Entrepreneurial mindset in youth development – Part 4: Failure, 4-H and goal setting

Applying the entrepreneurial mindset of goal setting can assist youth in achieving their visions and overcoming obstacles on their path to success.

Most people can identify goals they want to accomplish, things they would like to change, and can start to think about a strategy to achieve those goals. However, many people also realize that putting these plans into action is not quite so simple.

A major factor in setting goals is taking risks and trying something new to achieve a goal. Part of the entrepreneurial mindset is being comfortable in taking risks. Part of taking risks is accepting the possibility that failure might occur.

Setting goals without actively attempting to achieve them is an ultimate failure. Effective goal setting means setting goals that we are willing to strive for and that can be achieved. Following the SMART Model to goal setting can make them more achievable for youth.

Often when youth are attempting to attain the goals they have set, they reach a roadblock. Applying an entrepreneurial mindset can assist them in continuing their efforts to reach their goal. Roadblocks don’t mean failure; they are a valuable part of the learning process. Helping youth learn from failure when a road block occurs and assisting them in developing a new plan of action to achieve their set goal can lead to youth generating the next idea to try. The next idea they try may be the path that brings them to success.

Applying an entrepreneurial mindset to goals can be accomplished by:

  1. Setting a goal.
  2. Making efforts to achieve that goal by breaking the path to the goal into small, achievable and realistic steps.
  3. Learning from roadblocks and mistakes.
  4. Developing a new plan of action based on what is learned.

Utilizing the steps from the Experiential Learning Model can assist youth in goal setting. Experiential learning takes place when a youth is involved in an activity, looks back at it critically, determines what was useful or important to remember, and uses this information to perform another activity. Experiences lead to learning if the participant understands what happened, sees patterns of observations, generalizes from those observations and understands how to use the generalization again in a new situation.

This process of identifying what worked and did not work and developing a new strategy to reach a set goal embodies the entrepreneurial mindset of goal setting. This mindset will aid youth when they do encounter roadblocks and will ultimately aid them in successfully achieving their goals.

This the final article in a four-part series of Michigan State University Extension articles examining 4-H, failure and the entrepreneurial mindset. To read the rest of the articles in this series, see:

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