Several years ago, while on a family vacation, we visited a high-alpine glacier-fed lake in northern-Montana. The surroundings were absolutely beautiful! As far as you could see the mountainsides were covered in pine trees. In fact, the pine trees seemed to run all of the way down the shore into the water. The few cabins that you could see were surrounded by the dense forest, and began to simply fade into their surroundings.
The lake itself was quite a site to be seen. From the shore, or even the deck of the boat, you could see clearly to the bottom of the lake. This phenomenon would occur until you went out deep enough that the light was obscured only by the depth of the water. The lake was clear, and clean. The bottom was rock-filled, and inviting.
The view of the lake and surroundings held nothing on the experience of actually participating in activities at the lake. Several times during our stay, we would venture out to different parts of the lake to find new experiences and opportunities to explore. Because of the size of the lake, and the relatively remote location, it seemed to me that we had the lake quite nearly to ourselves. You could say that the sight would leave you breathless. Often, we would find ourselves anchoring the boat and jumping in for a swim.
To this day, I can still distinctly remember the feeling that came over me when I jumped off of the back of the boat into the pristine water. Now, there’s nothing that can quite prepare your mind and body for the feeling that occurs when a nice warm body submerges in an aged and refrigerated body of nearly arctic water. The moment you enter the water, you are shocked to your core. You are almost paralyzed by the extent of the coldness attacking your muscles. For a moment (or longer), your breath is taken from you. While sinking deeper into the water you begin to wonder if you will survive the plunge. If your brain worked at full capacity, now would be a good time to question your level of sanity. Fortunately, in this slightly incapacitated state, you quickly skip over rationalizations, and move rapidly to survival. You find yourself starting to rise to the surface to take your first breath of air. At the surface, you realize that you are not going to die, but you are going to be okay. Within the first minute of being at the surface, you are faced with the decision to either get out of the water, or to start to swim.
In my experience, when you decide to stay in the water and swim, the true beauty of the lake comes into focus. From your unique vantage point in the water, you can dive deep to see the rocks and logs on the bottom of the lake. You can feel a part of the mountain majesty as you look around at the snow-capped mountains, and the never-ending trees. You no longer need to think about survival, for now you are experiencing the excitement of life.
My experiences at the lake are much like the experiences you will find in starting a new business. No matter how many times I have jumped in frigid waters, or started a new business, we have to go through the same survival process. To help the adventure-seeker, here are a few things to consider in your efforts to go beyond survival to living while starting a business:
1. Hold Your Breath – Before you dive in, you need to take in enough air to prepare your body for a little bit of the unknown. Likewise, starting a business takes some advanced planning. You should be thoughtful in your preparations before you jump.
2. Jump In – You can’t spend your entire life standing on the boat, or watching from the shore. Eventually, you are going to need to get up courage to start participating. Once you’ve developed your business concept and made a plan, you have to take the plunge. You have to start selling to your customers.
3. Rise to the Surface – After the initial shock of starting the business wears off you will you will make some minor adjustments, and start to feel comfortable with your environment. The rising is the reduction in the shock of starting, and the realization that there is hope for your future.
4. Take a Breath – Breath is the substance of life. Cash flow is the life-force of a startup business. Once you establish your rhythm, and start to bring in cash, you can see that survival is more than just a possibility, it’s a reality.
5. Now Swim – The reason we jump into the water – or a business – is not to quickly hop back out, but to enjoy the experience. Once you have found that survival is an option, you should enjoy the journey. Make your business experience one to remember.
With any adventure, there is a certain amount of risk. There is no sure thing when jumping into the water, or starting a business. For those who panic, there may be a struggle to survive. For those who prepare and work hard, there is a greater potential to rise to the top and enjoy the grand adventure. One can only prepare to the best of their ability, and work as hard as possible to grasp for every breath. With hard work, a little luck, and the best tools available, you increase your opportunity to not only survive, but to enjoy the view.
For the business owner, executive, or manager looking to increase their potential for survival, join the community at www.gr8roi.com where we provide the tools and resources to help your business succeed.