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Your success

How do you define success from your point of view?
So what does that mean? What does it mean having an entrepreneurial mindset and being entrepreneurial? Maybe you don’t want to start your own business. And you’re like, well, I don’t want to take all that risk. I don’t want to build my own company. But no matter what career path you choose for yourself, having that entrepreneurial mindset, having the ability to turn problems into opportunities is tremendously valuable. And that’s why, at Deakin University, we teach entrepreneurship. We have the Spark program where aspiring entrepreneurs can come in and learn about what it means to be entrepreneurial and work with innovation projects. You can get mentoring from experienced, local entrepreneurs, both virtually and in person.
You might be able to apply for some seed funding. And you can take different types of entrepreneurship courses that we offer here, at the University. But for anyone out there who might not go to Deakin, what we’re talking about in relation to the entrepreneurial mindset is this ability to become a self-starter. And that’s also what employers are looking for. You don’t want to micromanage all your employees. You want people that see a problem, and then you go fix it. Right? That’s really the core essence of being an entrepreneur is that you are a problem solver. You don’t wait for somebody to give you permission or to tell you what to do.
You see a problem, and then you’re proactive about finding solutions. You have a very experimental type of mindset, so you’re not afraid to fail. You know that the path to success is paved by stones of failure. You know that you need to make some of those mistakes in order to learn from it and to get closer to a successful outcome. So we strongly encourage people to be OK with making some mistakes along the way. And that’s also in a place like Silicon Valley– what investors are looking for. They’re looking for people who have that mindset of failing fast and then learning from it, so they can get closer to the right solution. All right?
Failing faster is failing cheaper because you avoid spending too much money and too much time building a product that no one wants. And the same goes, really, within a larger corporation. Where traditionally, most large enterprises are very bad at this. If you have a new idea, we’ll allocate x millions of dollars to for you to build this product. And then two years later, you find out that it sucks and no one cares about it. Right? Today, we talk a lot about the Lean startup, which is, essentially, a more efficient way of doing product development where you test it and you try to sell it before you build it.
So this sort of more agile approach will allow you to test what customers actually care about before you spend too much money building the product. So you constantly build what we call an MVP, a Minimum Viable Product, some type of experiment that allows you to test the riskiest assumptions of your business. And then you go through that iterative process of building an MVP, sending it out to customers, getting feedback on it, learning from that data, coming up with new ideas, building a next version of that minimum viable product, sending that out to customers. And you go through that process over and over again, getting closer and closer to product/market fit.
So really what you want to do in relation to working on your own mindset is to constantly try to challenge yourself to come up with more ideas. Right? So every morning before you even get out of bed, you take your note block and you try to write down 20 cool ideas for solving x problem. All right? And that will start changing the way you think. You’ll start building your own entrepreneurial confidence and your creative confidence and start believing that you can actually come up with good ideas. And what do you do then is that you don’t just lock all those ideas up in a box. You start sharing them openly. It turns out that ideas are worthless without execution.
So there’s no point in trying to hide your idea and keep it secret. Because the idea itself is not worth anything in and by itself. It’s only worth something if you can execute on that idea. So that’s why we encourage all employees and entrepreneurial students to share their ideas openly, get a tonne of feedback early on, and that way, be able to execute more successfully.

How do you define success from your point of view?

The only person who can really answer this question is you, as we have all experienced different forms of success in our life – small or big. Success is a multifaceted, interpretable, personal concept.

Think about a success you have experienced. For example, success for you may be simply setting a goal as the first step, it may be reaching a goal or trying your best to get there. Or it may be that going abroad and seeing a new place is being successful to you. It may be that having a family is your idea of success.

Your task

Think about and discuss how you conceive success. Use the following prompts as a guide for your discussion:

  • What event do you consider to be one of your biggest successes?
  • What was the biggest challenge in reaching that success?
  • What were the factors that made this a success?
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