One of the most difficult things about being a parent is letting go.
We all want the best for them. But we also want them to understand the value of hard work.
It’s precisely because of that dilemma every parent will encounter that Terry Howerton penned an open letter to his daughters.
Terry has been an entrepreneur his entire life, starting his first company in high school. For 30 years he’s worked alongside entrepreneurs, funding and mentoring many startups.
Through the years, he’s seen different characteristics that make people successful, and wants to pass it along to his kids.
Personally, my son is almost a year and a half, and I’ve got to agree with this list. Like Terry, I hope my son has an entrepreneurial mindset, regardless of whether he actually starts a company or not, because it will make him better at whatever he chooses to do.
If any of these sound familiar, don’t be surprised. But it’s only because they’re that important:
1. Be kind
Whether building a company or building a life, be motivated by cheerful service to others. It’s not just about profit — or self-gain. Collaborate and help other people get ahead along your journey.
Be empathetic, and help other people succeed. Your reputation will become your most leveragable asset, and pay dividends you will need some day.
2. Wander with purpose
Your ambition is not for me to decide, but make it impactful. Chase it with zeal, convinced that it will be important and valuable, and that you will achieve it.
Don’t avoid the path less taken, and don’t sweat getting lost. I’ve rarely seen an entrepreneur end up precisely where they first planned, but many of the best have wandered upon success because they hit the trail dedicated to exploring.
3. Be bold and confident
You’re much braver, stronger and smarter than you know. Most startups fail because they don’t set out to solve hard enough problems, or create valuable enough solutions. Don’t be constrained to playing a role when you can write your own script.
4. Be a rule breaker (sometimes)
As your parent, I’ve spent years setting rules for you to follow. Most of them were to help you grow into a good person with habits that will help you succeed. But the best entrepreneurs push some occasional boundaries.
Learn to question some of the rules when the timing is right. You won’t always pick correctly, but learning which rules make you better, and which are just false constraints, will help you break out from the crowd.
5. Don’t let failure drag you down
Failure is just prelude, an experience from which you learn and become better, and that scar is really a badge proving you’re capable of trying again.
6. Ignore the critics
There’s a ton of folks sitting in the stands, too limited to join you in the arena, telling you why you can’t achieve what you’ve set out to do, questioning your motives and trying to tear you down. Turn them into fuel for your passion and prove them wrong.
7. Find mentors
Some people’s opinion and guidance do really matter, though. I was lucky to grow up surrounded by some great people who cared about my future, who helped me discover the journey my life would take.
8. Grit it out
Adversity will come. How you respond is your choice, and what matters the most.
Great entrepreneurs — and I think the most successful people in all walks of life — have grit. Dogged determination to take on challenge, to be better than they were yesterday, more resilient and more valuable to the people and the world around them.
Grit is optimism. Grit is motivation. Grit is patience. Grit is commitment.
Grit is everything.
You can read more over at Entrepreneur.