. (From the book: Pillar of Fire by Yigal Lucien, Keter Books)
* The Wright Brothers developed and flew the first plane - but for their first flight, the press didn't come to cover the event, because the two brothers were thought of as somewhat insane and only 4 adults, in addition to the Wright Brothers, and one child, were present at that historic moment.
* Mario Levi - the founder of organic farming in Israel- said in an interview with Haaretz: It was not easy at first. When I first said the words, 'organic farming', people thought I was crazy
* Dr. David Harari, a pioneer programmer of UAVs (unmanned aerial vehicles) of Israel - said in an interview with Globes: When I started working on UAV program, at indoors, and the aerospace industry, people laughed at me and my crew. All that was towards the end of the '70s and most people did not believe in me, including members of the Board... at that time there were no drones anywhere and we had to make something from nothing. We were stubborn, despite getting laughed at, told us we were children playing with toys. Since then the UAV project has made significant success in the world.
UAV Heron IAI
* With the sale of Eden (Water company) Dan Naphtali wrote about the founder: In those days, people thought he was crazy. No one believed that Israelis will pay for a bottled water. And years later - there are other competitors who pay for good water, which has become a culture just like in Europe.
Exercise with children:
Brainstorming exercises are a great way to allow each team member to practice self-positive thinking to express his own opinions, ideas and solutions without getting criticized.
Entrepreneurs, especially in the service field, receive recognition and appreciation from their colleagues and customers when they share the knowledge they have accumulated. Sharing knowledge indicates confidence, faith in yourself and high self-esteem without fear of your status.
In Israeli culture - keeping knowledge to yourself, testifies in my opinion, the weakness of man and reveals his concern about his status. This occurs in workplaces where there is no job security, or the position of the employee in the hierarchy can be damaged. When a person feels confident and has high self-esteem, he willingly shares his surroundings and his knowledge.
People who share their knowledge of their environment benefit:
* They are considered experts in their field.
* They show openness to those around them as well the ability to build social and business connections.
* They get an appreciation of their environment.
* And most of all they get to learn from their environment, because in their environment's eyes, they are considered as experts, and therefore they are approached for their advice and opinions, Experiences and problems - in that way - the sharing part becomes wiser and enhanced.
In addition, sharing encourages camaraderie and empathy, and therefore contributes to harnessing commitment from associates to success.
An example from the business field:
Recently we have witnessed a significant development in the field of social networks, particularly through the contribution of Facebook. One of the most basic rules of marketing through social networks is to make yourself or your business expertise by uploading professional content to the network, which will contribute to a target audience.
The approach is - that by sharing knowledge (alongside other marketing actions) the numbers of clients will grow.
People who basically share their knowledge show that they have confidence and high self-esteem, and they are not afraid of their status. They broadcast a message saying that they have much more knowledge to contribute.
And that's the reason why today we can find many articles on the internet.
When it comes to kids:
Sharing knowledge among youth comes in the form of collaboration.
Challenging team assignments, based on the child's age, encourage team collaboration, harness knowledge and the ability of every kid for the good of succeeding in the mission.
Caution from overconfidence
One of the common reasons of entrepreneurs failing is overconfidence: entrepreneurs who believe they understand their field the best and refuses to listen to their environment and clients.
Here is a slide that appears at the third meeting of the Entrepreneurship for Kids Program dealing with learning failure of others.
This slide refers to the subject of overconfidence.
Yossi Yassur in his book Did you also have no hot water? By Matar refers to overconfidence:
Overconfidence also relates to optimism. Most people see themselves through pink glasses, they believe their future's pinker than others, they're better than others...
The combination of optimism and overconfidence causes people to over to exaggerate about their knowledge and their ability to control a situation, and also to underestimate the risks of their actions.
This phenomenon that's described by Yossi Yassour, quite stand out when it comes to technical entrepreneurs; for them sometimes, the product which they develop is the best and exactly what the market needs. Therefore, the product will sell itself almost without any marketing efforts.
Though in reality, it's usually different, and it seems that there are competitive products, and clients have demands for changes, so if they don't make the right marketing actions, the product won't sell by itself.
The ability to ask for help
Cases in which the entrepreneur knows and can develop a project and bring it to market success only on his own - are rare. The entrepreneur usually needs help.
The ability to ask for help comes from high self-esteem: a person who asks for help acknowledges his strengths and limits and doesn't fear to let others know his needs of help.
The need of help can be in any field, and only by acknowledging we need it.
Ed Mlavsky, who knows the entrepreneur's field from all his aspects, talks about it in his video that was produced through world entrepreneur's weed in - 2010.
Watch the video on Ynet Advice for the beginner entrepreneur: don't feel ashamed asking for help (In Hebrew)
Skills & Entrepreneurship education