Pushing through the fear

Simon Sinek's new book, Start with Why, argues that too many human endeavors understand what they are going to do and possibly even how that what is going to be accomplished, but precious few take the time to understand why. Why.


Why write this blog? Why consider changing careers? Why ponder creating my own company when I have a perfectly comfortable job doing work I enjoy with people I respect and with whom collaboration comes easily?

Into my head, insert the following raw ingredients: The full contents of the EntreLeadership podcast series, the full contents of Michael Hyatt's excellent "This is Your Life" podcast series, bits and pieces of a number of books (including Michael Hyatt's Platform and Delivering Happiness by Tony Hsieh) and allow it all to start percolating. Mix in a longstanding desire to own my own business, a desire started by my father when I was still in high school when he told me, "Son, if you want to succeed, you're going to have to own  your own business."

I'm a software developer by training and by life experience. I bought my first computer, a TRS-80 Model I with 4K of RAM and no disk drive back in 1978 or 79 I think it was with money from my paper route. I'll save you the math -- I was 13 when I got my fist job and have been working steadily ever since, even through college. So it was no surprise when I figured my first company, my first venture would be a software company, and my thoughts steered me toward trying to decide what sort of software application I could produce and sell. An iPhone app? A web site application of some sort? The next Pinterest or dwolla?

And, of course, I did come up with an idea for a software product. It's a kind of nifty thing, some enabling technology that could really change the way people interact at a critical moment, at least from many companies' and offices' perspectives.

fearBut here's where things got scary for me. Because within days of beginning to mentally flesh out the software idea, I realized that the software was actually just a small piece of a much bigger idea. And the bigger idea seems to me to be the real idea. One that could do more than enable those interactions, it could actively encourage them. Enable them. Facilitate them. Counsel, instruct, collaborate with organizations large and small to make them happen and actively increase the amount of joy in the world on a daily basis.

And it all came down to the Why: Because taking the bigger step, doing the bigger thing would have a greater chance of facilitating joyful interactions than just producing the software product alone. Because a big part of my Why is to spread joy. I think everyone should smile more.

I keep telling my kids that courage isn't being unafraid. It's feeling the fear and doing the thing that's before you to be done anyway. That's easy to say, and I'm realizing for the first time in a very, very long time, God is calling on me to be courageous. How do you face the fear and do it anyway?