“Cheers to a new year and another chance for us to get it right.” — Oprah
It’s a widely-known fact that I am not a fan of flying, but I do it many times a year. Between work obligations and family travel, there seems to be a reason I need to board a plane every other month.
The day after Christmas, we flew down to Orlando since Zach had been selected to play on our local All-American team in the Disney New Year’s Baseball Classic. Naturally, we spent some time at the Magic Kingdom.
As the days of our trip went by, the departure date slowly crept its way towards us. Usually, my anxiety about the return flight increases as that day appears, but this trip was different—much different.
I didn’t want to fly home. The feelings of anxiety this time around were significantly stronger than usual.
On the bus ride home from Zach’s last game, I looked over at Shelly and said, “I don’t know how to explain this feeling I am having, but I can’t do it. I don’t want to get on a plane. We can’t fly home.”
I could barely get the words out of my mouth, as my eyes welled up with tears. Shelly nodded her head—both in frustration and understanding.
I pulled out my trump card and dialed in a colossal favor.
What should have been a short flight, turned into a 1,200-mile, 18-hour road trip that consumed two of our days—all while spending New Year’s Eve in a hotel room in Atlanta, Georgia.
Things never go as planned—sometimes by choice, sometimes not by choice. Either way, we are inundated with opportunities like I was to shift our perspective and embrace a challenge.
And that is precisely what we did—embraced a challenge, made some memories, and gave us the luxury of having a fun story to tell.
That’s what life is all about: new adventures and no regrets.
Pushing the Panic Button
Let’s call a spade a spade: I pushed the “panic button” a few weeks ago in Orlando. I freaked out and succumbed to fear—and that’s ok.
It happens in our personal lives, and it happens in our business lives. Whether we are “working for the man” or are self-employed, it happens.
Fortunately, I have been doing this long enough, and I have come to realize what the triggers usually are long before they even happen.
I don’t think many things in life are meant to do alone. Of course, there are a few caveats to this, like scaling El Capitan at Yosemite, but those are most definitely the exceptions and not the rules.
It’s no secret that I’m a champion of community. One of the best parts of my job is growing and fostering them. I have the privilege of overseeing the Genesis community, which is more than 250,000 strong.
While I have poured my heart into this community over the years, it has never been a one-way street. I have been inspired by—and encouraged by—the very folks who I am supposed to serve.
This also happened as I developed the No Sidebar community. As I began sharing my story, with the hope it inspired others, they also shared theirs—which inspired me.
It’s a clear illustration of the adage, a rising tide lifts all boats.
The communities that I helped form helped form me.
But it goes deeper and wider than that—I have made several close friends through these endeavors, and for that, I am filled with gratitude.
Much to Do About Nothing
Last week, we launched the Authentik Community—something that has been in the works for close to a year.
I sent the initial email to our interest list (just over 400 folks) on Sunday evening. It probably wasn’t the most optimal time to send an email, but my excitement overrode common sense.
I sat there waiting for a bunch of people to sign up because, after all, it was the interest list. Hour one passed. Nothing. Hour two. Hour three. Nothing.
Is something broken? I asked myself.
Feverishly, I went through the purchase process and started testing it—all of which passed. Anxiety crept in, and I quickly began to doubt myself. I started questioning everything.
Was this thing we had planned and worked on a total failure?
Thankfully, as I was heading off to bed, we finally got a sale!
It still wasn’t the twenty or thirty that I had assumed would happen, but it was something. On Monday morning, I woke up to two more sales.
I wanted to push the panic button on Sunday night, and I tried to get depressed. My head wanted to go there, but my heart wouldn’t let it.
Then I remembered something I wrote just a few months earlier:
“I was on the verge of a breakdown, and then the epiphany came: My product is ‘community.’ ‘Community’ has always mattered to me. It is the best part of my job, and it keeps me up at night. It’s in my DNA.”
The Best Days of Our Lives
Life isn’t always easy. And neither is running a business.
But, for those who have the courage to risk it all and embark on the entrepreneurial journey, there is potential for huge rewards along the way.
From my experience—and I’ve been doing this for twelve years—one thing I can assure you is this: The freedom, the happiness, and the relationships are worth every bit of fear and risk you encounter.
If I plan to climb any entrepreneurial mountain, I definitely feel better knowing that I have someone—or a community—by my side.
“What a wonderful thought it is that some of the best days of our lives haven’t even happened yet.” — Anne Frank
I believe the road ahead of my entrepreneurial journey is a lot longer than the road is behind it. I sleep better at night knowing that I am not alone.
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