Diving In Over Your Head

Written by Sean Murphy. Posted in Rules of Thumb, skmurphy

One of the hallmarks of the entrepreneurial journey is diving in over your head.

At some point you have to commit fully to a new venture and at a later point you realize that, despite all of your careful preparation, you are testing the depth of water with both feet–or perhaps even head first. This is what can keep many up at nights or otherwise make life miserable.

Diving In Over Your Head

I’m diving in, I’m going deep, In over my head I want to be Caught in the rush, Tossed in the flow, In over my head I want to go Steven Curtis Chapman “Dive”

Then you realize you are living the life you have chosen and committing wholeheartedly to a project or course of action gives you a chance to grow. A wholehearted commitment can be still bounded in time and budget that you plan in advance, with agreement from business partners and spouses or significant others. But it means that you decide in advance when you are going to re-evaluate. And until the calendar or expenditures or some staggering setback occurs you keep putting one foot in front of the other and moving forward.

Embrace Constraints

The people I love the best jump into work head first without dallying in the shallows and swim off with sure strokes almost out of sight. They seem to become natives of that element, the black sleek heads of seals bouncing like half submerged balls. I love people who harness themselves, an ox to a heavy cart, who pull like water buffalo, with massive patience, who strain in the mud and the muck to move things forward, who do what has to be done, again and again. I want to be with people who submerge in the task, who go into the fields to harvest and work in a row and pass the bags along, who are not parlor generals and field deserters but move in a common rhythm when the food must come in or the fire be put out. The work of the world is common as mud. Botched, it smears the hands, crumbles to dust. But the thing worth doing well done has a shape that satisfies, clean and evident. Greek amphoras for wine or oil, Hopi vases that held corn, are put in museums but you know they were made to be used. The pitcher cries for water to carry and a person for work that is real. Marge Piercy‘s poem “To Be of Use

The trick is to pick “the thing worth doing” and understand all that you are willing to sacrifice, or will need to sacrifice, to be able to achieve it. Startups are also the playground of “parlor generals and field deserters” don’t add to their number or unwitting join one run by either.

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