My favorite part of the Noah’s Ark story is not that he listened to his god and therefore managed to save mankind and the animals, and it’s not the rainbows, or even the dove as a symbol of divine peace and love. My favorite part happens long before the rains begin to fall. I love that no matter how much people laughed and scoffed at what he was doing; Noah still went right on building that ark. Think about how many days, weeks, months it took to build that thing and all the while they were mocking him. His commitment and tenacity is an awesome example of doing what you believe in no matter what those around you might think. Noah was willing to look foolish in the eyes of everyone around him so that he could fulfill his destiny. As an entrepreneur, I find that story quite inspirational. How many of us were laughed at or mocked when we first started our adventures into self-employment.
People continually say, “Oh you’re so lucky! I wish I was a rich business owner!” whenever they encounter a successful entrepreneur. I find that statement to be ignorant and somewhat insulting. Like Noah, most entrepreneurs started out with a vision of some sort, a passion, and a strong sense of purpose as they began building their business. Many of us are shot down from the very start before we’ve even begun. The minute we start telling friends and family of our plans, they start reminding us that we are not smart enough, talented enough, or wealthy enough to launch such a dream.
I remember years ago when I first took my big leap of faith and quit my ‘real job’ to create Tomorrow’s Edge. My children and my best friend supported me, but everyone else sweetly and politely reminded me of all of the reasons that I should not do it. A friend of mine called me on the telephone to remind me of how he had told his boss to go to hell one day and quit his job to start his own company. Two years later and bordering on bankruptcy, he was begging that same boss to forgive him and to take him back on as an employee. Didn’t I know just how many people fail at self-employment within the first couple of years? Was I crazy to even consider such a thing!
A woman who had been like a second mother to me for many years told me that since I didn’t have a formal college degree and a doctorate in mental health, that I was not qualified to even think about doing the work that I was about to do.
A woman from my church who had been really close to me got really angry and chewed me out one day because she said I was trying to start my own church and was trying to copycat our minister. Her loyalty to our minister and her dreams was lovely, but I really didn’t see how Tomorrow’s Edge was ever going to be a church or even a religion.
My own extended family never even heard me as I told them over and over for the first five years of the company’s existence that I was even doing this thing. They all acted like I was sitting home painting my toenails pink every day. Most of my family still really has no clue what I do and why I do it.
Does any of that matter? Heck no! These people’s opinions of me and of my goals didn’t really change a darn thing. And that’s the point. When you have a goal, a dream, a vision, a mission that burns a hole in your soul when you are not working at it, then you are willing to look like an idiot and a stubborn old fool if that’s what it takes to succeed. So what if you don’t have a loving support system. It’s your dream, your goal, your vision, your mission – not theirs. If they were meant to do it, then they would have that relentless fire burning in the depths of their souls to roll up their sleeves and help you. It was never theirs to love in the first place, it was always meant for you and you alone.
If you don’t have the backbone, tenacity, focus, drive, and raw passion to get beyond what other’s think of you and your dreams, then you have no business trying to be self-employed. Make a fool of yourself, so what! What if you fail? Who cares? Most successful entrepreneurs have a handful of failures under their belt before they finally learn all of the little business secrets and such that is required in order to become fiscally stable and profitable. You are going to have some of your product lines fail and some of them are going to sell. You are going to have employees flake off and some who will be incredibly loyal and helpful. You are going to have last minute disasters that nearly bankrupt you and you’re going to have windfalls that make it all worth while. Self-employment isn’t for the weak and the easily swayed. If your family and friends can make you question whether or not you have any business starting your own company, what do you think your competitors are going to do to you? They’ll chew you up and spit you out.
The nay-sayers are your practice customers and your practice competitors. They give you the opportunity to seriously answer the important questions: Are you committed, really committed? Do you have what it takes to stand up for what you truly believe in? Can you sell the nonbelievers on the viability of your ideas? Do you believe in your goal? Do you believe in yourself? Can you defend your decision to go into business for yourself without getting angry and emotional? Thank your family and friends for mocking you!
Skye Thomas is the CEO of Tomorrow’s Edge, an Internet leader in inspiring leaps of faith. She became a writer in 1999 after twenty years of studying spirituality, metaphysics, astrology, personal growth, motivation, soulmates, and parenting. Her books and articles have inspired people of all ages and faiths to recommit themselves to the pursuit of happiness. After years of high heels and business clothes, she is currently enjoying working from home in her pajamas. To read more of her articles, sign up to receive her free weekly newsletter, and get free previews of her books go to http://www.TomorrowsEdge.net