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Undertaking and learning.

Entrepreneurship is a constant and consistent act of learning. The more we learn, the better we undertake.

I’ve always enjoyed watching an artist sharpen his pencil. Unlike most people, artists don’t usually use a sharpener. They prefer to scrape the tip of the pencil with a blade, in order to achieve more precision in the cut, until reaching the thickness and shape that they consider perfect to bring their art to life. This is a process similar to the cutting of a precious stone, which, when carefully cut by the jeweler, ceases to be raw and becomes a jewel of immense value.

Since I was little I liked to draw, I have always considered this a fundamental process to accurately build any work – or art. Diving into the entrepreneurial journey, I realize that the same thing happens there: every day we improve processes, improve details, evolve procedures in order to make our business even better. With the sharper tip of the pencil, we were able to make more assertive strokes on the paper. And with that, do better our role as entrepreneurs.

At the end of each work we deliver to Essence, we kindly ask you to receive feedback from our client. But every time a client comes to me and asks for space to give me honest feedback in a direct way, it’s one of my most celebratory moments. As someone who has always nurtured a high level of criticality about everything (especially myself!), feedback is not necessarily a comfortable or delicious moment. But as painful as it is, it rips a sliver out of me and makes me sharper just a little bit – just like an artist’s pencil.

The pain of getting a blade directly to your jugular isn’t the best thing in life, but the result can be. And when I see that that little chip that kept me from operating at my best is now no longer part of me, I’m able to better write the next chapters of my story.

I don’t want this to be a motivational text about the importance of receiving feedback, but about the importance of continuing to polish yourself.

After all, a pencil that is not sharpened at some point stops scratching. In other words, stoning is nothing more than the only way to keep us scratching (and risking!).

If I learn more about anything, I learn more about my business and how to lead and manage better. Every entrepreneur needs to be a lifelong learner. In my view, it is part of the typical profile and behavior of anyone who wants to undertake, whatever it may be. He could even call himself a “learner”. I think that term would fit very well.

With that in mind, I’ve separated some tips to nurture the “learner” inside you:

  • Look at the world like a child: Children are naturally curious. Curiosity allows us to never lose the habit of wanting to understand things, no matter how much the world tells us that “that’s how it is”. For me, there’s nothing worse than that. I never resigned myself when my mother said that something “was just like that”. Never is. There’s always a why. As much as we mere humans still don’t know how to answer. And it’s okay not to know the answer. I just don’t agree to settle for any answer.
  • Don’t settle for any answer: Yeah. After all, the most important part of all is asking the questions. And questions well asked deserve answers – or attempts at answers – worthy.
  • Never stop asking: Questions are the beginning of many reflections and discoveries, and they are a great learning tool. What we need to do is know how to ask. But I’ll leave this reflection to my partner Ryo Penna, who did an amazing TEDx on The Wisdom of Questions. You can continue this reflection there.

Running a business requires a combination of countless skills, to be developed – and honed! – day after day. If “each head is a world”, imagine leading dozens, hundreds or even thousands of worlds daily? Understanding management very often means understanding people. And to understand people, you must always be open to learning to see new perspectives.

That’s why I believe that managing brands with a soul is first and foremost about understanding the essence of that business and realizing how it truly touches people. From there, the rest of the work is much simpler.

If you think differently, don’t agree with something you read here and see it from another perspective, come more! This means that we have the opportunity to have a good and enriching conversation and learn together! If you see the world as I do, get more too! Regardless of anything, I hope I have left a little mark on your soul with this reflection. 🙂

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