The Power of Thought
An Encouragement to All Entrepreneurs and those that should be.
Did you ever think, “Where does a thought come from?” This is a serious question to answer because a single thought from your past decided your direction in life.
I asked a room full of entrepreneurs at the ATDC just last week when the thought of being in their own business popped into their heads. It was eerie. They all said that it happened when they were still children. What is interesting is the way that single thought shaped their lives to-date. All of their course-setting decisions were made unconsciously in obedience to the thought.
So where did the thought come from? I believe thoughts are supernatural events. So I therefore believe they come from God. He placed this thought in your head early in your life to get you on your track.
What is interesting is how people deal with “the thought” when they become adults and have to make the big decision. For most entrepreneurs it is when they are about to graduate from college. All entrepreneurs are intelligent, motivated, high achievers, who are attractive to business institutions. So right at the beginning of their careers the entrepreneur is immediately faced with a fork in the road.
Do I put “my thought” on hold and take the wide road of a corporate career? Or do I stay true to the thought and choose the narrow road of starting my own business? This is a very difficult decision because the whole world is saying go for the money. They are cheering for you to go for the sure thing. They are screaming ‘don’t be crazy.’
It is painful to choose to be disobedient to “the thought.” The more you deny it. The harder you work against it. The further you try to run from it. The more miserable you become. You know deep down inside that you are living a lie. Even if you are wildly successful in your career it never satisfies. You know it is a lie but you don’t understand why others don’t see it or feel the way you do. The answer is, they never had “the thought” and if they did and they are still there then they have died inside.
The narrow road of entrepreneurship is not an easy path. But that’s not important. If it is the result of being true to “the thought” then it is where you are supposed to be. When you are on purpose, you are fulfilled and confident. You “burned the ships.” There is no turning back. You can withstand any foe, any barrier, and any challenge. As hard as the road is for you, you know you are supposed to be on it. You are in the right place doing the right thing.
What about the guy who was not true to “the thought” and took the corporate job? Is it over for him? There is still time. There will be another opportunity in his late 20’s to late 30’s. He will continue to revisit “the thought.” It will haunt him in everything he does, every meeting he attends and every day he trots off to work. Until one day an opportunity will present itself to start his business.
This is the second test. This fork in the road is the last one to get him back on his right track. If he chooses to stay the wide road course then he is choosing to be disobedient to “the thought” for the rest of his life. Sadly, many people do this. It results in living a life of quiet desperation because you are not doing what God created you to do. It is not your path. You are suppressing the call of “the thought.” You will live a life that ends in regrets. Henry David Thoreau wrote “Most men lead lives of quiet desperation and go to the grave with the song still in them.”
Then there is the corporate guy who does jump ship to start his business. When you choose to be obedient to “the thought” in your mid thirties it is a lot harder to execute. You most likely have the wife, the kids, the cars, the house, the college fund, etc., etc. You built a life as a corporate success and everybody sees you that way. Now you surprise them by choosing the narrow path. It’s doable, just harder.
This is the group of entrepreneurs that I have invested in. I have funded nine companies led by corporate types in their mid thirties who decided to be true to “the thought.” In almost all cases it worked out fine. Some of these businesses didn’t succeed. It was painful. Only one went back to corporate life and the rest went on to start another business. It is exciting to watch a man be true to “the thought.”
You get to watch a man bloom. He is in his rhythm. He is in his element. He is on purpose and passionate. He loves what he does so much that he enjoys it. He does not look for a vacation he is having too much fun working. In fact, a vacation is a distraction from what’s really important to him. He is true to “the thought” each and every moment.
In Shakespeare’s Hamlet, the father, Polonius speaks these words of advice to his son Laertes who is leaving for a trip.
“This above all: to thine own self be true,
And it must follow, as the night the day,
Thou canst not then be false to any man.”
As a person who received “the thought” early in your life, I encourage you to be true to yourself. The choice is not about risk. The choice is not about wealth. The choice is not about what others think is right for you. The choice is about fulfillment through living a life that was designed for you by God. Be true to “the thought.” Be true to yourself. Be true to all men. Live a life that ends in no regrets. You only live once.