All great things begin with a leap of faith. For me, it was quitting my comfortable corporate job to pursue a dream. This dream was conceived while attending Arizona State University with my two current business partners. We noticed a serious need for a cognitive enhancement product directed toward elite students. Too often we saw our peers turn to Adderall and other prescription drugs looking for that extra edge. We didn’t view those as viable (or for that matter ethical) solutions, so we started working to find a better solution. After almost two years of designing and tweaking our formula with help from many talented scientists, marketers and chemists, Mental Mojo was born.
My leap of faith came six months ago.
I leaped into startup land have been astounded by the support I’ve received since then. I think that people often overthink the outcome of a particular decision, especially entrepreneurship. You can read dozens of books, hundreds of blogs, and in the end they’ll leave you more confused then when you started. The only way to truly know if entrepreneurship is right for you is to get off the b*tch train and jump in. Because the truth is that no matter what, whether you sink or swim, you’ll survive.
Before you read another article, book or inspirational tweet – you need to make the conscious decision of what you want to do with your life, and where you want to be ten, twenty or even thirty years from now.
Envision your kid coming home from school, and when she walks in the door with that innocent smile on her face and says, “I know what I want to do with my life.”
You can’t wait to hear what comes next because your child’s good at math, and you know she’ll be a great developer for Google one day. Then she says, “I want to be a dancer. I want to perform dance in front of thousands”. And what are you going to say? How are you going to respond? Are you going to say, “That’s a great idea, but it’s a little risky and you’re so good at math.” Are you going to say, “That’s great, but it doesn’t make a whole lot of money, and the odds aren’t in your favor.” Perhaps you’ll say, “That’s a great idea!” But you’ll know in your heart of hearts that your parents said the same thing, and look at what you’ve become. You’re just another cog in the wheel in middle management at a Fortune 500 company.
You’ll hear your daughter utter those words of wanting to follow her dream.
And part of you will start to drift, you’ll get warm and fuzzy, you may even daydream and see the life you could’ve had. But you’ll quickly snap out of it, and realize that that dream never materialized. No matter how many articles you read, how many podcasts you listened to, you never had the guts to pursue your dream, your passion. You were too scared to make that leap; you were too scared because you might look ridiculous; you were too scared because you could’ve failed.
Or maybe when your child makes that inevitable statement of what she wants to do with her life you can look her dead in the eyes and say with confidence, “That’s a fantastic idea! Go for it kid, just like I did. I followed my dreams despite everything everyone told me, and look at what I’ve become. If I can do it, I certainly know you can.”
It’s your decision which option becomes a reality.
I decided to take the risk and regardless of what happens. I know I can look my future kids in the eyes with pride and tell them to chase their dreams the way I am right now.
Stephen Klein received his degree in business communication from Arizona State University in 2011. In the summer of 2013 Stephen quit his job with Stanley Black & Decker and relocated from Seattle to Phoenix to run Mental Mojo’s marketing and operations. Stephen eats approximately 1.67 burritos a day, and often refers to himself as the class clown of Snapchat.
Image credit: CC by Paul Jerry