“It takes a leap of faith to get things going.
It takes a leap of faith, you gotta show some guts.
It takes a leap of faith to get things going.
In your heart, fella, you must trust.”
— Bruce Springsteen
I have written previously that the two best decisions I ever made were the two times I followed my heart instead of my head. The first decision was Mary (see my April 25th post). The second decision was to “bet the house” on starting Equity Risk Partners.
All the best things in life start with a leap of faith. Who among us is not mesmerized every time they see a video of a child jumping off the edge of the pool for the first time into the arms of their parent? That is a leap of faith. The child has no prior data point, nothing to tell them that they will be caught.
Who cannot remember the first time they swallowed hard, took a deep breath, and leaned in for the first kiss? That is a leap of faith (Mary Kay Lindeman, 1977, Flossmoor, IL by the way). I do not recall her holding up a sign that read, “Go ahead and kiss me. It will be OK.”
Many of us have been with a loved one at the end of their life when they say, “I am ready to go. I am ready to be with God.” That is the ultimate leap of faith.
What is the resulting outcome of the prior examples? A bond of trust with a parent that will endure for a lifetime. The unlocking of feelings of love and caring that will shape all of your future encounters. Eternal life on a magnitude that we cannot comprehend. Three pretty good outcomes, I’d say.
Success in business also requires its share of leaps of faith. We have all heard the saying, “Dare to achieve greatly.” That is defined as taking a leap of faith. I would ask anyone to show me a world class business that did not start with a leap of faith.
Let’s replace all of the candle-lit / gas-lit street lights with electric light bulbs. Leap of Faith. Now, General Electric.
Let’s mass produce this personal transportation device on a scale that makes it affordable to the average person. Leap of Faith. Now, Ford Motor Company.
Let’s take all the computing power of a main frame and place it in a box that sits on your desk. Let’s take all of your music and place it on a device you hold in your hand. Leap of Faith times two Now, Apple.
Let’s allow consumers to purchase anything they want/desire without ever changing out of their pajamas. Leap of Faith. Now, Amazon.com.
Let’s build a better internet by harnessing the consolidated computing power of all of the world’s smartphones. Leap of Faith. Now, Pied Piper (Tune into HBO on Sundays at 8:00 to see how that one plays out).
Let’s build a specialized insurance broker focused on an exclusive clientele and utilize a network of best-in-class resources that are not owned but, rather, “partnered” and go toe-to-toe with the biggest competitors in the world. Leap of Faith. Now, Equity Risk Partners.
What’s the best part of taking a leap of faith? Win or lose, good or bad, you get to do it again. Once you experience the exhilaration, you have to find ways to repeat it.
What will it be for me? Like Bruce says, “In my heart, fella, I will trust.”
Michael C. Marcon is the founder of Equity Risk Partners and former chairman of the Ursinus College board of trustees. He tweets from @mcm7464. Tweet him any of your questions about business, leadership or life.