Beyond my deep love for and resonance with entrepreneurial spirits, there’s another reason I’m so drawn to this work. Creators have an enormous impact on the development of humankind on a global scale, and the mental, emotional, physical, and spiritual well- being of entrepreneurs isn’t just a concern for entrepreneurs—it’s a concern for humanity. Entrepreneurship is at the heart of social and economic growth, and is responsible for everything from job creation to social trends to the adoption of new technologies by the collective. Entrepreneurial spirits create the next version of reality for all of us, and if the source code isn’t functioning properly, there’s little hope for the end result. While every human is responsible for leaving their mark on this world, entrepreneurial spirits are often the ones who do so at scale and therefore have the potential to leave the largest impact—positive or negative. Recent news has been littered with examples of creators behaving “badly,” and these failings, while personal, also have an impact on the broader social, cultural, and economic landscape. It’s in the best interest of the collective to invest in the fountainhead of the creative process: the entrepreneur.

By investing in the well-being of creators, we invest in the future of humanity. If we want to create a happy and healthy future, we must ensure the designers of that future are happy and healthy too. The ability to influence global trends is not a responsibility to be taken lightly, and I believe that all entrepreneurs should be as eagerly armed with the tools to take care of themselves as they are their companies. By encouraging the development of self-awareness in entrepreneurs, they will inevitably create products that reflect this heightened awareness. Creators are patient zero of our modern day breakthroughs and epidemics—they are the parents from which all creations and their consequences spring forth. If key stakeholders, like investors, universities, policymakers, and the like, begin to see the individual creator as this most critical starting point, they will inevitably be compelled to shift their investment strategies: instead of investing in products once they are built, they might begin to see value in investing at the source. Elevating the intentionality of products is a nice goal, but is a rather clumsy and inefficient effort when the ecosystem could be elevating the consciousness of creators themselves.

While the capacity for self-awareness and emotional intelligence may seem like a nicety rather than an entrepreneurial necessity, this view is woefully misinformed. Emotional intelligence in entrepreneurs is correlated with entrepreneurial skills like decision making, creativity, emotional resilience, motivation, leadership, and calculated risk-taking, and it’s well past time to offer educational resources that not only attend to the hard-skills of entrepreneurship, but the crucial soft-skills as well. Without cultivating the emotional landscape of the entrepreneur, they are left ill- prepared for the inevitable battles ahead. In the same way that a scalpel and the designation of doctor isn’t handed to a young person who lacks proper training, a startup manual shouldn’t be thrust into the hands of creators with the instruction to simply “build a business.” While I value the improvisational and opportunistic nature of entrepreneurial work, the responsibility to influence the world at scale shouldn’t be taken lightly—the consequences of a creator’s consciousness or lack thereof affect the collective in innumerable, deeply meaningful ways. It’s not enough to be intellectually prepared for new venture creation; entrepreneurs must also be emotionally prepared. There are far too many examples of creators lacking in emotional regulation tools who harm themselves, their bottom line, their investors, their customers, their employees, and others around them in the process of building a business—they really don’t have to make such a mess of things.

This feature is from Wired This Wired: On Finding Mental, Emotional, Physical & Spiritual Well-Being as a Creator by Jessica Carson. It’s now available for pre-order on Amazon and will be out April 1st, 2020—learn more on Jessica’s website today!

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  • Jessica Carson

    Thought-Leader in Entrepreneur & Creator Psychology

    Jessica Carson is currently Georgetown University’s first Expert in Residence, Director of Innovation at the American Psychological Association, and author of Wired This Way. Previously, she held positions at a startup and venture firm, and was a Research Fellow at the National Institutes of Health. With a background in psychology, neuroscience, startups, venture capital, and mindfulness, she has both a scientific and embodied understanding of the unique wiring of entrepreneurial spirits, and empowers them to develop their capacity for self-study. Jessica lives in Washington, D.C. with her cat, Cleopatra. Learn more about Jessica on her site.