"What will my kid be like when they grow up?" It's a question that every parent asks.
But rather than just wondering, there are plenty of things you can do now to help your kid develop the skills they need to reach their full potential.
For my book, "Raising an Entrepreneur," I talked to 70 parents who raised highly successful kids. Looking back, they identified five key characteristics that contributed to their children's future accomplishments.
If your kid has these five traits, they're destined for success:
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1. They are persistent.
Kids who are persistent don't give up on things until they find a solution or learn something from it. They have grit and aren't discouraged by other people's reactions.
Jonathan Neman started a number of businesses when he was in high school and college, but none of them worked. After graduating, he and two friends founded Sweetgreen, an eco-conscious salad chain that has over 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 lots of questions: Why is it like this? Does it have to be this way? Can it be better?
Tania Yuki founded Shareablee, a social media analytics company. She recalls being at a high-end gift store when she was young. There was a sign that said "NO TOUCHING," but she still touched everything.
When a salesclerk snatched something from her hand, she was sure she'd get in trouble. But her dad said, "She's just curious. If she breaks anything, I'll pay for it."
This kind of inquisitive nature is a common trait of people who go on to create their own path in life.
3. They have a passion.
We want kids to explore things in ways that are most meaningful to them, rather than having them trying to please us.
Robert Stephens is a perfect example of someone who turned a childhood passion into entrepreneurial success: The boy who loved to fix things started a company that fixes things.
At 24, he started Geek Squad, a repair company that he later sold for $3 million.
Stephens' parents consistently supported his passion and trusted him to make his own choices, and he learned to believe in his own abilities.
4. They're self-starters.
Self-starters don't need external motivation.
When Paige Mycoskie was in her mid-20's, each of her grandparents gave her $100 for her birthday.
She decided to use that money to fulfill her lifelong dream of starting a clothing company. She bought a sewing machine, quit her job, moved back home, and started designing.
Then she founded cult favorite fashion brand Aviator Nation. In 2021, Mycoskie's company made $110 million in sales.
5. They're risk-takers.
Dhani Jones is a former NFL linebacker who went on to host the TV show "Dhani Tackles the Globe" and start Qey Capital, a private equity firm.
Growing up, although he wasn't always a superstar, he was never afraid to put himself out there.
Entrepreneurs will risk putting everything on the line to achieve what they think is important, his mom told me.
"A lot of people are frightened to let go of what they've attained," she said. "But if their parents instill enough self-confidence in them, they can approach life fearlessly."
Margot Machol Bisnow is a writer, mom and parenting expert. She spent 20 years in government, including as an FTC Commissioner and Chief of Staff of the President's Council of Economic Advisers, and is the author of "Raising an Entrepreneur: How to Help Your Children Achieve Their Dreams." Follow her on Instagram.
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