I've always believed that fortune favours the brave and it was with this mindset that I actually quit my corporate job (which lasted a whole 2 months) to start WooThemes in early-2008. At the time, even my dad - who is an entrepreneur and business owner himself - cautioned me about such a bold move.
Saying that I really "understood" the risks involved would imply that I knew what I know today (about life / startups / entrepreneurship) back in 2008. I often wonder whether I would've made the same decision back then if I knew how hard it would be to make sacrifice-on-sacrifice to pursue the goal of working for myself / having my own startup.
Some people might call that decision (when I was only 22) youthful optimism and naivety. I call it courage.
The World Rewards Courageous Decisions
We re-launched PublicBeta earlier this week with a primary focus on it being a (emotional) support community for entrepreneurs. One of our mechanisms within our community is to host AMA's (Ask Me Anything) with fascinating and inspirational people.
On Tuesday we were lucky to host Dan Martell in our first AMA. In telling the story of his entrepreneurial journey and how he made a decision to walk away from his vesting (after he sold his last startup, Flowtown), Dan says this: "The world rewards courageous decisions."
That fascinates me. Specifically because entrepreneurship isn't meant to be easy.
Yet there are so many people that take on the risks and shitty odds in the game we call entrepreneurship.
In a sense this correlates well with the core economic theory where risk and reward is always relational: the higher the risk, the higher the potential return / reward.
Courage Isn't About Risk
Being courageous isn't about the risks you take (or don't take for that matter). Being courageous is about putting yourself in situations that are beyond your comfort zone.
Entrepreneurship is an inherently uncomfortable pursuit, because nothing is certain and the journey has so many contradictions. And because we are only human (with semi-irrational emotions), we sometimes struggle on this journey.
That's what makes entrepreneurship hard; not the fact that we sometimes take massive risks (against the odds) or that we mostly fail (statistically speaking).
Courage is about storming onto the battlefield, because you believe in the cause for which you are fighting. It's not about knowing that you may lose your life on that battlefield.
Courage is about an artist that completes an artwork and ships it.
Courage is about turning down the volume knob of that little voice in your head that makes excuses and says "don't do it". Courage is about making a bold decision, even when friends / family / others advise you not to make that decision.
Being courageous is all about just f*cking doing it.
Heck, the old adage didn't read fortune favours the one that took the easy route.
PS. We're working on some really cool stuff at PublicBeta, where we hope to motivate entrepreneurs have more courage. Beyond that we also keep our community members accountable for the goals they set and provide them with emotional support to achieve those goals. If you're keen to chat to me about this, give me a shout.