Might as well jump
Go ahead an' jump (jump!)
- Van Halen
If someone had suggested that I start my own business 15, 10 or even 3 years ago I would have come up with a list of excuses filled with self-doubt and negative self-talk such as 1) I don’t know anything about running a business, 2) I’m not smart enough, 3) I am happy and content with being the CEO of the Elwer household. Yet, here I am 10 months into launching Hands & Feet.
So how did I get here? Ultimately, it came down to taking a leap of faith...in myself. Despite my fears, I decided to DO something about a vision God placed in my heart during a church service in late 2015. I found the courage to put my idea out into the world. Was I scared, yes. (Who am I kidding? I’m I still scared).
I still don’t know a lot about running a business but I am learning every day by DOING. Am I making mistakes? Heck yes but I’ve given myself permission to make those mistakes.
“You’re doing it wrong but at least you’re doing it. Once you’re doing it, you have a chance to do it better. Waiting for perfect means not starting.” Seth Godin.
I love this quote from Seth Godin. Why? Because it’s giving me permission to start even if I don’t know it all or have all the answers. It confirms that I will make mistakes and they will create an opportunity for me to learn and grow. Some of my greatest learnings have been the result of making mistakes. Fail trying - Do it!
What’s the worst that can happen? I make a run at it and it fails. OK. It might be painful, but at least I tried. And guess what? It’s still a win because I will come away from the experience smarter than when I started. When I’m old and grey (maybe I’ll just say old because let’s be honest, I’m already grey) I would rather reminisce about all the things I DID rather than the things I WISH I had done.
I’m scared of heights. Not a little scared - a lot. Merely approaching the edge of anything more than 20 feet off the ground is enough to make my legs feel like cooked spaghetti.
So it is with the big decisions in our lives. Fear grips us firmly in our gut, doing everything it can to convince us that taking even one step will send us tumbling to a painful and certain death. Perhaps that’s a bit dramatic, but fear is certainly a skilled master in stifling our greatest aspirations.
So why push through it? Well, when it’s all said and done we’re going to have two lists: 1) a list of all the things we actually did, and 2) a list of all the things we wished we had done. What do your lists look like today?
When Susan first had the idea of starting an apparel company, Hands & Feet was on its way to making the second list. Then we found our purpose. In a seemingly unrelated turn of events, Susan found out about a 4 year-old boy who’d gone three months without lunch. In a flash, the apparel company went from being about ‘What’ to being fueled by ‘Why’.
So it is with standing at the edge of making a big decision - the kind that ties our stomach in knots while at the same time fighting the incessant voice that seems to know we MUST do it. We allow ourselves to get all wrapped up with ‘what’ we’re so afraid of that we ignore the all-important ‘why’ we have to do it. Courage, energy and action all spring from the ‘why’.
Of all the learnings we’ve had since starting Hands & Feet, perhaps the most valuable has been the difference between “thinking about it” vs. “doing it”. Letting Hands & Feet end up on ‘list #2’ would certainly have been the easy thing for us to do.
Fear - 1
Susan & Eric - 0
But we took the leap.
Surprisingly, what seemed like a leap was simply the first wobbly step. If you’re standing on the edge of a what looks like a big, scary decision that may change your life forever - leap! Take that first big step – it’s not as scary as it looks. Remember, fear never bites as hard as regret.
“Don't fear failure so much that you refuse to try new things. The saddest summary of life contains three descriptions: could have, might have, and should have.” ~Unknown