Why entrepreneurship is my greatest teacher

Running a business instils patience, discipline and pushes you out of your comfort zone

Entrepreneurship can teach business owners some important life lessons. Getty
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In celebration of World Teachers' Day on October 5, I reflect on how entrepreneurship provided me with some of my life’s greatest lessons.

In theory, entrepreneurship and managing one’s business sounds like a nice walk in the park. What can be more attractive than being your own boss, setting your own hours and working on something you enjoy every single day?

I admit that these very thoughts attracted me to entrepreneurship at a young age. I loved school and learning, but I looked forward to going home and writing in my notebook all the “great” ideas I wanted to achieve when I was older, most of which included dream businesses I wanted to manage.

But as attractive as it is, entrepreneurship hasn’t been as easy as I imagined it would be. There were times when I questioned my competence as an entrepreneur and I often thought about taking the easy route of sticking solely to a job and working normal 9-5 hours.

World Teachers' Day serves to remind me of the mentors who guided me along my business journey, the friends who provided me with the best advice and my parents who continuously remind me that I can do anything I set my mind to.

But with every passing day and each time I overcome a challenge, I realise that had it not been for entrepreneurship, I wouldn’t have learnt some of my life’s most important lessons. In fact, entrepreneurship has been my greatest journey.

I am impatient by nature. When I ventured into entrepreneurship, I expected to see results fast. I was young and new to the game and when things didn’t quite go my way, I questioned my decision to pursue entrepreneurship.

And I know that I am not alone. Numerous entrepreneurs I encounter are also impatient and that is the reason why many quit within months of launching their businesses.

But if entrepreneurship taught me anything, it is that good things take time and dedication, something that my ancestors knew and lived by.

Living in an arid region, everything took time to happen. Palm trees took time to grow and rain was something they waited for. Loved ones took long journeys to places including India to source food, spices and fabrics. They knew that great things took time.

Entrepreneurship moulded me. It taught me how to be patient, one of the toughest things I have had to do in my life. But the results were worth the wait.

Entrepreneurship also taught me to be more disciplined and to get out of my comfort zone. If you want to succeed as an entrepreneur, then you need to be disciplined.

This means sticking to deadlines and following through on the objectives you set. It’s much harder to follow your own schedule because you are the boss and if you didn’t do anything, then who would discipline you?

But you will also come to realise that a laid-back approach can harm your business.

Being an entrepreneur also meant that I often experimented with new ideas. In experimentation lay new opportunities and doors to new heights and accomplishments.

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Last but not least, perhaps the most important lesson I learnt as an entrepreneur is that no star is out of reach. Dedication, persistence and patience are key to achieving our dreams and realising every goal we set for ourselves.

People often ask me whether I would do it all over again if I went back in time? Without a doubt.

Had it not been for entrepreneurship, I wouldn’t be the person I am today — and I wouldn’t have realised that every dream is achievable.

Manar Al Hinai is an award-winning Emirati writer and communications consultant based in Abu Dhabi

Updated: October 03, 2022, 4:00 AM