The following is an excerpt from Mika Brzezinski's new book Grow Your Value.
Millennials and entrepreneurs. They’re both upstarts and outliers. Both famously work “for themselves,” driven by a strong set of personal values born of an internal ethos and a passion to be in charge of their destinies. Although published reports say that neither is winning awards for intrapersonal likability, both apparently have a high tolerance for change, an appetite to accrue a variety of useful skills, and an impulse to take promising risks. But there’s a proving ground. These two types of workers must learn tough lessons in the marketplace to succeed—and even so, the decks seemed stacked against them.
Millennials are the best-educated generation in American history, but they also have the highest jobless rate in recent history. Entrepreneurs have an eight-in-ten failure rate on the market. To be successful, both have to push against discouraging statistics like this, figuring out how to work to market in a way that impresses the people who pay them, meets their own professional and personal goals, and locks down vital contacts at every stage that will help them in the short and long term. Of any two sets of women, knowing and growing their inner value and professional value—and braiding the two together—is essential to their mission in life, personally and at work.
Millennial women and female entrepreneurs are much discussed in the news these days. Ladies, if you fit into either group—or both—you know what I’m talking about. You’re both navigating uncharted territory by virtue of your age, your pioneering disposition, and this period of America’s socio-economic history. If both news and academic reports are correct, you are characterized by your drive as independent operators dedicated to living life and to working on your own terms. And although, in general, you are in command of strong traits that people admire and look to as a harbingers of the “new” way of working, you are also sitting ducks when it comes to being the target of blame and criticism. Employers and people in the judgment seat love to talk about how entitled, self-absorbed, and lazy you are. Entrepreneurs’ failure rate is attributed to a lack of foresight and impulsivity and for not being realistic, prepared, or disciplined enough to handle the prolonged uphill battle.
To the Millennials and entrepreneurs reading this, I say: let’s give them nothing to talk about—other than how impressive you are. Other than how handily you turn those stereotypes on their heads.
You can learn more about Mika's book Grow Your Value here.