It starts with a dream. Then it becomes a vision. Next follows the roaring passion deep inside to solve some big problem. And without hesitation the synapses in your brain fires and the idea of a start-up is born.
Believe it or not this happens to many. I have always believed that the difference between a person with a great idea and an entrepreneur is action. The action, which is not necessarily the execution of a plan, but rather the willingness to dive off the high dive with nothing more than a passionate vision of the water that should be below. Few are willing to take on such a dive and as a result many great ideas simply remain on the side as great ideas. The entrepreneur on the other hand, makes the dive and believes all the way down that his or her idea can change the world and make a huge splash.
What’s interesting is that many take this dive well knowing that the probability of a successful splash is stacked against them. In fact the probability of success is somewhere around 12 percent. Yet we do it anyway. It’s not because we want to be billionaires or be on the front page of Wired magazine or Forbes. It’s because we truly and passionately believe we can change how something is done and actually improve the lives of people around us.
And unfortunately, being an entrepreneur is not for the faint of heart. Unless you’re in Silicon Valley, so I have read, most people will look at you with pity in their eyes and the skeptics and naysayers will abound. Don’t expect your friends and sometimes even family to cheer you on as you gamble your life savings on an idea that will soon change the world. And yes, friends will listen then laugh, family will provide words of encouragement with doubt in their eyes, and even your own conscious will begin to wonder if everyone else is right and you are actually the crazy one in the room. All of this will make it certainly easy to give up and become like everyone else along the way. It will take a tremendous amount of drive, ambition and passion to forge ahead. I know first hand that it is not easy. Not a day goes by that I don’t wake up repeating one simple phrase to myself…
‘Never never never give up.’
Many entrepreneurs know that running a start-up is in fact probably one of the hardest things any person can attempt in life. There are so many working parts that have to be in sync while the world continues to change as innovation miraculously occurs rapidly and simultaneously. The mere act of initially forming a super team and maintaining team cohesiveness and motivation is often insurmountable in itself.
It is enough to make the sanest person a bit loony and the strongest teams collapse. It is an ability to morph from sane to loony and back again without team members killing each other that leads to triumph. While most people would simply curl up in a fetal position and give up, a true entrepreneur never gives up. They may pivot but not give up. And they certainly know when to check their egos at the front door and how to swallow gallons of pride.
It takes an undying willingness to remain passionate about an idea in a world of adversity. You must push forward while keeping the world at bay and the passion alive as a single collective working toward a world changing, life altering, common goal.
It is certainly not meant for all. But if you dare, take the dive sooner than later. It may be a complete belly flop or a beautiful swan dive into an empty pool or it could be an Olympic qualifying dive into a wonderful pool of success surrounded by people cheering you on. Either way, you will be one of just a few that has experienced the right of passage that all entrepreneurs have undergone.
For me personally, since that day I decided to jump, I have learned more than any Ivy League MBA program could provide, met some truly amazing people, and yes, even with all the naysayers, our team still to this day believes there is water below. We remain a proud solid team of entrepreneurs and new life long friends that can hardly wait to make the splash.
That alone is worth taking the plunge.