Back to School 2017: Four Essential Entrepreneurial Lessons

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The school bell just rang on the last day of school. Summer was here. Camps and pools were full. Barbeques, crabs and good drinks were fun for all. Vacation time with the family was always a good time.

And then I must have blinked. All of a sudden, school was back in session. School supplies had to be collected. Orientations were scheduled. Lunches have to be packed.  Homework has to be done.  Tighter bedtimes have to be made.  Parent-teacher conferences will soon be scheduled.

While it's not always fun for kids to leave summer behind, school is important.

Plus, there are lessons we can all learn at the start of a new school year.

For one, school provides structure for kids.

Research has shown that most of us find more pleasure in a structured day. Structure and routine teach kids how to control themselves and their environments. Kids in a chaotic environment where belongings are never put away never learn that things – including business – can run much more smoothly if things are better organized.

Some entrepreneurs are severely unstructured. They don’t get to their office in a timely manner, for example. They don’t take time to answer e-mails, make lists, or even return calls. Bottom line – adding structure can help create efficiency, productivity and success.

Two, kids learn to adapt to being comfortable with the comfortable.

New schools, new kids, new teachers, new environments aren’t usually easy for kids. Jitters and butterflies are normal, as long as it doesn’t riddle them with anxiety. As entrepreneurs, we stop making ourselves feel comfortable in uncomfortable situations, too. Successful people who learn how to be comfortable in the uncomfortable become more successful.

When you push through your comfort zone, the more comfortable you become.

Three, kids are always learning. Their brains are sponges.

Every day, kids learn math, science, social studies, as well as new social cues. As parents, we understand the importance of education, and hope our kids will go to college, and in some cases business, law or medical school after.

As entrepreneurs, we have to remember to take the time to learn more, as well. Street knowledge is always interesting, but so is critical knowledge taken from a book for your eventual success. Some of the most successful business owners read all the time.

Four, kids are taught to value recovery.

As adults, we can’t pull out our favorite blanket and pass out on the floor for an hour, or wake up to juice and cookies in the middle of a client meeting. Kids can. They’re being taught the importance of taking breaks, and cooling off. Unfortunately, entrepreneurs are obsessed with working. We see things as a marathon, not realizing how quickly we can burn out.

To focus, or go “all in” on a project is great. But we can’t forget to take time off.

It turns out we can learn a lot from our kids.