Plymouth Rock holds a very important place in the history of the United States. This was the first place in the New World the pilgrims traveling from Great Britain came ashore. This represented the end of an incredible 3 month journey across the Atlantic ocean and the start of a new life. These early travelers were incredibly committed to accomplishing their goals.
So, clearly these early settlers were committed to their cause but how does this relate to us today and how can their commitment be related to small business? Let’s look at four ways their commitment to their goals affected their decisions.
They Believed In Their Cause
This small group of courageous individuals were absolutely committed to their goals. They believed in their cause to such an extent they were willing to accept great trials. Regardless of your opinion of their beliefs and their choices, it is undeniable they were willing to do whatever the they needed to because they believed in the reason.
As a small business owner, founder, it is also absolutely essential that before you can see your business become successful you need to believe in what you’re doing. It may seem simple and rather obvious but consider the reason why you’re doing what you do. Do you believe in the cause of your business? Or have you lost your focus and now simply do what you think needs to be done to be successful? You must believe in the product, if now then you are not truly committed. (Not to mention you’ll find very little personal satisfaction in your work).
Your work must be fun. You must enjoy what you do and you must believe in what you are doing. A popular quote which most of you will know is applicable here:
Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.
But it’s much more than just believing in your cause. It’s taking the next step and being willing to give up everything to accomplish your cause.
They Sacrificed Everything
The Pilgrims were willing and ready to sacrifice everything to accomplish their goal. This is easy to see as an extreme level of commitment however, often times, this is overlooked when thinking about the Pilgrims and their journey to the colonies (soon to be the United States). The conditions they were leaving in England and the conditions they were accepting when moving to the colonies were exact opposites. And yet, due to their beliefs and their level of commitment they were ready and willing to sacrifice everything they had. They sacrificed lifestyle, friends, personal health, prosperity, and even loved ones for their cause.
Small business founders face difficulties and trials that others may never see. If you’re a small business owner then you understand the feeling of a bank account with a zero (negative) balance and the uncertainty of how to pay employees (definitely no payment for yourself). And yet you must continue. If you are committed to the success of your business you must be willing to sacrifice everything.
“The entrepreneurial life is one of challenge, work, dedication, perseverance, exhilaration, agony, accomplishment, failure, sacrifice, control, powerlessness… but ultimately, extraordinary satisfaction.”
– David S. Rose
They Expected Hardships
It would have been foolish for these brave individuals to assume everything would go smoothly. They went ahead with their plans to travel across the entire Atlantic ocean full-knowing they would experience loss, they would be forced to sacrifice their old lives, friendships, and even family. The both knew and accepted these hardships as part of their commitment to achieving their goals. This is important. Many places and historical records document the exact conditions they would encounter during their journey and upon their arrival. These travelers were fully aware of exactly what they could expect. No surprises.
Small business owners especially must be cautious of this point. Plan for success, but always, always, understand and be aware of any associated risks. If you know the hardships you can expect to face you can prepare yourself better to handle them. There is nothing wrong with looking at the potential pitfalls and preparing a way to navigate through them. This isn’t a sign of unbelief or pessimism in your business’ success, but rather a very clear display of your commitment.
“Never sacrifice planning for failure in order to appear optimistic, this will only leave you looking foolish and unprepared.”
They Followed Their Dreams
One last important correlation we’ll draw between the pilgrims and small business is quite possibly the easiest to see and the most pleasant to discuss. The pilgrims believed in their cause but even deeper than a belief in a cause, they took action and followed their dreams. It seems almost poetic but it is a very real situation. Rather than sitting back and talking about change, bemoaning their current state, and dreaming lofty wishful perfect outcomes, they boldly committed to following their dreams. They made plans (with calculated risks), understood the sacrifices, and the hardships to come and they still chased their idyllic utopian society.
Small business owners dream big. We all believe in an endless vast open space where anything is possible and with a little hard work our dreams can become a reality. Dreaming up ideas to change the world is something done on a daily basis. The part which comes next (which the first travelers to the new world actively did) the difficult task of planning and executing on their dreams and actively pursuing the dream is the hard part. This is the part small business owners can learn and grow from. As you dream (dream big) be sure to make plans, calculate risks, understand the sacrifices, and expect the hardships to come (believe me, they will come).
“I think if you’re an entrepreneur, you’ve got to dream big
and then dream bigger.”
– Howard Shultz
Life wasn’t easy for the early settlers and life certainly isn’t easy for small business owners. But we should continue to chase after our dreams. Because at the end of the day, it’s really the same dream of the pilgrims we’re still chasing today. The American Dream.
A Final Thought
I encourage you to examine the lives of these people and the above aspects. Explore what they endured, what they believed and begin to understand the commitment they demonstrated. Ask yourself, as a small business owner, how many of these same areas apply to your life. Answer those questions and you’ll see just how committed you are as well.