I am the product of cheetah parents. Unlike the big cats, they do not roar, but they purr. They have semi-retractable claws (key word: semi). They are fast, they are fearless, and they are formidable both as hunters and as family protectors.
Growing up, my parents were unlike their tiger counterparts—I did not attend Chinese school on the weekends, I was encouraged to pursue interests in drama and the arts, and yes, I received my fair share of Nickelodeon and Cartoon Network.
They always said yes. Yes to anything I wanted to pursue; they never cringed at my constant piano and swimming bills, my tuition, my books, my magazine subscriptions, or all the trivial things a growing girl requests. But the yes always came with a stipulation; they wanted to see me put my all into it. They hoped I would appreciate it, they dreamed I would achieve the very same dreams that filled my sleep at night. Nothing was ever simply given outright—it was earned, and only then deserved. As my long-awaited sixteenth birthday neared, my parents weren’t about to fork over a car simply because I now held a plastic card to freedom. Since I was twelve, I knew the rule—any car was mine, if, and only if, I received award recognition at the state level for one of my academic and extracurricular pursuits.
They taught me the power of resilience, the power of perspiration, the power of dogged tenacity. And now, as I round up my first summer away from home, I’ve begun to wonder…have I been bred to become an entrepreneur?
In Mark Suster’s series on Entrepreneur DNA, he lists 12 attributes to possess to become a successful entrepreneur. But is there any kind of training that might encourage these traits? Where are these qualities most persistent? Most accessible? Most dominant? Most visible?
Does playing team sports build entrepreneurs? It sure helps in the competitiveness, resiliency, perspiration, and decisiveness departments!
Does playing instruments build entrepreneurs? You’re taught to pay attention to detail, to put in the hours, to continue to iterate on your previous attempts at a piece.
Are science labs the secret ingredient behind producing lean startup experts? Spending hours in the lab equates to hours of experimenting, testing, measuring, and even pivoting.
Perhaps Momma Xiao was onto something. Perhaps she wasn’t. In any case, Cheetah Mom, thanks.