Hattie Elliot on How Entrepreneurship Fosters Personal Growth

In Chapter 14 of 19 in her 2012 Capture Your Flag interview, female entrepreneur Hattie Grace Elliot answers "How Has Your Entrepreneurial Experience Helped You Grow as a Person?"  For Elliot, it comes down to learning from reflective moments and accepting the accountability that comes from the entrepreneurial experience.  This gives her a greater human perspective and has taught her to be more accepting and less judgmental of others. 

Hattie Grace Elliot is the founder and CEO of The Grace List, a social networking company that creates destination events and experiences to forge lasting personal and professional connections across its young professional members. Elliot graduated from the University of Cape Town in South Africa, where she studied economics, philosophy, and politics.


Erik Michielsen: How has your entrepreneurial experience helped you grow as a person?

Hattie Elliot: It’s funny. It feels like we keep coming back to the theme of reflection. When you are an entrepreneur, you know, when things go wrong, when you’re—you know, when you’re having trouble paying your rent, when you have employees that make major blunders, you realize 99% of the time it’s your fault, because you didn’t communicate something properly. When you are delivering a product and there’s an issue, the weight is on you. There’s really not much room for hiding behind a wall, I would say—like when you’re in the corporate world often, there’s so many levels, like when I was in advertising, you’re part of such a big team and there’s so many levels just to put together one project, when there’s a major eff-up, like, you know, there’s enough people to distribute the blame, like when I make a mistake, it’s my own, and it’s a very tough and humbling thing but in terms of personal growth, it really forces you, number one, to be accountable for your actions, if you’re gonna be a successful entrepreneur, I think accountability and reflection just are key. You need to—when things aren’t going right, you need to confront it. You need to be accountable. You need to figure out what went wrong. And not have an ego about it and figure out a way you either—I mean excuse my language, but kind of shit or get off the pot type of thing. 

If you go around blaming other people, which a lot of us have the ability to do, it’s an easy way out; you’ll never be successful. You really won’t be. So I think it’s really a matter of really acknowledging there’s this constant—you’re constantly forced to reflect, acknowledge and be accountable for your actions, which I find to be, in the grand scheme of life, has been a really incredible journey, but definitely not an easy one. But I kind of feel like I can take on the world now because I’ve had great success, I’ve had great failure, ups and downs, but it really—it gives you better perspective as a human being, it makes you a lot more sympathetic, less judgmental and more understanding towards others, and I think that that makes—has made my life, at least, so much more just rewarding on all levels, and so much more wonderful.