It’s my four year anniversary into entrepreneurship, and I can’t help but feel a bit reflective. It has been the most challenging and rewarding endeavor of my professional life. We’ve experienced the ups and downs, twists and turns, starts and stops and somehow seemed to find our way forward. I wouldn’t trade it for anything.
I was visiting a client on the east coast a few weeks ago who has enjoyed a long and incredibly successful career as an entrepreneur. (I’ll post my interview with Larry Flick, chairman and CEO of Prudential Fox & Roach/Trident, next week). I asked him for the best advice he has ever received on building a business? He responded:
“Never give up.”
Sound advice in principle. Not so easy in practice. I’ve found the appetite to press on grows stronger with a little forward momentum. Entering year four we’ve got some of that our side now and it has made all the difference in the world.
I had the opportunity to kick off the Forward Momentum conference this week for Motorola — the theme they used for the gathering of their North American sales organization. The previous year’s opening keynote, Seth Godin, wasn’t going to be easy to follow — and I think everyone was initially curious about the selection of this relatively unknown speaker by comparison. Truth be told, I can still get throw up nervous on occasion, especially when I really want a moment to matter.
Prior to four years ago I dreamed about a day like Tuesday. A week like this week. I am writing from one of my favorite hotels in the world right now and preparing for my next engagement.
Forward momentum can propel you into those places. However, prior to four years ago I was missing the secret ingredient: massive action.
Massive action precedes momentum. Not a little effort. Not a test. Not a hedge move.
I tried those things and wasn’t focused or succeeding. Too much time spent coffee shopping to make sure I had a Plan B. Too much time wasted in job interviews for jobs I didn’t want. Too much listening to my Lizard Brain and talking myself out of change, risk and achievement. (Thank you Seth Godin for helping me understand that so much better).
We are approaching the next phase of building the business. I am about to get uncomfortable again. I know we’ll make mistakes, have big moments of pause and a little voice of doubt whispering “this is stupid.” In those moments I am going to take Larry’s advice and trust that with massive action toward our desired outcome a little momentum will eventually show up and we’ll keep growing forward. That is when it starts to get fun.
If you are reading this post, I also want to say thank you. Your support is deeply appreciated. I am looking very forward to four more years.
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