“Can I be honest with you man?” Asks a friend of mine, to which I respond, “Of course.” I appreciate honesty and genuine communication more than most. I can take honest feedback and not be offended.
I’ve discovered through a long journey and much personal searching that I am cut from a different cloth. I am by nature and entrepreneur and leader. There’s much debate about this, but I think it is something you are either born with or not. This has led me to great restlessness working in the corporate world for large corporations. In my attempts to get out and put myself in a position where I can thrive and truly optimize upon my skillset and strengths I’ve met and befriended many other entrepreneurs. In this particular conversation I was lamenting about how difficult it has been for me to find opportunities to really give myself that one shot. Every person you speak to who is successful has one moment or opportunity that really spring boarded them and gave them the jump start they needed. I understand that opportunity is inevitable, it will always come, however unless you are prepared for it you will not recognize or capitalize on it. This process has been and continues to be about me preparing myself and waiting to pounce on that opportunity. Within this conversation, along the lines of looking for future opportunities, and discussing an idea I have my friend tells me, “You just need to jump the f#@k in man!” Before I continue, let me say I don’t question his good intention in saying this or his business savvy at all, it just made me think and therefore I’m writing.
Ultimately the tension I feel when considering this advice is that between responsible and irresponsible business actions, specifically entrepreneurial types. He wrote an article about how our culture frowns upon failure and because everyone fears failing not many get out of their comfort zone enough to achieve their full potential. I totally agree with this premise and think failure actually isn’t failure at all, but more learning opportunities*. Let me explain that asterisk a bit. Failure isn’t a bad thing when it is based upon responsible risk taking. Responsibility and risk taking too often are considered acronyms; however, it is my prescription that they must go hand in hand if one is to achieve success. An example I was given was Donald Trump. He has filed bankruptcy 7 times and look how successful he is, I was told. Hold on hold on, let’s rewind before we take this as solid counsel. Personal and Business bankruptcy are very different. Trump walked away from business bankruptcy, not personal, and has a ton of cash to blow and risk to lose. Comparing apples to apples is fair, apples to pomegranate is not. Don’t look to Trump as a blueprint, it worked for him, but most of us aren’t him, and thank God because that comb over is sick!
Risk is risk for a reason. Risk is risk because you have a large chance at failing. I look at it as a frozen lake. The risk of jumping in is that you’ll die, so before you do so, if you choose to do so, have a plan, be responsible. Just throwing caution to the wind and jumping in is irresponsibility, not fearless courageousness that a true entrepreneur has. I think that’s the most difficult thing to balance here. It’s a mighty thin line to walk being responsible yet willing to take risks, it’s a tricky dance. So just jumping in and looking at failure as a chance to learn is well-intended, however, failure can be good or bad. Failure because of lack of preparation is different from failure because of lack of experience or other external, uncontrollable variables that impact and ultimately drive the failure. Don’t fail because you are irresponsible. If you fail responsibly then you don’t fail, you learn, and grow. Don’t just jump the f#@k in, consider everything and plan carefully, then walk that thin line until you have to jump, responsibly of course.