How To Have Courage

Courage is being able to do something in the face of obvious danger.  I have been discussing some politics the last couple of weeks and the main thing I wish is that politicians would have the courage to do the right thing in the face of political pressure to do the wrong thing.  Sometimes people get it wrong.  Especially masses of people who develop a mob mentality about a particular subject.  Unfortunately, we the people elect politicians.  It is a blessing and a curse to live a democratic society.  On the plus side, we help decide public policy so there is no taxation without representation.  On the minus side, we live in our own little worlds and often do not see the bigger picture.  That’s why the President and members of congress need to have the political will to set a particular direction and communicate the need for the direction to the people.  President Kennedy said that we need to go to the moon, not because it is easy, but because it is hard.  Political courage and leadership does not exist like that today.

There are three kinds of people when it comes to courage.  Those who lack courage, those who act knowing the dangers, and those who act because they have no clue or choose to have no clue.  The first group we call workers who trade their time for money because it seems like the safest way to go.  The third group is probably the most likely group to contain entrepreneurs because they act with no sense of danger.  The second group probably contains business manager types because they feel the danger and seek to understand it before acting.

As an entrepreneur, you want to try stuff knowing that you’re going to fail 90% of the time because there’s really not that much to lose.  But knowing that you’re going to fail means that you must be working with a net.  You must have a fallback position to take when everything goes to hell in a hand basket.  Even after you start succeeding, there is a danger that things will fall apart, so your fallback must be there probably for the first 5 years of a successful business.  After that, you must become a business manager.

Making the transition from an entrepreneur to a business manager is a tough one.  Often entrepreneurs will build their business to a certain point then sell it to a business manager, or hire a business manager to run it for them.  Very few non-manager entrepreneurs succeed at being a business manager… but personally I would try.  Of course I have my MBA so I do know what it takes to run a business… I am an entrepreneur because I try and try and try again, regardless of how many times I fail.  Not too many MBA’s are truly entrepreneurs, but I was an entrepreneur before I was an MBA, so I haven’t been tainted by the education.

Normal people do have things that they don’t want to lose.  You have your home and your family.  You drive a nice car.  You take vacations every spring.  Being an entrepreneur will take some sacrifice.  No doubt about it.  But you want to do things so that you don’t end up falling to rock bottom and losing everything you have.  You can start your business while you are still working.  You can separate your business from your personal finances (recommended).  You can set up an emergency account.  Or you can think of some other way to create a safety net to catch you when you fall.  Remember, you are going to fail, so be ready.

If you work a normal job, I applaud you.  You have much more courage than I do my friend.  You depend on one employer, who on a whim could wipe out your whole division and put you into the unemployment line.  Just like mine did last spring.  I was lucky enough to have a consulting business that caught me and has been supporting my family the last two months.  I didn’t think it would but I found out how many friends I had, and how much business I could really generate.  I depend on myself now, with the help of a few friends, and I see business into the forseeable future.

Are you still worried about when the pink slip will come?  I’m not.

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