I had breakfast with my good friend Jason this morning, who I’ve mentioned before. When we get together we often reminisce about the two of us many years ago, fresh out of OSU planning on taking the world by storm as entrepreneurs. Like many wannabe entrepreneurs (in my experience) we initially had a multi venture attack. I remember when I first met Jason he was working on a sports marketing business, a cell phone ad concept, and exploring a partnership with a restaurant. I, at that time, was working on my computer export business, my sell your car on ebay concept, and click to call concept. We both seemed to think this was not only normal, but the right way to get started on our entrepreneurial journey. Actually looking back now, I can say that it was. I’m not sure why it didn’t occur to us then, but clearly the path to creating real value does not involve splitting your efforts 3,4,5 ways. It requires focus. It requires a commitment.
So as we sat down this morning and talked about the individual roads we’ve come down, Jason knew exactly where his wild, exciting, profitable journey began. It started way back then, 6-7 years ago, when one day he became disgusted with his efforts. He realized that although exciting, the 3 ideas he was working on weren’t really going anywhere. He was spinning his wheels. So one day he wiped off his plate, and told himself “I’m going to find something I can believe in, pour myself into it, and never stop pursuing it. I’ll jump through hoops, through walls, through obstacles to make it happen, and I’ll only work on this one thing.” I remember hearing a change in him around that time, a new sense of focus. He stuck to his word (to himself) and truly great things happened, and continue to happen.
I have loved my journey since then too, but I’d be lying if things have gone exactly as that guy who left OSU ready to take the world by storm would have hoped. I realized something (again) this morning. I’m still, for the most part, juggling 3 concepts. I’ve certainly had plenty of times in the past 7 years where I was focused on one thing. I’ve also been able to do more than 1 thing at once with good results, but ultimately I’ve never really made a commitment to myself on the same level as Jason. In some ways that’s been great for me. It means I’ve been more open, which has exposed me to lots of fantastic people, ideas, experiences, and lessons. But I can’t help but wonder, why haven’t I been able to make that commitment? Sometimes I say it’s because I haven’t found the right idea, but deep down I don’t believe that. Sometimes I say it’s because I haven’t been ready, and I would say that’s probably true on some level. But really I have to say it’s because commitment is very scary. Fully committing to something means you are giving it your all, and when you give it your all there’s a very real chance you may find out your all isn’t good enough. But when I think about it, it’s even more scary to see myself in 20,30, 50 years looking back and saying “why didn’t you just try?” “Why didn’t you commit?”