Embrace the change, ditch the stereotypes!

They are lazy. They are entitled. They don’t like to work hard. They act like they know everything. “They” are millennials, and these four statements are lies.

These are just four common stereotypes I’ve heard thrown around when I tell people about the book I’m writing about highly successful millennial entrepreneurs. Mostly these accusers were baby-boomers and Gen X’rs who held a misconception in their head that was difficult to shake. I didn’t believe these myths several years ago when I started getting more intrigued with the millennial generation, and know for a fact today the millennial generation is our most valuable work force.

If you don’t believe me, just check out the 20 amazing examples in this week’s Crain’s Detroit Business Twenty under Twenty issue. Here are twenty extraordinary entrepreneurs and business leaders who have covered a mind-boggling amount of ground in a very short period of time. I could easily add another 200 names of Detroiters to this list of millennial entrepreneurs who are doing amazing things.

This is not a group of exceptions, this is a group of shining examples of a generation who are proving they can succeed on their own terms with a different set of rules. And I want to give them a standing ovation. I’m so enamored with this group, that I decided to write a book. It’s called Dare Mighty Things: A Field Guide for Millennial Entrepreneurs, and it features 11 amazing profiles of these young business rock stars.

One of the features in the book, is also one of Crain’s award winners Alexandra Clark, the founder of Bon Bon Bon. Alex is also the recipient of Forbes national 30-under-30 honor, and is a perfect example of an entrepreneur willing to be a rule breaker, daredevil and visionary to revolutionize an outdated industry like chocolate making.

When I hear the stereotypes bantered about like they are facts, it has become clear to me that it is the bias and fears of the perpetuator of these myths coming through. What they are really trying to say is that they are scared their way of doing things is becoming obsolete. That the rules they’ve lived by are no longer valid. And the crazy thing is that they are right about both fears. The rules of yesterday are obsolete and not valid any longer. And that’s a really good thing.

We should embrace the new way of doing things. We should look to learn from those coming up and challenging us and making things better. We should encourage them to challenge us more, not less. To push us harder, not stop. If we do that, this world will become a much better place much sooner.

Congrats to all the 20-under-20 winners, and the thousands and thousands of deserving millennial entrepreneurs who are doing equally awesome things! Please don’t stop changing the world!

TM Smith

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