How do you help an entrepreneur (or anyone for that matter) be more innovative and creative? You teach them to be vulnerable- vulnerable to failure by having them take risks. Yet what blocks them from taking risks? Dr. Brené Brown of the University of Houston Graduate School of Social Work says that it is shame that blocks individuals from being vulnerable, whether in personal relationships, or in the actions that they take- many times not risking “failure” because of these views. In the following TED talk, she speaks of “the power of vulnerability“, explaining that although the emotion guilt produces the internal response in a person “I did a bad thing” versus shame producing the internal response “I am a bad person”. The reason that this is so key is because in the shame example, the individual has no way to redress the situation, therefore feeling trapped, many times having the individual squelch their abilities in trying to compensate for being incomplete. As well I could imagine this also has the opposite effect, of having individuals go too far in trying to compensate as well- going to the point of unhealthy results that we see associated with many startup companies as well.
Here’s a link to the video:
For a quicker synopsis, and a personal snapshot, online performer Ze Frank produced a very personal snapshot of how shame blocks his own creativity. Here’s a personal snapshot, a bit shorter, that shares similar insight:
In my work with entrepreneurs (and myself) what this says for how to help them overcome the internal blocks that block many times block the individual entrepreneur (and therefore the startup). I would posit to say that most “failures” at the early stage in startup development are not for some external set of circumstances- but internal ones. Entrepreneurs can pivot their startups to success around roadblocks… but they have to be internally prepared for doing so as much as being prepared with external resources (e.g. technology and funding).