Yeah, I’m not such a kook, we all have a little voice in our head, am I right?
Some days the little voice cheers you on and tells you how awesome you are, and some days you hear it laughing at you for not stepping up and playing a bigger, bolder game.
Some days when it catches you taking the safe and easy road, the little voice calls you names once reserved for your ‘friends’ in middle school.
Some call the little voice your conscience, and some call it spirit.
Some might call it a pain in the ass that prevents a good night sleep.
Over the years I’ve learned not to try to quiet the little voice in my head.
Instead, I choose to listen to it with great respect.
Especially for the last 21 years, since my first cancer diagnosis, I have a new-found respect for how short and precious life can be, and I want to enjoy, and make the most of, every day.
More times than not, my little voice is telling me that no matter how nervous I might be about doing something new, step up and take the shot before the sand runs out and I grimace with regret.
When I wrote my last book, Just Say Yes, I remember giving credit to an author and songwriter named Chris DiCroce.
Chris wrote a book that I read when Stephanie and I decided to sell our house to buy a 50’ boat and sail it from New England to Florida, with little experience, while I continued to work.
In Chris’ book, What’s Up Ditch, he talked about how a large number of people dream about living on a boat but never actually pull the trigger for fear of what might happen.
During the summer of 2016 we were preparing our home of 28 years for sale.
Ever since Stephanie and I agreed to our big adventure, the little voice in my head was working overtime pounding me with fear-based questions like:
- Jim, what if you run aground?
- Jim, what if you run out of fuel in the ocean?
- Jim, what if you hit another boat trying to dock?
- Jim, what if an entire marina laughs when you can’t get your boat in the slip?
- Jim, what if you lose your internet connection in the middle of a coaching call?
- What if, what if, what if?!?
In What’s Up Ditch, Chris put a different spin on it, essentially urging you to face your fears by saying,
“What if you do actually become a live aboard and encounter some of the problems you’re so worried about? But you also are confident that you have the capacity to solve these problems and overcome the challenges. Every day you wake up and successfully tackle something else.”
As Chris put it,
“What if you say yes to your dream and discover that you’re really a ‘bad ass’ boat captain who got to do something truly amazing because…only because…you said yes?”
Wow, challenge accepted!
That was the mindset turning point for me that quieted the little voice in my head.
From that moment on, every time my little voice presented another “What if Jim?” scenario or reason why this big adventure might not be the smartest or safest thing to do, I told it to settle down, because I was going to be a badass boat captain who overcomes challenges every day.
To be sure, Stephanie and I have experienced some things that truly tested our skill, patience, resolve and even question our sanity.
We’ve experienced sheer terror one hour and then a mere couple hours later a peaceful night at anchor.
And in that short period of time, when emotions and adrenaline were on overdrive, we knew we felt completely alive and living an adventurous life.
Sometimes, after a particularly scary situation when neither of us knew what to say, one of us would say, “Well, we could be sitting on the sectional watching TV!”
I wrote Just Say Yes because I realized how much of our private life big adventure was like being an entrepreneur.
Being an entrepreneur is full of “What if” questions and scary scenarios.
I want to challenge more entrepreneurs, like Chris DiCroce challenged me, especially those who might be playing a safe, small game, to believe…KNOW…that stepping up and swinging for the fences is survivable.
What if you wake every day and find a solution to each and every challenge you encounter as you build your Dream Business?
And in doing so, you realize that you are a badass entrepreneur who is capable of far more than you’re currently doing.
Either way, when the sand does run out of the hourglass, and it does for everybody, you will smile and have no regrets, because you didn’t merely live life on the sectional watching TV.
Take that, little voice!