“What will my son be like when he grows up?” It’s a question that every parent asks.
But instead of just thinking, there are many things you can do today to help your child develop the skills they need to reach their full potential.
For my book, “Raising an Entrepreneur,” I talked to 70 parents who raised successful children. Looking back, they identified five key characteristics that contributed to their children’s future achievements.
If a child has these five traits, he or she will be successful:
1. They are persistent.
Resilient children do not give up until they find a solution or learn from it. He has grit and is not discouraged by the reactions of others.
Jonathan Neman started several businesses while he was in high school and college, but none of them worked. After graduation, he and two friends founded Sweetgreen, an environmentally conscious salad chain with more than 900 locations.
“We keep going. We fail, we try and try again, we fail, we try and try and try,” he told me. “I’m not smarter than anyone else. I’m just more persistent.”
2. They are curious.
Being curious means asking a lot of questions: Why is it like this? Does it have to be like this? Could it be better?
Tania Yuki founded Shareablee, a social media analytics company. He remembers his youth in a luxury gift shop. There was a sign that said “NO TOUCHING,” but he still touched everything.
When a salesperson snatched something from her hands, she was sure she was going to be in trouble. But his father said, “He’s just curious. If he breaks something, I’ll pay.”
This kind of inquisitive nature is a common trait of people who continue to make their own way in life.
3. They have compassion.
We want kids to explore things in the way that is most beneficial to them, rather than trying to please us.
Robert Stephens is a perfect example of someone who turned his childhood passion into entrepreneurial success: A boy who loves to fix things starts a company that fixes things.
At age 24, he started Geek Squad, a repair company that he later sold for $3 million.
Stephens’ parents constantly encouraged his spirit and believed in him to make his own choices, and he learned to believe in his own abilities.
4. They are self-starters.
Beginners do not need external motivation.
When Paige Mycoskie was in her 20s, each of her grandparents gave her $100 for her birthday.
He decided to use the money to fulfill his lifelong dream of starting a clothing company. She bought a sewing machine, quit her job, returned home, and started designing.
Later he founded the cult favorite fashion brand Aviator Nation. By 2021, Mycoskie’s company will generate sales of $110 million.
5. They are risk-takers.
Dhani Jones is a former NFL linebacker who hosted the TV show “Dhani Tackles the Globe” and started Qey Capital, a private equity firm.
Growing up, even though he wasn’t always a superstar, he wasn’t afraid to challenge himself.
Entrepreneurs will risk everything to get what they think is important, said his mother.
“A lot of people are afraid to let go of what they’ve achieved,” he said. “But if their parents give them enough self-confidence, they can approach life without fear.”
Margot Machol Bisnow is a writer, mother and parenting expert. He spent 20 years in government, including as FTC Commissioner and Chief of Staff of the President’s Council of Economic Advisers, and is an author “Raising Entrepreneurship: How to Help Your Kids Dream.” Follow him Instagram.