March 21, 2013
It’s the thrill of fresh powder and icy winds, the rush of going 40mph down a sheer slope as the challenge of an entire mountainside opens up before you. It’s the racing of your heart and the blood pumping in your veins, with one foot fixed in fear and the other carving in delight.
I’m talking about snowboarding of course, but I’m also making a point about becoming an entrepreneur. Having just returned from some time away on the ice with my family, I’ve come to realize whether you are shreddin powder or running your own business, both boil down to the same principles in the end.
It often begins with doubt. Most people step off that snow lift for the first time and stare down in awe at the sheer expanse of ice that awaits them. Their feelings race from excitement to fear and back again, as there’s nothing between them and the journey ahead except the board and their brains. It’s the same when you start your own business and the sudden realization that everything rests on no one’s shoulders but your own. Just as in snowboarding you will fall the first time, the second time and probably the third and fourth time as well. Even with experience, you know you will inevitably fall again- It’s never a question of ‘if’, but ‘when’, both on and off the snow.
After those first few falls, chances are people are going to be dismayed or even angry. Whether it’s wiping out on the ice or the business loses a client-it’s only natural to feel dejected. A funny thing happens if they dig in and keep persisting: they starting gaining perspective. Best of all, doubt fades to be replaced with experience, the kind of practical knowledge only real bruises can teach. Confidence grows as they begin hitting those turns and reaching their business targets as it all starts coming together. They might fall again, but now we’ve got our previous wins to put them into the right perspective.