Today I ran across Noobpreneur’s intriguing comparison of entrepreneurs and religious leaders — both led by faith.
Having worked with Pearle Vision franchise owners for years before opening my own business, my hesitation in stepping out on my own was always that fear of the unknown. I admired the entrepreneurial spirit, the risk-taker element, and yes, the apparent attitude of faith in themselves that they would be successful.
This past Sunday while staying on the grounds of the Chautauqua Institute I had the pleasure of hearing the renowned pastor, educator and speaker Rev. Peter Gomes. The Reverend Professor Peter J. Gomes is an American Baptist minister and since 1970 he has served in The Memorial Church, Harvard University.
His sermon was calling “Acting Extravagantly.” He referred to a New Testament story where a woman poured expensive oils over the head of Jesus. It is a well-known biblical story that teaches us, among other things, about acting with boldness and fervency and passion, instead of being timid or going half way or holding back.
However, as I listened to his message of the benefits of acting with extravagance I thought about small business owners and our desire to stand out in the crowd. We have smaller budgets, little or no support staff, fewer resources at our disposal, and as expenses such as gas and healthcare increase, our disposable income available for making a difference dwindles daily.
Yet it is with an act of faith and perhaps a little extravagance that we can in fact make a bigger splash than the big guys. I am reminded of Brent Leary’s article the other day about David Meerman Scott giving away a 20-page document for free which led to $1 million in revenues. Was it an extravagant act to give away valuable information expecting nothing in return? Certainly it was an act of faith.
When you think “entrepreneur” and “extravagant” Donald Trump certainly comes to mind. I found an article listing Trump’s success factors: ferocity, passion, idealism, perception and instinct.
Under the comments for idealism author Evan Carmichael talks about Trump’s extravagance:
The Trump Organization has become synonymous with luxury, lavishness, class and extravagance. It didn’t get that way by following its competitors. It got that way because Trump was not afraid to think big, to do what hadn’t been done before and in a way that many couldn’t even imagine. His ability to blur the line between fantasy and reality helped push Trump’s company into a league above the rest.
In what way have you seen entrepreneurs have enough faith in themselves to act boldly, with extravagance? What were the results?
I couldn’t agree more Deborah. Acting boldly, even in face of logic, often makes the difference in a person’s life. Ignoring the nay-sayers and doing what you feel is the right thing, “going with your gut feeling,” is a trait common among entrepreneurs.
What Peter Gomes labels “Extravagance” I prefer to call “stretching out from your comfort zone,” pushing yourself beyond your norm, especially in the face of adversity. There is no personal growth inside one’s comfort zone. It is only when we push our limits that we experience true growth, thus expanding our beliefs and possibilities.
I think instinct and passion are the drivers. Trusting your gut and acting boldly even when it may not look like the wisest thing to do has paid off for many. And in a sense, many entrepreneurs have emplored the law of attraction when doing so. If you asked Donald Trump if he ever thought his business would turn into what it is today, he would probably tell you “I never had a doubt” or “I always just knew, I used to see myself as successful.” It’s a belief, faith, that stands unwavered. Visualization combined with belief and action = results.
Deborah : First off, very inspiring article. I believe it will prove so especially for those who see their faith getting tested in current trying economic conditions.
Taking the first step as an entrepreneur is a huge testament of faith – why tone it down and be timid. Challenging ourselves to do things that we have not done in the past is a form of ‘extravagance’. Unless we do so, there is no way we can even find out what the possibilities are. It is indeed our fear of failure that holds back – nothing else. We need to put this fear aside, get out of our cocoon, explore new possibilities, new contacts, new ways and see what possibilities emerge from them. If we don’t, we have already failed without trying.
Great comments. I remember when I was in the corporate world my Dad would admonish me for my work ethic saying “it doesn’t have your name over the door, why do you work as if it did?” No matter what our position, if we go that extra mile for the customer/company – in the end, it comes back in one form or fashion.
Chris, your comment about Trump assuming his success is most assuredly so. However, can faith and extravagance border on arrogance?
As Daniel and Sanjay said, extravagance can be viewed as pushing beyond the norm – out of our comfort zone but I think of it as pushing beyond other’s comfort zone.
I wrote not long ago about VIP Realty who offers the home owner part of the commission if they help in the sale of their home. Talk about “out of the box thinking” and most of his competition thought it was not only extravagant but STUPID. Yet, who is the stupid one now – the company has grown by leaps and bounds – all because of extravagant behavior. https://smallbiztrends.com/2008/06/business-unique-stand-out.html/
Serendipitous timing. As I read your post, I’m listening to Delbert McClinton sing “Have a little faith in me”.
Great post, great reminder: Do something extravagant. Reach for the stars. We may all see you streaking across the sky. And be inspired to try ourselves.
I guess faith is the main thing that helped me after several failures (or call it experiences)
Faith is like a mental boost ……… a trigger that “lights up” when once again another great idea comes to you ….
Thanks for referring to my blog 🙂
Act extravagantly – THAT should be in every entrepreneur’s vocabulary or power words!
Yes, us small businesses have better chance to make bigger splash – those big guys are a big splasher regularly 🙂 But when small businesses do their thing, the impact is nationwide!
Cheers for the great post!
Deborah Chaddock Brown
Thanks for the cheers, but let’s face facts…you started the discussion and a good one it has been.
I think I might act extravagantly with a little dark chocolate dessert – good way to end a productive day!
Excellent post Deborah; without faith, there is no entrepreneurialism.
Whenever business would get slow, I’d announce, “Let’s spend some money and kick start the economy”, ours first. My seemingly manic behavior was borne out of a story in “From Those Wonderful Folks Who Gave You Pearl Harbor” by Jerry Della Femina. Back in the 60’s, their new ad agency was not landing the business they hoped for and needed. Down to their last $3,000, they threw a swank party in their offices to which the right people were invited. They never looked back.
If you want to laugh your head off and learn a little about the advertising industry, this is a great read.
Faith and belief in yourself and your business is what will get you through the challenges of owning your own business. I love to read what other people have done to get through their fears and challenges. Many people wish they could own their own business but dont have the belief in themselves to do so. Everyone should be extremely proud of your successes. It seems that everyone on this blog has accepted their divinity. Most people don’t accept the fact that they have the divine right to have what they want. People ask for wealth but don’t truly believe they can achieve wealth.