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Be the Entrepreneur of Your Life

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“Every day we slaughter our finest impulses. That is why we get a heartache when we read those lines written by the hand of a master and recognize them as our own, as the tender shoots which we stifled because we lacked the faith to believe in our own powers, our own criterion of truth and beauty. Every man, when he gets quiet, when he becomes desperately honest with himself, is capable of uttering profound truths. We all derive from the same source. there is no mystery about the origin of things. We are all part of creation, all kings, all poets, all musicians; we have only to open up, only to discover what is already there.”

—Henry Miller

When I think of the word “entrepreneur,” I picture little startups, hard work and long nights, passion projects and passionate people, creativity, intellect, ability, agility. I identify with many of these ideas, but I don’t think of myself as an entrepreneur. I don’t. But here’s a thought: What if we’re really all entrepreneurs?

What does it mean to be the entrepreneur of your life? That’s the question Julie Hanna, Chair of crowdfunding platform Kiva.org, posed during yesterday’s Office Hours. What does it mean to be the entrepreneur of your life, entrepreneur or not? Simply put, it means finding out what you care about, what’s getting in the way of your passions, and what legacy you want to leave behind.

What do you care about?

Take time to discover what you care most about and why, said Hanna. Finding your “why” will lead you to the kind of work and life that makes you alive.

When you’re thinking about learning more about yourself or the work you want to do, how will you make sure you do it with a warm heart? Hanna asked. How will you make kindness cool again? Imagine how miserable this planet would be if no one were kind or compassionate. Think of yourself as the planet’s agent of change, Hanna said, and make change for the better.

What’s getting in the way of your passions?

I started with a quote by Henry Miller, which Hanna relayed during Office Hours. It’s a quote that really resonated with me; how many times have we seen, heard, or read something that feels like a lost idea we had ourselves long ago? And why weren’t we the ones to put that something out into the world?

Hanna said the little voice inside her told her that her passions are fairness and justice, but she would always doubt the voice and dismiss those passions. The problem is that we shut out those voices so often, never taking the time to create the quiet space to let our passions emerge from it. Being still and doing nothing allows clarity for our passions to emerge.

“Some of those things that I devalued and dismissed early in life were actually the threads that have helped me connect the dots in my life,” said Hanna, and fear was the bully that put her passions down. Confront the fear of failure, Hanna said; take the risks, and think about the kind of work you’d do if all jobs pay the same. The great entrepreneurs of their lives are on missions that are bigger than their lives.

What legacy do you want to leave behind?

Like it or not, we are all destined to become the past. However, that doesn’t mean we can’t still dream of creating the future. Youth isn’t wasted on the young, Hanna reminded us.

As you inch into the future, and begin to leave a past behind you, Hanna said to hang on to “the childlike curiosity and wonder” of passion, creativity, fearlessness, and boldness that you use to create the future you want to live in. Challenge the world around you and the things that came before and will come after.

Watch Hanna’s Office Hours below for more wisdom and life lessons:

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