Enterprise is all about having an adventurous spirit that isn't afraid to take risks. The problem is that often times you don't get to develop this attribute in the actual business world unless you are starting a business or are simply fortunate. The most dramatic activities that will help develop this trait will usually have to start outside the home. There are, however, usually going to be plenty of opportunities to build and demonstrate this spirit of enterprise at the workplace. The only problem is that they might be a little more subdued.

Outside of an office or other operation will be a completely free and open playground for you. Out there you can usually do whatever you want—not without consequences, but up to a point you will be free to keep those consequences to your personal life. This is an area where personal growth and development can really translate into this business-oriented growth. New challenges can come from anything, from starting a difficult quilt or taking up Judo. And what challenges you take will be entirely up to you, with a few caveats: 1) They have to be true challenges, and 2) You have to follow through, and 3) They have to truly challenge you in order to spur personal growth. In other words, sitting through every James Bond movie ever made in one sitting might technically be a challenge of sorts, but it probably won't make your sense of enterprise begin to blossom. In the activity section down below, there are some more concrete ideas for developing this kind of virtue.

While you are at you workplace you will have to be more creative about exercising this trait. If there is ever an opportunity for you to write a company email, get involved in some project, or develop ideas at a meeting, then you should try to take these opportunities every time it is appropriate. You shouldn't exaggerate any of your abilities, but these kind of activities may come up more often than you think if you look for them. The idea is to keep you from simply doing the bare minimum at your job every day you show up. If there is any room for advancement at all, success with this type of enthusiastic enterprise might make you a better candidate for these opportunities.

As far as entrepreneurial enterprise, this is a very large topic in and of itself. Personal growth and your creative enthusiasm for new challenges at the workplace will still benefit you if you look at developing your own business. I would be irresponsible, however, to suggest you throw a lot of investment into this thirst for challenge without a lot of careful research and education first—this really is a part of the challenge, so don't avoid it. The virtue of Enterprise doesn't guarantee success, but it tends to make a success larger and stabler after you develop a service that hasn't been already done all over in the exact same way.

Here are some activities that might help you develop your sense of enterprise:


  • Take Everyday Personal Events, and Make them BIG: If you have a date night with a spouse, time to spend with the kids, or a vacation to work on, try to tackle these "projects" with enthusiasm. A person with an entrepreneurial spirit plans big and takes the steps necessary to meet those dreams. You can feed this in small ways throughout your personal life. Note: creativity is sometimes better than spending a lot of money.
  • Apply the Entrepreneurial Spirit to Your Current Job: This is a little like making your personal life "BIG" as noted above. Don't get yourself in trouble with your superiors, but come up with new ideas to improve your tasks and how you get them done. If you come up with bigger ideas, try to share them with management. Take the courage to foster this spirit.
  • Mark Your Three Biggest Bad Habits, and Take Them On: This involves taking control of your life and learning not to be afraid of tackling challenges head on. Some bad habits may be covered by a virtue on this site, others may not. Examples include eating problems, nail-biting, avoiding conflict, etc.
  • Take a Hobby and Expand On It: Do something ambitious with a hobby you enjoy. Next, make both a plan and a schedule—and then follow it. If this ambition requires some investment of money, plan these monetary issues as well. This is great practice for planning and following through on larger projects.
  • Read Up Now: If you ever thought about starting a business someday or expanding you income, research it now—even if acting on it right now isn't truly possible. The more you educate yourself the better your chances are, and this will give you a head start in case an opportunity suddenly opens up. There is endless competition in start-ups, but if you are exceptionally prepared and educated—and smart with how you start—you have a much better advantage as a lot of the competition will include those that didn't do their homework.
  • Work on Inventiveness and Intelligence: These really are the core values of enterprise, and they would be part of its virtue set if Enterprise itself was a separate value system on this website. Enterprise can also be seen as the courageous and independent expression of inventiveness and (hopefully) intelligence.

Your Record

Every time you discard a big idea with little thought, mark yourself at "fault". Otherwise, this virtue requires big ideas and you will have to make some before you can judge yourself adequately (if you are not focusing on this virtue explicitly, you will just have to judge yourself the best you can). Make some plans or goals based on the activities above or on your own dreams; organize your plans and make a set of steps you will need to take to meet each goal. If you fail to meet your goal or follow your plan, then mark yourself at fault.


No man that does not see visions will ever realize any high hope or undertake any high enterprise.

Woodrow T. Wilson, 28th President of the United States

The prudent see only the difficulties, the bold only the advantages, of a great enterprise; the hero sees both; diminishes the former and makes the latter preponderate, and so conquers.

Johann Kaspar Lavater, Swiss Theologian

The imagination imitates. It is the critical spirit that creates.

Oscar Wilde, Irish Dramatist, Critic, and Novelist

Golden Mean

Excessive enterprise

Recommended Reading

The Follow-Through Factor: Getting from Doubt to Done — by Gene C. Hayden

This book is a self-help guide to help you develop ideas and techniques to follow through on your ambitions even when circumstances seem to imply that they are impossible.

Kick Start Your Dream Business: Getting It Started and Keeping You Going — by Romanus Wolter

This book gives you a rundown on all motivational and practical steps to starting a successful business.

Small Business For Dummies — by Jim Schell

This is a how-to book on how to start a small business from the popular "For Dummies" series.

General Rules

Practice virtues daily so that they become ‘habits of the heart’.

Don‘t strive for perfection.

Never give up! Remember: even the greats have off days.

Rely on your intuition.

Avoid extremes. Strive to achieve the golden mean between excess and deficiency of a virtue.

Have fun and enjoy the program with humor and optimism.

Man needs, for his happiness, not only the enjoyment of this or that, but hope and enterprise and change. Bertrand Russell