I learned 13 years ago how precious life is, and how short it can be, when I was diagnosed with melanoma. Having cancer was a defining moment in my life and I realized that that no matter what goals and dreams I had – the time to make them happen was now. I still run my life and operate my various businesses with that same sense of urgency.
As a coach to entrepreneurs and small business owners, I hear about ideas for growth a lot. And whether the idea is based on a new product, a new or improved service, or perhaps even a new business – I’m often asked, “What is the best time to move forward?”
My answer is almost always the same: “Stop waiting for it to get easier, get into action now!”
The truth is, whether you want to operate with the same sense of urgency that I feel, as an entrepreneur I also realize that business and the way we market them changes at the speed of light. What I mean is that what’s hot or available today, may not be here tomorrow. To put a finer point on it, the product or service you want to bring to market may be attractive to customers now and could be far less attractive next year. Stop waiting for it to get easier.
The only thing waiting does is delay your success and your ability to create your own personal economic boom.
Thomas Edison learned to trust his vision about how electricity could change the world. Bill Gates learned the exact same thing about his vision of a computer on every desk and in every household. In retrospect, they might have both underestimated the results, but nevertheless, both became wildly successful. Bill Hewlett and Dave Packard may not have had such lofty visions at the start of their enterprise, but they learned how to take the blinders off and follow the money.
Let me now address some lessons learned from a personal perspective. Post-cancer my life looks quite different. I have learned firsthand what the expression “When you have your health, you have everything” means. It is true. No matter what other challenges you face, facing them in good health is far easier.
My ‘season of crises’ – as I refer to it – has taught me three important life lessons.
- I place a much higher priority on the important people in my life. That’s not to say that I don’t enjoy some of the finer things in life, but they take a far back seat to the relationships I treasure and hold dear.
- I strive every day to make a positive difference in the world by giving more of my time and money to those in need.
- I laugh more. I’ve always enjoyed a good laugh, but I now love to laugh and make people laugh. Laughter is physically therapeutic and it also makes you forget some of the challenges you’re facing, if only for a second.