Welcome to the spotlight on PhD realities. This post is inspired by a recent discussion I had with Lauren regarding the recent trend and initiatives of implementing a more entrepreneurial culture in science. The thought stems from a prior discussion we had had on biotechnology startups. Nature versus nurture; do you think that an entrepreneur is someone who is born, or can anyone can become one?
“Everybody’s an entrepreneur now, its really great to be an entrepreneur, its really cool. Let me give you the steps you need to do. You need to open an Instagram account, and in your bio you put CEO. Like you know, super great.”
I think with the correct experiences and environment anyone can develop the skills and entrepreneurial spirit. However I dont think it can be taught in a wrote learned way from a set framework. Doing an degree in entrepreneurship at a university is the biggest oxymoron in the universe. I think this is because the very nature of being entrepreneurial is something that is inherent in your character. Therefore to implement a more entrepreneurial spirit, you have to upskill yourself experientially and actively engage to learn from real situations of success and failure. Strategies such as actively engaging with an entrepreneurial nature in your everyday activites/interactions to build up the skill and resilience, until it becomes a habit.
"Don't let school get in the way of your education, the best lessons in life don't come from a teacher, they come from experience"
In this digital era with social media, technology is breaking down the barriers of entry and levelling the playing field of knowledge and business, allowing the genesis of many successful young entrepreneurs in their 20s. Similarly, there is a great interest to get us as graduate students and researchers to implement a more entrepreneurial nature in our projects, to successfully innovate and create new knowledge. But what does this even mean? The definition of entrepreneurial from Inc.com (couldn't find any thing on Wikipedia this time haha): "It develops in the individuals who demonstrate a true passion for building something great from nothing and they are willing to push themselves to the limits to achieve big goals."
So what are some of these core entrepreneurial skills we should build?
Be the manager of your own project and commit yourself to getting it done.
"Resources is never the problem. Its a lack of resourcefulness. Thats why you failed. The ultimate human resources are emotional states (creativity, decisiveness, passion, honesty, sincerity, love)... When you engage these resources, you can get any other resource on Earth. Resourcefulness is the ultimate resource”
Being able to stay the course amongst the negative pressures. If you’re doing a PhD then you know hard it can be at times in your project with things not working out, exhaustion and thoughts of “cbf”. Remember the final goal of completion and contribution of new knowledge, because in the medical research field there are real people/patients that have hope in us.
Really liking what you do and trying to bring value to the world with purpose. It is serious whether you succeed or fail, because we are doing it for a greater cause.
Connecting with the people that can guide/help you learn and reach your project goals through emotional, intellectual and practical support. Few aspects of science can be done alone, therefore our network is critical for success. Whether we are looking to collaborate or generate new ideas, who you know is as important as what you know.
"It doesn’t how much you know, it doesn’t matter how much intellect you have within your mind, if you don’t have great communication skills you have no bridge to be able to deliver that value. And the stronger your communication skills, the bigger and stronger your bridge, the more value you can provide.”
There is no better time to start implementing than now, as we head into the 2nd quarter of 2018. Stay motivated and smash this year on a high! Best of luck with your project! :)
“Stay positive, stay productive , and stay away from unhappy people. Don’t let people bring f*cked up vibes around."
You can take it as insight, or you can take it as Just BS!
[Post inspired by the thoughts of Gary Vaynerchuck, Arvin Lal, Tony Robbins, Vinh Giang and Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson]