Why I Didn’t Jump Off the Lighthouse
It’s a beautiful summer evening, and I’m in a speedboat with EO members Eric Crew, Steve Showalter and Ryan Staszko, one of Eric’s friends. As we coast along the shores of Massachusetts, USA, we come across an old lighthouse; there are rungs leading to a perch about 50 feet above the sea.
I immediately look at Steve and suggest we jump off of it. We weigh the pros and cons, and decide to go for it. Ryan is the first to swim toward the lighthouse, climb and jump safely into the water. As I prepare to do the same, Steve mentions how we don’t have any towels. No towels? How are we going to dry off? If we jump, it will be a cold, uncomfortable ride back, I say. Steve and I look at each other. Nah!
As Ryan swims back to the boat, a whirlwind of thoughts cross my mind. For starters, I can’t believe I didn’t jump! All because of a missing towel? When I was younger, mild discomfort never stopped me. “Am I getting that old?” I thought. The next day, I became even more introspective. I thought about my business. Had I become stagnant or complacent? What opportunities was I missing for the sake of staying “warm and cozy?” the business world is rampant with stories of successful companies that got out-maneuvered due to complacency. Think Blockbuster by Netflix or Virgin records by iTunes. I didn’t want that to happen to me.
Since that day on the boat, I’ve used my regrets to bring a renewed sense of adventure to my business. For example, I started a major overhaul of my infrastructure, upgrading my database and moving my e-mail, contacts, calendar and documents into the “clouds.” By leveraging “cloud computing,” I’ve been able to save money and time. What’s more, the new database helps me stay progressive and affords better service for my clients. Looking back, I realize that I wouldn’t have injected my business with new life had I not stepped out my comfort zone and considered new ways to grow.
What did I learn from this experience? That there are some risks that need to be taken in order to grow as an entrepreneur, even if they involve discomfort. When it comes to your business and life, don’t let the lack of a towel stand in your way.
Matthew Weiss is the president of Weiss & associates, PC. E-mail Matthew at