Oh, That Ye Might Have the Faith of an Entrepreneur!
I was speaking with a group of entrepreneurs recently about their experiences during the early stages of launching their companies. They began to recount what you would expect of any high risk adventure: the terror; the all-nighters; the desperate attempts to get those first customers to keep the business going.
“Don’t forgot ‘fun’,” one woman mentioned, after the group had seemingly exhausted itself of the traumatic memories.
“That’s right. I’m sure it was fun,” I replied, never having had any desire whatsoever to veer from the security of a weekly paycheck.
“Exhilarating,” piped up another gentleman. “Those days were risky, but absolutely invigorating.”
Each of these entrepreneurs had successfully navigated their business from start-up to multi-million dollar enterprise, and was now pursuing new opportunities for continued growth.
The reminiscing of their early days were filled with impressive and familiar tales, each person sharing some version of a similar experience. Much of It was the typical entrepreneurial story: fed up with working for The Man, the determined go-getter walks away from a steady but unfulfilling job and starts a new venture in their basement, or from the kitchen table, or out of the garage. These daring dreamers pass over job security, putting everything on the line to pursue their destiny based on nothing but a germ of an idea, or a gut feeling, or a stubborn passion.
It’s sort of like they stepped out in faith.
Entrepreneurs surely must be cut from a different cloth. I can’t imagine leaving my job to pursue some vague idea of a dream without any clear proof of realization. To me, that would be like jumping off a cliff. Instead, I gravitate more towards stability, steady paychecks, and a healthy matching 401k contribution from my employer.
These entrepreneurs, however, give none of that a second thought.
Entrepeneurs are one of the most celebrated segments of society, crucial to our economy in building jobs and developing new innovation. The legacies of the likes of Bill Gates and Steve Jobs are legendary. It would seem to me that entrepreneurs should also be one of the most celebrated segments in the faith category as well.
We’re all familiar with the idea of faith – believing in something without evidence; taking a risk when you can’t prove the outcome. As Christians, we talk about our faith as if it’s simply a matter of belief, but faith is really more like an outrageous act of defiance against everything that is sound, rational or reasonable. We toss around our faith as casually as a frizbee at the beach, but few of us have truly experienced willful acts of faith like these entrepreneurs. Really, when was the last time you did something so outrageous that it made you feel both terrified and invigorated?
Baylor University recently conducted a study investigating the connection between faith and the propensity to start a business. Mithcell J. Neubert, who headed the project, says this study is important “…because entrepreneurs play a critical role in the American economy, so it’s crucial to understand what drives them.”
Their findings concluded, surprisingly, that entrepreneurs are statistically more likely to pray and believe in an engaged and personally responsive God than non-entrepreneurs.
So what do we make of this? Did the faith-propensity of the entrepreneur make them more likely to take risks with business, or did the act of starting a new business cause them to have more faith?
Either way, it makes me wonder about the rest of us.
Post by J. B. Wood.