Following the taping of an episode of the Family Feud show, Steve Harvey blessed the audience with six of the most powerful minutes that anyone striving to achieve success needed to hear. The core of his advice focused on one simple concept- jumping.
Harvey explained how we were all given gifts when we were born and if you want to be successful you need to find your gift and embrace it. He explained that while it’s great to go to college and get a degree, you have to do more than just get a job to truly be successful and happy. He then compared success to jumping off of a cliff and relying on a parachute- your gift- to break your fall. He warned, however, that it’s not that easy. If you take a leap to pursue your passion, you’re probably not going to succeed right away. It’s going to take time, and you’ll hit plenty of obstacles and get bruised and battered in the process, but that doesn’t mean you give up right away. Ultimately, you can play it safe and deal without the cuts and the tears and you can stand on that cliff for the rest of your life- nice and safe. But if you don’t jump your parachute will never open.
In life, we are all placed in situations where we must choose one of two paths- the safe, comfortable path where we can often predict the next steps, or the path that seems uncertain, uncomfortable and risky but, if completed successfully, can reap great rewards. This decision seems to transcend multiple levels, from something as simple as trying new foods, to figuring out who to date, to deciding the career path we want to pursue. It is often stated that the bigger the risk, the greater the reward. Many people know this and yet remain unwilling or unable to take a risk. Please understand that there is nothing wrong with that if that is ultimately how you choose to live your life. This post seeks to target those individuals who may want to take the jump but are so boggled down by the “what if’s” that it seduces them into a state of paralysis.
This process of jumping has burdened me for most of my life. A lot of my issues may be rooted in self-esteem issues that linger from severe bullying as a child. Some are related to my desire to take only known and calculated risks. Either way, I know that it took a tremendous amount of faith to take several big jumps in my life not knowing where I would land while also expecting some sort of failure and pain. My greatest reward from taking a jump of faith was the day I decided to become an entrepreneur. After years of dedicating my time and energy towards empowering and strengthening the dreams of others, I decided it was my time to focus on my dreams and my goals. It was only after a few short years that I had to decide if I was ready to make the biggest jump ever- to continue to work full-time while managing my growing business OR to leave my full-time job and focus all my time and energy on my business. I was overwhelmed with fear, anxiety, and doubt but ultimately made the decision to jump. I am thankful that I did because it has turned out to be one of the best decisions I have ever made.
The idea of becoming an entrepreneur is something I encourage everyone I meet to consider. Developing a brand, creating a product of your own design, dictating your schedule, and following your passion are all incredibly exciting and enticing. However, there are tremendous risks involved. Some are so great that the idea of becoming an entrepreneur is immediately dismissed as impossible. For some, the idea seems surreal and attainable yet also impossible. Through my own experiences, as well as from the experiences of many people who have either became an entrepreneur, planned but walked away from the idea, or still have hopes and aspirations of following that dream, I have identified five of the most common enemies to taking that jump
- Complacency- Many people often express a satisfaction with the current situation, whether actual or perceived. There is a level of comfort that is present- preset hours, bi-weekly paycheck, and laid out objectives. While some people thrive in this situation, it can be a true enemy to others. Personally, I don’t want to just get by or feel like I am coasting where I am. I hunger for the challenges and obstacles because I know they will make me stronger. Despite any successes I have achieved today, while I am incredibly appreciative and humbled by them, I am not satisfied. I know I am capable of way more. I cannot afford to get comfortable.
- Unknown passion- I have been approached by many people who commend me for my work. I explain to them that all I am doing is following my passion and figuring out how to manage it from a business standpoint. Knowing the business in and out and having a phenomenal work ethic would do nothing for me if I was not pursuing my passion. This is often what stops people from taking the jump. Chasing money will always leave you unfulfilled. Happiness will come when you do the work you love. Identify what you love and market it. I guarantee you the money will find you.
- Lack of creativity- In those instances where a person has found their passion, the question next up has to do with what to do with it. There are so many people out there doing similar work with similar passions so how do you plan on standing out? What do you do differently? What makes you or your product unique? If every idea you think of seems to have been said and done, that is not the time to quit. That is the time to get even more creative.
- Lack of a game plan- The first time I ever presented my product to a Principal, despite how hard I worked on the proposal and curriculum, I was not prepared to hear the word yes. I walked out of that meeting feeling excited which was immediately voided by my concerns regarding what I was going to do next. I spent the next month planning, and mapping out the next steps, and creating short and long term goals as well as defining how I would define success. The more we plan, the less we leave to the unknown- and even then we will be ready for whatever comes.
- Money- This seems to be the largest issue. It is partially from a lack of money to start a business and partially from a concern that a loss of steady income will be too much to handle. This is absolutely respectable. This aspect, however, also involves detailed planning. We somehow manage to budget for various other expenses from clothing to our Friday night activities. If you apply the same approach- saving money, being responsible, gathering information and advice through research, and investing wisely- you can place yourself in a position that is less uncomfortable, although the risk will still be there. Worse case, set a timeline. If after 6-12 months, you have not developed a systematic way to comfortable gain income through your venture, then it is time to plan out the next step.
Jump. JUMP!! Take a leap of faith. Follow your heart and your passion. Take risks. You do not want to be in a position where you see everyone else soaring or having regrets. Have faith that your parachute will open and then be prepared to enjoy the view!