Entrepreneurial Pro Tip #1

Photo by Ky Chan

Photo by Ky Chan

Take the Road Less Traveled

By Delano Garner

Here's a question for you: What would you do if you could not fail? I’ve found that just about everyone knows what they would do if they got the chance, but too often, taking that chance seems like a luxury we can't afford. I've worked with hundreds if not thousands of employees, and I would say only a small percentage of them are doing the work that they really want to do. They may have a stable job with a steady paycheck and decent benefits, but still long to contribute more of themselves and to be more independent.

I’ve worked with a high-level superintendent who wanted to be a choreographer for dance productions. I’ve worked with a technology professional who really wanted to open his own coffee shop. I've worked with a custodial services professional who had incredible ideas for tools that would help other custodians do their jobs more easily. The difference between doing a job and exercising entrepreneurship is whether or not you’re doing what gives you joy while feeding your desire to make a contribution.

It’s never too soon or too late to start doing what you love. I work with a lot of employees who are closing in on retirement. I ask them, "What do you want to do?" Overwhelmingly, the answer is the same: "I only have a few more years until retirement, so it doesn't matter." Or someone younger might tell me, "Well, it doesn't matter because the investment is too high or I don't have the time or I don't have the mental capacity." I push them. I ask if all things were equal, and if there were no obstacles, would you pursue your dream? I’ve always gotten a resounding “Yes!”

If it were the pathway of least resistance, everyone would pursue their dream. But because pursuing a dream takes a lot of work, most people get a job (even more work) – often in the pursuit of someone else’s dream. Entrepreneurs understand that tendency. When circumstances are not ideal – they’ve got a mortgage, their kids are in school, they’re taking care of their parents, they need to replace their car – an entrepreneur will still dive in. Entrepreneurs understand that there is never going to be a “perfect” time to pursue their dreams, no matter how big or small. Don’t wait for some set of circumstances to line up so that you can pursue your passion – do it now!