Grab the flag. Lead the charge.
Recently a client and good friend said, “I would be willing to bet a smart guy like you with a lot of success in your past wasn’t in danger of losing your house when you started your business, even if it had failed.” She’s wrong, but she’s not at all alone in believing that. Why?
Does anybody lead by example anymore?
For years I’ve ranted about going all in, burning the bridges, sinking the ships, shredding the parachutes, being willing to lose it all to be successful. I’ve shared all the research I can find on this, and my own experience in five businesses of waking up at 3am in cold sweats wondering if we would make it.
Yet it’s still hard for people to believe that I actually lived at risk in any of these businesses. For some of them I didn’t, but for the ones that were most successful (including this one) I was at the most risk. That correlation between success and risk is not surprising to me, because when we don’t have a back door, we are more likely to be successful. Survival is a very strong instinct.
Risk and commitment go hand in hand and are fundamental to success.
So why don’t people believe me? I’d love your thoughts. My own two cents:
- We have apparently lost most if not all connections between what leaders say you should do and what they themselves actually do. We’re indoctrinated with the academic model where information goes from head to head, not life to life. The professor spews info and goes home.
- The “training” and “success” industries follow the academic model. I know a number of trainers who were hired to learn to impart tools and tactics for how to live life who never did any of what they taught. And I know success trainers who have never been successful. In many if not most cases, it’s not even expected.
- We’ve gotten use to separating the private and public lives of actors, politicians, big business CEOs and others as if who we are in public is magically different than who we are in private.
- “Experts” and “Gurus” have created images of themselves that are nearly messiah-like, where they can’t be seen to ever struggle or do dumb things. So they spout the “miracles”, “secrets”, and “5 easy steps” they used to make life so easy that they have no problems any more. We actually believe these people don’t struggle (they make more money when we believe that).
I struggle. I have bad days. I have to work at seeing everything as “fascinating!”. And I risked everything in a number of businesses when I truly believed it was worth doing. I’m not an expert, or a guru, and I’m not smart, I’m just relentless. It’s how successful business owners build businesses.