I have a friend who is an entrepreneur and business owner, and one afternoon he told me that every 6 months him and his business partner take turns walking each other off the edge of the cliff.
What is the cliff?
The cliff is a place you get to when you’re a contractor/business owner/entrepreneur and are never quite sure when the next pay cheque is coming in, or if what you’re dreaming and creating is going to sustain you another week, a month or a lifetime.
The cliff is the place most of us hit in building our business where we go slightly mad and consider giving up.
It’s a similar place where we go when are freshly out of a relationship, drunk and think it’s a good idea to call our ex and confess our love and get back together.
Even if we know they aren’t the right person, or that it was the right choice—we aren’t trusting the process and leach onto our past comfort and suffering with everything we have for a moment because we are afraid.
Except getting back together with the wrong person or ex is giving up our dreams and getting an assistant job at a company behind stacks of paper and cheap, shitty drip coffee.
It means breaking our hopes, anticipations and dreams and giving up, throwing in the towel—telling our friends and families that we’ve defended ourselves against endlessly that they’re right, we failed.
This cliff makes the best of us go mad.
Most of my friends who are entrepreneurs and take big risks have sat down and had coffee here with me.
It happens when a client backs out a week before rent is due and you’re left scrambling to manifest a way to make ends meet in 10 days.
It’s after throwing your first event and realizing your $30,000 in the hole and have a family to feed.
It’s pulling money out of your ass that has been leached dry of bills to pay for a rental space with no clients yet.
My friend who first described “the cliff” to me told me that him and his business partner would both take turns walking each other away from that cliff.
It would often include a hand on a shoulder, and a speech that went something like, “Remember, our worst case scenario is that we get 9-5 jobs, like everybody else”.
And then it sinks in, that the cliff isn’t being homeless but just a crutch job in the interim to support ourselves until our businesses begin to thrive.
The cliff is just everybody else’s day to day.
That “failing” is just going back to the job we don’t want for a little while.
And that we never fail, because in starting our dreams we have been willing to lose the life we didn’t want in the first place.
The biggest question and fear people have when starting their own businesses is, “What if it all goes to shit. And I’m homeless?”
Great news: Every single person, including me has likely at some moment had a small fear of going homeless in their life.
Rationally, are you going to go homeless?
Is that a danger or a fear?
Most of us (if we can let go of our pride) can get a job in 24-48 hours at a McDonalds or a Starbucks and make ends meet, or get bailed out by somebody who loves and believes in us.
All you have to lose, in going after your dreams and starting your business, is the life you don’t want, and the minuscule risk that if it doesn’t take, you check your ego and your pride and get a crutch job to support you while you build your business or start again.
Not everybody is willing to stand at the cliff—and its enough to keep them in the 9-5, grinding their teeth imagining stabbing their boss with a pencil.
But some of us are willing to, and my advice to you is that even the cliff you may hit at some point along your way is conquerable—and you will only see it if you’re willing to let go of your suffering and the life you don’t want.