World Economic Forum Young Global Leader, and internationally recognised technology entrepreneur, Rapelang Rabana, gave an inspiring at the GROW Summit on 14 September 2017 on the role ones unique, personal experiences play in innovation. In this article, she shares her views on the importance of self-awareness, in an effort to help entrepreneurs become better at what they do, and innovate from within.
A great deal of society’s efforts to create and develop entrepreneurs is focused on imparting business skills, technical knowledge and financial insights – essentially the ‘mechanics’ of entrepreneurship. Sustainable entrepreneurship, however, requires a more organised approach. So much of the success of an early stage business rests on the entrepreneur, the individual, the person themselves. An entrepreneur’s ability to drive their business and their organisation strongly correlates with how well they manage and lead themselves on a personal level. The journey of self – the pathway of the person – is, ultimately, the most important exploration to take when building a business.
Developing an entrepreneurial mindset begins with greater self-awareness and self-understanding – it starts with questioning the world around you and all the implicit assumptions you have made about how the world works.
Undertaking a personal journey of discovery is the starting point of developing crucial abilities for business such as being more innovative, making bolder decisions, taking risks and creating value because greater self-awareness allows you to unearth subtle, and imperative, perspectives. It allows you to understand the sum total of your life’s journey that has brought you to this point in time in this particular place and thus see the world in your unique way. And, those who are able to bring the totality of their experiences to bear in their businesses, not just their intellect and education, can operate at a greater level of ingenuity and with an ever-refining sense of purpose.
As Confucius says “You were born with two lives- the second one begins the day you realise you have only one life.”
Rapelang Rabana is the founder of Rekindle Learning, which is a learning-tech business that develops smart solutions for corporate training and academic learning. She is also a partner at Nisela Capital, an Africa-focused private equity and advisory firm.
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