Lizards are everywhere in Central Florida. On any given summer day, I can see hundreds of them just by sitting on my back deck. My daughters often go hunting around our yard trying to catch them. I hear them squealing when they miss and the lizard jumps on them. When they can’t catch a fast one, they call for back-up… Nope, not me! Super Mom goes over and snatches the lizard for them to inspect. In today’s post I’ll share how lizards remind me of the journey of entrepreneurship.
The Crazy Lizard on the Windshield
I wasn’t feeling well the other day and my wife volunteered to taxi me along for our errands. As we were getting ready to leave one parking lot, my wife slammed the car into park and jumped outside. I could see her working on catching something on the windshield and knew immediately she was trying to rescue a stranded lizard. Now was the time to be rescued if there was ever a time.
As Floridians, we’ve all had those “lizard on the windshield” experiences. We’re driving along and up pops a lizard on the windshield wipers. He’s hanging on for dear life and praying there isn’t an afternoon thunderstorm. Through the years, I’ve seen lizards bravely hang on for long periods of time as I drove through highways and interstates. Unfortunately, I’ve also seen some lizards not fair so well. You’re driving Interstate 4, in heavy downtown traffic, and out pops the little guy’s head. He’s freaking out and looks at you with those eyes of desperation. You’re doing sixty and there is just no place to stop in this crazy city. You whisper for the little guy to hang on, only to see him go flying off and explode on the car behind you.
The Happy Lizard Climbing On Board
He was happy when all of this started. He was preparing, learning and telling all of his friends how he was going to climb up and master this new car in the driveway. He strutted with his approach, catching the eyes of the lady lizards who hung on the wall next to the car. Without hesitation, he climbed the front tire and jumped over to spend time tinkering through the engine. While he inspected the mechanics of the automobile, he decided that it wasn’t too scary. He was confident and ready for the journey.
This is the entrepreneurs’ climb. We see the mountain and we charge it. We tell our friends and family about it. We prepare and take that daring leap of faith.
A Confused Lizard Gets Shaken Up
Just then, the vehicle operator turns the key to the ignition and the car starts up. The motor rumbles and shakes the lizard’s insides. There’s hot engine air sucking and blowing all around him. He nearly falls off the engine block several times while dodging the belts moving profusely around him. HEAD FOR THE LIGHT! He remembers his mother’s words and heads for the light. He’s shaken, startled, and confused. “If only I can get to the light!”, he ponders with all of his tiny lizard brain.
This is the entrepreneurs’ wake up call. We realize that while there’s opportunity, there’s also some danger here and it will take work to win and survive. We’re not talking so much about what we’re going to do in the future, we’re now looking for ways to survive and get to the light.
Oh Crap! I’d Better Hang On!
There’s a very loud sound coming from the light. It sounds like a tornado blowing. Little lizard presses on and enters a world moving at breakneck speed and everything is a blur. He’s on the windshield wipers and he’s hanging on for dear life. There are speed bumps, flying debris, flattened insects, and huge Florida rain drops all moving around quickly. Little lizard uses his super suction fingers to grip even tighter. He’s trying to hang on but it isn’t easy.
This is the entrepreneurs’ commitment test. We’re on the moving vehicle and we’ve just realized that it is a lot bigger than us and will be one of the hardest things we’ve ever done to hang on. If we can hang on and master this beast of a machine, we have the ability to make an unbelievable amount of money and live the type of life that others only dream about. We’re hanging on desperately trying to figure things out while objects seem to fly out of nowhere. Staffing turnover! Legislative changes! Computer crashes! If this lizard is going to make it he’s going to have to pay very close attention and learn a lot.
The Master Lizard Rides Again
Some of these crazy lizards eventually get so good at riding that they can do some tricks. What? Nice handstand little lizard. 360? No way! They make windshield riding look easy and inspire other lizards to jump on board. Windshield riding for them has now become fun because they’ve learned from their mistakes and from all the hours being stuck to the glass hanging on for dear life. They now write books and make YouTube videos about windshield riding and receive the highest awards for their accomplishments. The truth is, these lizards know they were fortunate to hang on and it was a matter of extremely hard work and good fortune.
You might be thinking that my story is a little melodramatic. But, maybe you’ve never looked into the eyes of a lizard hanging onto your windshield for dear life. It is the same look I’ve seen in desperate entrepreneurs trying to get their companies to win! It is the look I still get from time to time. As an entrepreneur, you’re going to go through several phases as you grow. You’ll take that leap and you’ll get shaken up. There will be times when you just have to hang on as tight as you can and keep pushing forward. However, for the entrepreneurs who dare to keep hanging on, there are some amazing rewards on the other side.
What’s keeping you from entrepreneurship? I’d love to hear your take on the subject!