Having grandchildren has its perks. One of them is getting the chance to watch animated movies, many of which are very well made and have elements in them that are interesting to adults.
Recently, my wife and I watched one such production, called Home. In this show, an alien civilization (The Boov) has taken over earth and relocated all the humans to Australia, all except one–a girl named “Tip.” Among these aliens is an outcast, named “Oh” who is always getting into trouble. Tip and Oh end up together on a quest to find Tip’s mom in Australia.
On their adventures, we learn a few things about Boov. The Boov are masters at running away. Anytime there is less than a 50% probability of success, the Boov give up. And they NEVER under any circumstances run toward danger. (As I am sure you can surmise at this point, most of the story is about Oh having to face these situations, while being drug kicking and screaming by Tip.)
Being an Entrepreneur involves risk. In fact, taking risk to achieve success is entrepreneurial at its very core. We see something we want, and, with no guarantee of reward, we begin to invest–our time, energy, resources, even credit–to acquire our goal. Sometimes we invest for years without seeing the reward. We believe in ourselves and our vision, even when the statistical chances of achievement are slim. (You do know that most small businesses fail–in fact, lately, more are failing than begin.) We may even see opportunity in danger–a situation which most would run from gives us inspiration for something new that we run toward.
I had to learn not to give up. When I was younger, I was sure that quick success was a sign that I was on the right path. Too many obstacles meant that I was heading the wrong way. Time to change. I changed jobs frequently and was always looking for something better. I gave up on a dream and quit seminary (yes, I wanted to be a preacher) when it got too hard to make ends meet. Another time, I even went back on a promise to my wife to help her start her own business when I got offered a promotion that involved relocating to another city, thinking it would improve our lives.
The thing about my quitting was that it kept me from reward. After I had decided to quit seminary and made a commitment to a job in another state, opportunities that I had been pursuing where I was came together. We would have had all we needed to have made it through to the end. Ironically, we never stopped struggling financially at that new job. That promotion I took for which I violated my promise led to a net decrease in my family’s finances and put us in a mold-infested house that made everyone in my family sick. Not to mention, my wife had a huge gig for her little venture that would have had her making substantial income right away had we stayed. Running away was not working for me.
My wife figured this out before I did–I think the whole making-her-give-up-on-her-professional-goals-to-achieve-less-than-we-would-have-had-if-we-had-stayed thing kind of drove the point home to her. Ya think? So, when we started our business in 1999, there were more than a few opportunities every day to quit. And, believe me, I wanted to. But she wouldn’t let me. She kept reminding what quitting had cost us all these years. How most of the time the “change” I wanted where the grass was greener than my current painful situation wasn’t so great as I had hoped–leading me to want to change yet again.
I had to learn how to press through and win where I was. To not give up when the chances of success were less than 50%. To confront and even run toward danger if that were necessary.
Funny thing, when I did theses things, we started getting rewards. Our worst years in our not-so-sexy cleaning business have been significantly better than the best of what I had with my corporate job. We live in an executive neighborhood, and even work half of the time on the beach in Florida where we rent a place as well. Don’t get me wrong, it has not been cushy. In fact, sometimes it is very painful. But it is better. At least for us.
So, if you have been a Boov, like me, it is time to stop. Find your place; draw your line in the sand, and determine to find a way to succeed–where you are. Maybe the “change” you really need to make is within you.