There is a phenomena in distance running known as the “second wind“. This is when the runner gets really tired a long way into the race. She feels that she can’t go on. And all of a sudden, she crosses a psychological barrier and gets “second wind” and is able to go on and complete the race.
Entrepreneurship is also a LONG race. It isn’t a sprint. And you won’t just need second wind, but you will need third, fourth, fifth, sixth, seventh, eight, ninth, tenth…..and a whole lot more winds too.
Thomas Edison had one thousand failures before he was able to invent the light bulb.
Colonel Sanders started Kentucky Fried Chicken at the age of 65 after his gas station had failed due to a new motorway being built and taking away all his traffic. He took $105 from his first social security check and began looking for franchisees. He sold the American rights to his KFC restaurants ten years later for $2 million to a local businessman. Having sold the rights to his restaurants in the United States, he moved to Ontario, Canada and started his chain in Canada at the age of 75.
You too will need the resilience of an entrepreneur. To find your second, third, fourth or whatever number you are on wind.
There will be a whole lot of people encouraging you to give up. To find a day job. To tell you that you are crazy.
And there will be a few cheering you on too. Letting you know that you might be tired, and you might feel like stopping and getting in a taxi, but you have to keep going. And if you do keep going, eventually you will find your 53rd wind. And if the 53rd wind has also died out, than the 54th wind will also be here soon.
The great thing about entrepreneurship is that there is no finish line. When Steve Jobs took over Apple again for his second wind in the late 1990s it was three months away from bankruptcy. A decade later it became the most valuable organization in the world. Good thing Steve didn’t stop after his first wind died out.
When Steve was at the hospital getting operated on for his cancer in his last days, he kept finding faults with the usability of the hospital equipment and suggested ways to improve the equipment to the hospital staff.
There won’t be a moment that you “complete” everything. A day where you can say “the world is now perfect, and I have no more ideas to make things better.”. Because such a place and time doesn’t exist. You will always have another idea or another way to make things better.
And if your ideas are taking a while to happen, than remember the 54th wind – it will be here soon.