Entrepreneur: Nature Vs. Nurture?


I love podcasts.  I used to say things like “I heard this thing on NPR…” and all my friends nodded like bobbleheads because they heard the same thing too. Now the conversation starts,  “I heard this amazing podcast the other day…”

Friends often ask me when I have time to listen to podcasts.  Hmmm when do I fit that in?  Doing dishes and laundry folding are classic times.  Listening helps ease the pain of two things I absolutely hate.  If I play them loud enough I drown out the kids whining.   Unfortunately I do miss some content because of the interruptions, but something is better than nothing.

In addition to my obsession with StartUp, which feels like the love child of my favorite biz podcasts and NPR, I’m really diggin’ ZenFounder.

Zen Founder is a husband and wife team talking about how to stay sane while launching your startup.   This clearly appeals to me because Jon and I have owned a business together for eight years and have had three kids in the last five.  I need all the sanity tips I can get!

So when they talk about how to handle the challenges of life with business and family I completely identify.  I’m pretty sure a few episodes were recorded just for me.  How do they do that?!

It is a breath of fresh air to hear the perspective of a wife/partner who also works.  So often I get frustrated listening to other podcasts when it seems that the man runs his business and has a loving wife behind the scenes taking care of all the family/household duties.

Ok, maybe it isn’t frustrated that I feel.  Maybe it’s jealousy.

I want someone to be my behind the scenes support person that keeps the household running!  But as many MFPs know, that responsibility still falls on our shoulders.

We all know that when a woman owns a business, she does so IN ADDITION to running the household, not in place of it!

The point of this is that I connect with Sherry, the host.  She talks about things I struggle with and I love hearing from a woman’s perspective, often countered with her husbands.  It is a great show, go listen to it!

Back to the original story.

I went for a walk this morning and was listening to the latest Zen Founder podcast.  This episode was part of the Founder series featuring Steli Efti.

In each of the episodes of this series, she’s asked her guest if they had the “entrepreneurial spirit” growing up.  You know, did they have a lemonade stand to make money type thing.   And many great founders have this type of story.  They always were starting “businesses” or finding creative ways to make money.

This type of interview question wasn't unique to ZenFounder.   This is a common question when a founder is being interviewed on any of the podcasts.

I started wondering, am I less of an entrepreneur because I wasn’t like this?

I wasn’t some go-getter who saw potential to turn possibilities into a business.    I didn’t pay my way through college doing some creative thing to make money.

I had a part time job.  Just like everyone else.

When I heard other entrepreneurs that seem wired from birth to be entrepreneurs, it made me feel a little less worthy.  I know that sounds odd, but that was just my gut reaction.

But on this episode, Steli Efti (a crazy successful entrepreneur) said something that really resonated with me.  He said that he didn’t have any entrepreneurial inclination as a kid growing up either.

But he did “believe he’d do great things one day.” And his mom agreed and believed that as well.

He laughed, because he didn’t know how or what he’d do, but he believed in himself.


Yes.  Read the words again.

That was so powerful.  I could identify with it.

I always felt that way growing up.   I could do anything I wanted.  I believed that I would do something amazing.  I couldn’t tell you what, but it would be great.  (Clearly I didn’t suffer from self esteem issues).

I always felt like my mom believed that in me as well.  Thanks, mom.

I have had ups and downs in life.  And if I’m down, when I dig deep, I can still find the space where I believe this to be true.  Once I recognize it again and pull it back to the surface, that belief helps me to accomplish those great things.

I still believe there are more great things to come.

And if I believe it, it will happen.

There is so much power in believing in yourself.  It should never be underestimated.  Surround yourself with others who believe in you too.  You’re a mom who owns a business.  You’re amazing by default. Believe it.

Now go get some more shit done, you rock star :)