Pay it forward. Give back. Be kind, be generous, be humble. Invest in others and follow the golden rule. These are all very nice ideas but the narrative model for entrepreneurial stories tends to downplay them. Suren Dutia, senior fellow at the Kauffman Foundation and Washington University alum, ties together the importance of compassion with the role of the mentor in entrepreneurship in a recent Forbes article.
Dutia writes: “What has stuck with me all these years, however, is how much one altruistic act impacted my life, and set me on a course that I have continued on to this day. I feel incredibly blessed to have had support and guidance from someone who was, at the time, a complete stranger. What cannot be understated is the importance of giving back and the positive cycle that an act of kindness can start.”
In the article, Dutia gives a concrete example from his own life of how the turning point in his career was a result of a mentor’s compassion. The article offers insights and perspective that push against the glorification of the entrepreneur as a ‘self-made’ success.
“I have known some amazing, humble entrepreneurs who were not only incredibly successful but also aware that their success resulted from riding on the shoulders of those who helped them at critical stages in their careers.”