Number of professor friends of mine call me quite frequently to their institutions to co-lead sessions, conduct workshops, or give guest lectures. But a recent trend has been their request to talk to individual students who require some guidance and direction. When I meet these enthusiastic kids, their energy is infectious. They are full of energy and are raring to go – literally at anything and everything!
One such interaction was with a young man, just out of his engineering program. Within a year of graduation he had tried his hand at three startups – given up on two and toying with the idea of putting the third one on hold. When I enquired for the reasons behind him closing the ventures – I found there were no specific reason except the fact that after a year, he has started evaluating whether all this effort was worthwhile at all. A very valid consideration, but shouldn’t it have been considered a bit earlier?
After about an hour of discussion, we were able to facilitate his thinking around where he could have possibly gone wrong. Once he was open to examining his own actions and decisions, he was quick and open to suggestions and directions. He did come around to the fact that he had spent almost negligible time at his desk prior to jumping into action. With a bit of prodding he came around to a set of basic questions that he would consider before starting on a venture. Questions like:
- Is there really an opportunity in the first place?
- Is there a good enough case for creating a business around the idea?
- Does the usage of secondary data bring out the idea’s economic veracity?
- Can his personal entrepreneurial spirit be sustained and fed by the venture around the idea?
He has agreed to re-look and come back with the workings so that we can take his efforts towards starting up ahead. I am waiting for him to come back.
In the meantime, it makes me wonder, how many such young minds we lose because they are averse rather unaware of using a disciplined way to starting up. I will reiterate as many times as needed that ‘machoness’ is not jumping off a cliff without a parachute – but it is in opening the parachute at the lowest possible point to achieve the greatest thrill. It could also propel to jump off an even higher cliff. But thinking if the parachute is needed at all – is not heroic!
The pressure of failing in a society such as ours is too high for young adults to take. Their enthusiasm will die down if adequate support is not provided for them to realize their dreams. And support is not blindly fuelling of their aspiration and telling them to go ahead and take the plunge. Support is to equip them with the right approach, tools, techniques and perspectives to realize their dreams!