We set out to create a narrative to encourage personal agency, self-sufficiency, and social engagement. In doing so, we developed a project that stretched beyond the idea of financial independence into the realm of self-actualization. Mindfulness became central to our narrative. We found that a deep knowledge of self has a way of connecting one person to every living thing.
The following is an interview with the authors, Camalo Gaskin and Aubrey Gail Ferreira.
How did you come up with the idea for this book?
Camalo: I invented the story of Entrepreneur as a bedtime ritual with my daughter, featuring a girl character who chooses to no longer go to school, and whose parents agree with her decision on three conditions: (1) that she records everything she learns, (2) she learns the many different ways people earn money, and (3) she seeks to discover what makes people happy. After a series of stories emerged from this narrative, I knew this book had to be written down. The book that finally tells girls that they can use their imaginations and their voices to define the future.
Channeling these stories both served as a bonding ritual and a tool to encourage my daughter to ask these same questions of her city. She loved the character and her world. She loved learning about new professions, the minds of strangers, and new obsessions. She began to understand that everyone around her had a unique source of happiness and unique sources of money. Her anxiety about choosing a path for herself became excitement.
Do you think this kind of anxiety can come up for adults too?
C: Certainly. It’s related to transitioning from one phase to the next. At turning points in our lives (e.g. finishing school, changing professions, ending a relationship, children leaving home, etc.) there it is. A bit of fear like, Will I be able to do this? Can I change?
So who is this book for?
Aubrey: Entrepreneur is a loving little girl finding her way in the world and engaging in self-exploration at once. For that reason, this book lends itself easily to that readership. We hope it finds it’s way into lots of little hands. But in my mind, the narrative is also an allegory addressing a stage of development that even adults can (and should!) find themselves returning to again and again. It’s about a state of curiosity, making oneself humble, putting the ego away, asking questions, and exploring the the world anew. I feel no one is ever really “grown” or done growing. Someone may have a successful career for 30 years and suddenly realize that they are just not excited by it anymore, or that they can’t continue to ignore some central part of the work that gets them down. Now it’s time to rethink things. Now they become Entrepreneur, the small child who looks around for new information, full of questions. When you step outside your door in this state of mind, the universe is glad to meet you. Answers and opportunities come to support your true nature, your growing and evolving spirit. Too many of us get stuck in “adult mode” doing what we think we’re supposed to do. I say, do what you want! The possibilities are endless. Dedicate yourself and your actions, to figuring out how to make “doing you” sustainable. That’s what this book is about. So really it’s for everyone.
There’s a wonderful passage on lucid dreaming or active imagination, how is this relevant to lessons on entrepreneurship?
A: Entrepreneur Finds Her Way really builds a bridge between those two realms. On one side, we have the practical world. A world where you need to earn money to support yourself and to survive. On the other side, there is the realm of imagination, dream, creativity and feeling. We wanted to write a book that encourages kids—and everyone really—to have the courage to think things up for themselves. To spend time with themselves, with their thoughts and ideas. To dream big. To find their magic. And then to come back into a practical mind and make things happen. To find resources and put them to use to express the contents of the heart and the spirit.
What does the word “magic” mean to you?
A: A willingness to imagine, to venture into mysterious places in the world and in our inner worlds and then to bring something back to share. Having an idea and building it, making it happen, writing down the words, baking the cake, creating something that did not exist before. Intentionally using one’s will to dream stuff up and bring it into being. That’s power. That’s magic.