Become the entrepreneur of your own life – for teens

Tuesday, September 21st, 2010


The Business of Life Series for Teens
San Francisco Chronicle
Entrepreneurial Strategies for Success

Produced in association with BeMoneySmartUSA

Smart Money for Smart Schools

Topic: Motivation for vision and goals

Photo: kla4067(Flickr)

Photo: kla4067(Flickr)

Motivation is the drive that compels you to do something or accomplish a goal or task.

Psychologists distinguish between intrinsic and extrinsic motivation. Intrinsic comes from within. It is born out of our beliefs and values. Extrinsic comes from an external source, such as a punishment or reward.

Our thoughts, shaped by beliefs and values, provide an engine for motivation. If we believe that we have something of value to offer the world, and that prosperity is something we create by our own choices, big and small, then we have a strong foundation for motivation that is positive and enduring to pursue a vision and goals.

On the other hand, if we believe that we are not a creative power, that the world defines what we can and cannot do, then our motivation to pursue dreams will not be strong.

You will be easily discouraged.



In this sense, a successful and fulfilling life can be an entrepreneurial experience wherein you establish a vision and goals and pursue a course marked by decisions and commitments to accomplish your own purpose.

Sometimes you are motivated by fear and sometimes you are motivated by a desire for something better, greater.  But the most important source of motivation is your ability to patrol your thoughts to identify your purpose and take action – regardless of your circumstances.

Entrepreneurs do not let circumstances define them

Celebrated former Oakland Raider Wide Receiver, Tim Brown, was awarded the Heisman Trophy, and played 17 years for the Raiders where he broke many records as a professional athlete. At a very early age, he had to make some decisions about what he believed, in spite of what his father told him.

Tim Brown: Celebrated former NFL wide receiver, Oakland Raiders (Courtesy: Christy Benz)

Tim Brown: Celebrated former NFL wide receiver, Oakland Raiders (Courtesy: Christy Benz)

“When I was a teenager, I had to make some critical decisions,” recalls Brown, “Right path, wrong path decisions.”  Brown shared his experience as a 13-year old when his father came home drunk one night and threatened his life. “As I sat cowering in the corner, while my mother and older brother tried to calm my father down who went to get his gun, I realized that it was the alcohol wanting to kill me, not my Dad.”

That was the defining moment for Brown, who decided to never drink alcohol or get into drugs and “be the man God wants me to be”.

Brown further explains that this terrifying incident turned out to be a blessing because of the decisions he made in response to it. “Had I decided to be more like my Dad and start drinking, then I am not sure I would have had a 17-year career in the NFL,” said Brown who reminisces reconciling with his father when he was 25 years old.

Talent will only get you so far, dedication and hard work rules

Dan Bunz (courtesy)

Dan Bunz (courtesy)

Two-time super bowl champion Dan Bunz is legendary for one of the most famous plays in the National Football League (NFL): “The Stop” – which was a game breaker play at the 49er goal line preventing the Cincinnati Bengals from scoring a touchdown for the 1982 Super Bowl XVI victory. Bunz believes you must earn everything, and values hard work and a good attitude. He takes nothing for granted. In 1978 Bunz was the first draft pick for the SF 49ers.  “When the reporters asked how did I feel about being first draft pick, I said that I wanted to work hard to make the team, and they laughed,” said Bunz.

Bunz says he succeeded even though he wasn’t always the most talented.  He is very forthcoming about the fact that he has achieved success through hard work.  He describes what happened after he was cut from his first Pop Warner tryout: “My mom said it was because I was a ‘sissy’ – and I was”.

So after that tryout, Bunz worked out with his older brother. “He worked me hard… I made the team the next year and I wasn’t very good even then”, said Bunz.  This childhood experience has been an inspiration for the children he works with today. Bunz stresses to the youth that hard work and a great attitude will get you far.

“It’s not what you do in front of the coach; it’s what you do [to work hard] away from the coach”, Bunz says to the athletes training with him. He points to Jerry Rice who was one of his students. “He [worked hard] above and beyond to get that edge,” said Bunz about Rice.

When Bunz was a young child, his mother said about him being a “sissy” as truth at that moment, but decided that he would become stronger through determination and hard work. If Bunz had not been honest with himself, he would not have been able to improve and achieve greatness. Another child might have been discouraged by a mother’s comment like “sissy”. It’s a matter of what you chose to believe and think and then act on those beliefs and thoughts that determines your motivation to take charge of your own life.

The power of your mind for motivation

James Allen (

James Allen (

In his book, As a Man Thinketh, James Allen writes about the creative power of man to control his thoughts and thereby influence his destiny. Allen describes how man is the master of his own mind, which drives thought and action. As a creative power, man shapes his character and thereby his life as the world eventually conforms to his body of thought, beliefs, values and response to circumstances.

In this sense, entrepreneurs shape their destiny through disciplined thinking, shaped by their values and beliefs. Tim Brown took charge of his life, even though his Dad was bigger and threatened his life when he was thirteen years old. He made a decision then, as a child, about what he believed, and he chose not to believe the negative things his Dad said about him. Rather, he chose to believe he could do anything he set his mind to do. That belief steered the course of his life as a professional athlete, and his faith in God allowed him to reconcile with his Dad later in life.


joanna-007Joanna Jullien

Joanna married her high school sweetheart and over the  past 25 years they have raised two sons in Roseville, CA. She has a degree from UC Berkeley in Social Anthropology (corporate culture) and has over 20 years experience as a professional manager in information technology, manufacturing, energy and environment.

Joanna writes on parenting in the 21st century, as she has observed and personally experienced many strains on the parent-child relationship with the advent of the Internet, mobile phones and popular culture.



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About Joanna Jullien

Joanna Jullien

Joanna ( and her husband have raised two sons in Roseville, CA. She has a degree from U.C. Berkeley in Social Anthropology (corporate culture). Her honors thesis was awarded the Kroeber Prize and funding from National Science Foundation grant. Joanna writes to help parents with the modern-day leadership challenges of raising children. She is a contributing writer for The Granite Bay View, the Press Tribune, the Sacramento Examiner, and editor of Banana Moments.