Last week I wrote of my journey into capitalism and ideas on how to venture forward into a slightly known arena. This week I would like to celebrate my mother and her family for their courage to venture forward into very unknown territory.
I spoke with my mother tonight, who relayed an earlier conversation with her sister-in-law. "Happy 65th Birthday!" my aunt said. "It's not my 65th!" mother replied. "Yes it is. You set foot in America 65 years ago today," my aunt insisted.
January 24, 1947 my grandparents, my uncle and my mother arrived from a two week voyage across the Atlantic Ocean to venture forward into a new and better world. My grandparents each survived concentration camps, my uncle survived living away from his parents in order to be protected from the horrors of the world around him, and my mother survived by being born in the environment created by the terror and end of the days of World War II in Germany.
And together they ventured forward. They left family, friends, and community behind in order to create a better world. They left careers, education, and a way of life behind in hopes to find the freedom and inalienable rights they knew should be theirs.
They took huge risks. Mine so pale in comparison. So many times I look up to my grandmother, who became my best friend, and am amazed at the courage it took for her, simply, to live.
But they also took calculated risks. They did not make decisions in a vacuum.
I write this in my business blog because I think as entrepreneurs we all take risks. But as I reflect on my mother's "birthday", I find myself thinking of the risks I'm taking. Are they decisions made in a vacuum? Are they calculated risks? Or are they petty decisions I make in order to "advance" a hobby? It's difficult for those of us who work full time, who manage a family, who are trying to uphold New Year's resolutions to have clarity of thought to take calculated risks to advance our work.
My challenge to you, to myself, is to look at our businesses, to be honest in what we see, and to take the risks necessary to succeed. The risk to develop an accounting system to analyze the profitability of our entrepreneurship. The risk to reach out to experts for help in marketing our business in order to succeed. And the risk to leave the product creation behind just a bit.....we won't succeed if we're creating and only hoping to sell our creations. We will only succeed if we take the calculated risks necessary to grow our business beyond a hobby.
This land was made for you and me...