Get Going! (#2 In A Series)
Have you seen The Pursuit of Happyness yet? This is the story of a man who perseveres despite hardships and overwhelming odds, working hard as an unpaid intern to get a lucrative paid position. He (Chris Gardner, played by Will Smith) and his young son (played by Will's son Jaden), later goes on to establish his own company. I do not watch many movies, preferring to wait until they come out on DVD, so I can hear the movie instead of someone talking on their phone, but this is an exception. I would suggest that anyone who is hoping to start on his or her own way to owning and operating a business should watch this movie.
I recently read the Book of Esther in the Bible. It too records how two people overcame tremendous odds and hardships—saving their people from sure extermination and learning to depend on the unseen hand of God and boldly confronting the people and things that threatened them. Too many books and magazine articles emphasize the "I did it myself" angle, when in fact, they had people that believed in them, took chances in order to benefit them, and seemed to be acting in coordination with them, even though neither person was aware of it.
There are dozens of things standing between where you are today and where you want to be. If you stand complacently where you are, those obstacles will remain there for your lifetime. Even so, charging forward without thinking about what you will face and how it could affect you and those you care about is pure foolishness.
Where, then, should you start? You should start be assessing where you are today, and what things about that position are important to preserve, and then assessing where you want to be, and what things need to change in order for you to get there. But you should also assess whether the place you want to be is where you really should be going. If you want to be the biggest drug dealer in your city, for example, you really should not be trying to fulfill that.
Everyone has a mission, a reason why we are here, a task that we are supposed to accomplish. Your mission is not something that you can accomplish on your own, without help (even unseen help from God above and those whom he gives favorable impressions of you), for that would not cause you to grow. However, if you look back at your life, especially if you are over thirty years old, you will find something that you kept coming back to—transportation, education, religious ministry, politics, gardening or farming, public safety, or whatever. Whatever it is, look at it in broad terms, because that is your field. Your mission will involve doing something in that field in such a way that it benefits others in the world around you.
Having found your field, and assessed your current position, is your desired endpoint something that is in your field and you should be doing? Are you willing and able to forego most current pleasures (including social time with some of the people that matter most to you) in order to get there? Have you squared your life with your long-term mission assigned from above?
You see, Esther and her cousin Mordecai were able to do some amazing things. They were of a hated and persecuted ethnic group, in a militarily powerful but not very merciful nation. Most of them were forcibly dispersed throughout the nation and its possessions, in order to dilute their ability to rise up against the ruling order. And yet, these two were able to overcome their fear of punishment (and even execution) in order to confront the king and his closest advisor. When the dust had settled, the advisor, who was behind the extermination order, was dead, and Mordecai was elevated in his place.
In order to start in business, you will face obstacles, ranging from no startup capital, to city zoning laws that force you to start in the high-rent commercial district, to people who dislike you because of your birth (ethnic group, gender, etc), to people who feel that your business does not have enough history to be a serious contender for their money, to family members and friends who feel that "you've changed" because you no longer have as much time to hang out and relax with them, to old debts and current living expenses that are higher than you can afford, to bosses that expect you to give them 100% in exchange for almost nothing from them, to household members who think that you are off any time you are at home. You will need to confront all of those things with boldness, but without being proud, arrogant, submissive, or harsh.
Read the book and watch the movie. Settle for yourself this week what your mission is and how you can stick it out through all the hardships and pressure you will face as you start this new venture.
This is the second in a series. The first entry is Get Started! (#1 In A Series).