A few months ago I was cleaning out some papers and came across an old card my dad gave me for my birthday. It was a plain white card and on the front he wrote with a red sharpie: Leap and the net will appear. The message wasn’t entirely clear but it resonated enough with me that I propped it up on the washing machine where I could see it at least once a week.
Around that same time, Mel and I were making diner one night. The stress of the last year really started to catch up with me. Even though I resisted the idea of a recession, the reality in the consulting industry was that clients just didn’t have the same kind of funds for research – or more aptly: they didn’t have the same kind of confidence to spend their money on research.
“Maybe I’m not cut out for this? Maybe I should be looking for a more conventional job. A more conventional lifestyle.” It felt good to admit out loud that maybe I had made a mistake. That maybe I didn’t in fact inherent the entrepreneurial gene. “Maybe having one entrepreneur in the house is good enough. Maybe what we really need is the security of a pay cheque every two weeks until your store is more established.”
“Maybe you should stop oscillating and focus on what you really want to do.” Mel always seems to know how to cut to the chase. “You just need to leap, really leap, and the net will appear. Trust me, it’s not easy, but it’s so worth it.”
Easy enough for her to say. I thought at the time. She’s busy and successful and doing exactly what she wants to be doing.
Now I realize that Mel was right. The way to stop oscillating and losing energy is easy: have faith. Confidently and with intent make that leap into the void. I’m not talking about belief without evidence or engaging in a process of active non-thinking. Faith is more subtle, a practice; it’s about trusting yourself, primarily and believing that its possible to recognize the imperfections in things, weigh them against their merits, and understand their value.
The Great 13th century Zen Soto Master Dogen taught that the mind that seeks the Way, that wishes to know the Truth, is the Buddha Mind itself. To seek the Way is ultimately about faith, to cultivate charity, tenderness, benevolence, and sympathy in all the aspects of our lives.
But how does this translate to successful business practice? To the practical, and important, realities of making money?
I believe now that success comes with experience. It’s a process full of humility and built on trust. It grows from a firm belief that whatever happens you’ll be supported by that beautiful extended network of consciousness. Making money becomes a normal extension of this support system. Making lots of money is about recognizing the imperfections in things, weighing them against their merits, and understanding their value. Then acting with a clear, razor-sharp intent.
By seeking The Way in this world of business, I’m learning that being a young successful entrepreneur means leaping beyond the illusions I’ve built around entrepreneurship. It requires that I let go and live from the inspiration that truly speaks to me—to believe that I can leap beyond the constraints of my current perceived reality. That if I leap, the net really will appear.