I sat in my kitchen, a little depressed, thinking “Surely I can do better than this.” I had just been fired from my job as a manager in the radio business and was now working as a furniture salesman in a mom and pop shop.
At age 40, I was making minimum wage but worst of all, I was no salesman. In fact, after 4 months on the job, I had not sold a single piece of furniture. I was afraid to. Mainly because I really didn’t know how to use the cash register.
“Lord, please make sure I don’t make a sale and look like an idiot trying to take people’s money.”
Despite my horrific performance, the owners thought I was great. (They were not well). I was hoping to be fired, but instead, they gave me a raise – 50 cents an hour.
My dignity shot and my future bleak, the question kept haunting me: “Is this really the best I can do?”
Deep down, many of us know we can do better. We see people in other professions and say to ourselves. “I could be way better than that person.” We know, in our heart of hearts, that we are capable of so much more.
During that time in my life, I was unimpressed with myself. Even today, now that I am a successful entrepreneur (successful in the sense that I am not broke), there is an aching feeling that I could be doing more, helping more people, getting out there and sharing experiences.
I know it’s in me. Why then do I hold back? Why do any of us settle for the status quo?
Fear of the unknown
I think that’s part of it.
Once we leave our comfort zone, we’re in unchartered territory. It’s scary and uncomfortable.
But here’s the thing. After half a century on the planet, I have finally realized that life is about that – taking chances, calculated risks and most of all – it’s supposed to be an adventure.
In other words, being scared and uncomfortable is okay. In fact, it’s more than okay. It means we are putting ourselves out there and the result will inevitably be exponential learning, growth and the emergence of new opportunities. Those outcomes are for certain. And it doesn’t matter so much that we accomplish what we set out to accomplish – because the other benefits outweigh that downside.
What the hell
One day in the furniture shop, trying to avoid customers, I decided to start my own business. My motto was this: “What the hell?” I have only one life, half of it was already over I figured, so I will try my own thing.
I knew nothing about business. Keep in mind, here was a guy who ran away from customers! Some entrepreneur I would make.
I kept telling myself that this was an adventure. There would be a mountain of challenges – most of which were related to my own shortcomings – but that was part of the game.
And you know what? That’s exactly where I am at, once again, years later.
Yup – I am still facing the prospect of wanting to get more done, feeling the fear and reminding myself about the adventure it’s supposed to be.
And so, I will join you on that journey.
Let’s get to it.
Since 1996, Cory Galbraith has been the Chief Executive Officer of Webcast Canada, a full-service webcasting firm based in Ottawa, Ontario. Previously, Mr. Galbraith was the Director of News and Information for Standard Broadcasting in Canada. Follow Cory on LinkedIn.