Joan F. Marques - MBA, Doctoral Student
Burbank, California

To do anything in this world worth doing, we must not stand back shivering and thinking of the cold and danger, but jump in, and scramble through as well as we can. (Sydney, Smith, 1771-1845).

In the eighties, Van Halen came out with a song that, to this day, gives me Goosebumps. "Jump!" To me, this is not just a song. It's an advice to cling to. "You might as well jump" is what they recommend. And they are right. This is what life should be about. Jumping is something we all have to dare doing at one or more times if we want to make our lives worth looking back to. Jumping is about business, marriage, and about every potential challenge we face, and that keeps us awake at night. Why miss out on at least trying everything? Why pouting ten, twenty, or fifty years from now about missed chances and opportunities that we could have jumped in, if only we had a little more bravado?

In the business world they call the people who dare to tackle challenges "entrepreneurs." Those are the ones that believe in opportunities. The ones that don't care if they fail once, or twice - or 10 times. They jump again and again until they succeed. And you know what? At the succeeding point, when their star is finally rising, the rest of the world recognizes them and announces their "overnight" glory. Fortunately, the entrepreneurs and the ones around them know better. They've experienced the struggle, the pain, the misery during the times of trying, and they can therefore appreciate the victory for what it's really worth. They've managed to pick themselves up from the floor one time too often. They did not allow failure to conduct their lives' symphony. They took responsibility of the fact that "trying is a part of failing. If you are afraid to fail then you're afraid to try." (Mrs. Cunningham). They literally lived up to William E. Hickson?s advice: "If at first you don't succeed, try, try, try again." And maybe they even looked at it from a more sober - and very wise - perspective, by considering Yoda's statement, "Try not. Do, or do not. There is no try."

This last statement can, hence, lead to the conclusion that entrepreneurs don't try: they do. And of course not every act succeeds! But they keep on "doing" until they stumble upon the one deed that's a hit.

A little example? Watson (2002) provides us that by presenting the story of two Canadian entrepreneurs - a couple - that went through the roughest of times before reaching their current point. According to this author, the couple was, at one time, "slaving away at dead-- end bar jobs just to pay the rent. In the late 1980s, [] they scraped together $500 in tips to finance construction of a wooden Pilates exercise machine." Watson explains that, initially, the machine was meant to serve an entirely different purpose. Continues Watson (2002), "Today, thanks to a little initiative and an $8,000 grant from the National Research Council, the two former struggling artists have their own line of Pilates equipment and an independent brand of Pilates exercises marketed under the Stott Pilates banner. They boast a who's who of customers, including celebrities such as Lucy Lawless, Madonna, Rod Stewart and John Cleese. They've built a manufacturing facility in east Toronto, moved classes into a midtown studio near Yonge and Eglinton and expanded into instructor training and certification. They even have video offerings that Kellogg's recently promoted to its health-conscious consumers on boxes of its Special K cereal." (Watson, 2002, p. 50)

Wow! Was that a successful, unexpected jump or what? By the way, who says that entrepreneurs take unnecessary and irresponsible risks? Who says that they just jump without even having the slightest idea about where the leap might take them? Anyone who has been around an entrepreneur, or who is one, knows that the risks they take are calculated... at least to some degree.

In Asiaweek, there was an article about a Malaysian entrepreneur who could not find any financial support five years ago when he wanted to start his dream-business, the establishment of a small digital animation house. So he pulled it off with funds out of his own pocket, assisted by 12 inexperienced staffmembers and some freelancers. The story continues that this entrepreneur "plugged away through an apparently never-ending stream of bureaucratic red tape to post a turnover of about $130,000 last year. Then [] he caught a break. [He] got the go- ahead to move to the new E-Village outside Kuala Lumpur - right in the heart of Malaysia's own little Dream Factory" (Asiaweek, 2001). Although it?s too soon to tell whether this jump will result in a fortunate landing, it still represents a respectable leap forward. This entrepreneur's enterprise "is now a cog in the official vision of a creative community supplying a broad range of services to the global information industry. Tax breaks automatically will come [his] way, as will help dealing with government agencies" (Asiaweek, 2001). It seems that this Malaysian entrepreneur is well on his way to a great hit. But could he be sure of this outcome five years ago? Of course not. Yet, he realized that "You cannot always wait for the perfect time. Sometimes you must dare to jump" (Yasmeen Bleeth, 2002).

Now, if we jump into the pool of generalization: every new undertaking is, in fact, a leap. Marriage is -- for sure! You can have a convenient relationship with someone for years, but you only really get to know that person when you live together - and who knows! You may not be as pleased with the experience as you thought you'd be! But will that idea prevent you from daring?

So, think: How long have you been dreaming about making that trip to Europe or South America? How long have you been wondering about that new device that you know you could develop, and that could be a breakthrough in the area of your specialty? How long have you been wondering whether you should dare to mention your deeper feelings to that old, reliable best friend of yours? What are you waiting for? Zora Neale Hurston warns, "Mama exhorted her children at every opportunity to 'jump at de sun.' We might not land on the sun, but at least we would get off the ground."

So, as an endnote, here's something that's absolutely no news to you: Life is short. There will always be people who will come up with reasons why you can't do what you want to do. Ignore them. (H. Jackson Brown, Jr., 1991). The great Mark Twain advised us years and years ago, "twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover." I'd simply say: jump!!!

Bleeth, Y. (2002). Proverb Zone: Author: Yasmeen Bleeth, [On-line]. Available: http://proverb.taiwanonline.org/display.php?author=Yasmeen+Bleeth row=0 [2002, June 26].
Cunningham, M. (1999). Mrs. Cunningham, [On-line]. Cyber Nation International, Inc. Available: http://www.cyber-nation.com/victory/quotations/authors/quotes_cunningham_mrs.html [2002, June 26].
H. Jackson Brown, J. (1991). On Success. Nashville, Tennessee: Rutledge Hill Press, Inc.
Hickson, W. E. (1999). William Hickson, [On-line]. Cyber Nation International, Inc. Available: http://www.cyber-nation.com/victory/quotations/authors/quotes_hickson_williame.html [2002, May 19].
Hurston, Z. N. (1942). Dust Tracks on a Road, [On-line]. Available: http://www.quotationspage.com/collections.html#motivate [2002, June 26].
Smith, S. (1771-1845). Quotations, [On-line]. Available: http://www.quotationspage.com/quotes/Sydney_Smith/ [2002, June 26].]
Unknown. (2001). COVER STORY: DIGITAL BOLLYWOOD: IS AN E-VILLAGE ENOUGH?; Malaysia wants a piece of the action, too. Asiaweek.
Watson, T. (2002). Power couple. Canadian Business, 75(6), 50-53.