Unlearning.

Yesterday I was at a pool with my kids. There was a line of 8 kids at the diving board, with two high school aged coaches. What these high school instructors were trying to teach the 6-9 year olds was simple:“Dive head first into the water.”

So a kid would walk to the end of the diving board, look over the edge. Put their hands straight in the air and hesitate for 20 seconds.

During this hesitation, I imagine the kid thinking of all the other times they have landed face first into something, and it not going well.

Then they finally jump, they over-come their fears. They jump with the intent to go face first, and then their brain fights back at the last second, and they end up doing some form of feet first pencil dive sideways.

Your whole life you are taught not to dive head first into things, and this high school kid has the audacity to tell these kids to do the opposite. Life experience has taught these kids differently, so they have a fear based internal struggle for 20 seconds every time they get to the edge of the diving board.

Starting a company feels very similar to me. It’s counter-intuitive to start a company. You have no life line. You have to commit all that you have, and make your identity wrapped up in this organism you are building. Whether you succeed depends zero on external validation and 100% on whether the market needs what you are building. You have to jump face first and trust that the pool is not made of concrete.

I see a lot of incredibly smart people attempt to go all in. But they hesitate and they hedge, and their attempt looks like sideways pencil dive. Starting a company is about committing.

So be like my 4 year old, who hasn’t been hit in the face enough yet to know it’s a bad idea. She jumps off the diving board flat out and belly flops. :)