The Audacity of Youth and the Need to Launch

by Marcus Sheridan

The intrepidation of a child...

I’ve got a short message to share with you today my friends, but I hope you’ll be touched by the following story just as I was this past week. Here  goes…

“I would like to try that.”

Kids are special.

Unlike us adults, they typically don’t spend their time over-analyzing, delaying, and putting off potential rewards.

They see something that makes sense to them and often times, without fear or trepidation, they simply do what they feel is right.

And even better, they do it with a smile.

Just a few days ago, while at my family’s river home, as I was getting ready to drive to the store to pick up some ice when I looked out at the river and to my shock and surprise I saw what appeared to be my 5-year old daughter, Larsen, being pulled on a ski-board behind our neighbor’s jet ski.

 

Larsen Skiing

To my surprise, as I ran up to the beach, there she went...

Considering she has never done any ski-boarding in her life, plus the fact that there was no forewarning, I jumped out of my car and ran to the beach in an effort to confirm what I thought I was seeing.

Within seconds, I knew my eyes had not fooled me, at which point I sprinted inside to grab our camera to capture the moment.

After she had returned to shore from her quick escapade, I asked our neighbor and good friend (the person in the jet-ski pulling her) how the whole thing happened and this was his response:

Larsen walked up to me and pointed to the ski-board and said, “I would like to try that.”

I asked her about needing a bathing suit and she replied that she didn’t need one, and her regular clothes would be fine.

After a very short explanation of how to get up on the board, away we went.

Yep, away she went.

No worries about falling or failing.

No thought of wearing the right clothes.

No concern for never having practiced, read, or done anything of the sort before.

In other words, complete disregard for all the reasons as to why it wouldn’t work.

Your Ski-Board is Waiting

I talk to business owners and marketers every day. Each has their own concerns, obstacles, and issues. This being said, almost all of them suffer from the same problem—A fear of failing, and the need for absolute perfection in order to launch.

Folks, your business is not NASA. The thing doesn’t need to be perfect.

After all, isn’t that why we invented the phrase “beta mode” in the first place??

So if you’ve been looking at that ski-board of yours for a while now, the time has come to throw caution to the wind and just get on the dang thing.

Launch.

Ship.

Fix as you go.

And smile the whole way.

Your Turn

A simple question for you my friends: What’s the one “launch” or decision you’ve made over the last year you’re most proud of? Why?

Seriously, I’d love to know your thoughts here and want to learn about your experience.

***Note: My friend Ian Altman has a new book, Upside Down Selling,  out for FREE on Amazon today. To get your free copy of this great read, just go here.***

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{ 41 comments… read them below or add one }

Rebecca Livermore June 20, 2012 at

I love this one, Marcus. You are right that kids have a natural curiosity and desire to learn and try new things without the hangups that adults tend to have. It’s amazing how much more we accomplish when we stop worrying about doing everything perfectly!

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barbara June 20, 2012 at

It’ s a shame that we, as adults, often thwart kids adventurous spirit by saying, “Be careful!” “You can’t do that in your clothes, go put your bathing suit on!” etc.
Your neighbor was right to let her give it a shot. I guess he knew you wouldn’t mind.

My point is people in charge often put the fear into their staff and they don’t even realize what they’ve done. If you’re open to trying something new without dampening the spirit of the adventure people will go out on a limb for you much more frequently.

Did I get your point sir? ;)
b

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Marcus Sheridan June 21, 2012 at

You said it Barbara—there are way too many rainy clouds and not enough parades…and our little ones are just dying for more parades.

Thanks so much for the great comment!

Marcus

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Craig McBreen June 20, 2012 at

Oh, man! This reminds me of a certain conversation I recently had … ;)

I’m preparing to launch and will just fix as I go.

I could learn a lot from my youngest. At 12 he’s still a lot like your daughter … Go, Larsen! :)

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Marcus Sheridan June 21, 2012 at

I’ll pass your message on to Larsen Craig, I’m sure she’ll have a big smile. ;-)

Keep pushing buddy—don’t let all that talent of yours sit there!

Marcus

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Amber Avines June 20, 2012 at

I suppose the biggest decision would be to commit 100% to being my own boss. Sure, when you have clients, they’re you’re boss, but you decide who that boss is and how long you choose to stay. Sure, people have that same luxury in corporate jobs, but rarely tap into it; staying longer than they want, grumbling the whole time.

As for the NASA thing, you said it. I’ve dealt with so many people who have analysis paralysis. Afraid to make a decision and, hence, miss the opportunity. It’s called hustle for a reason!

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Marcus Sheridan June 21, 2012 at

Well congrats Amber on being your own boss and taking that huge leap. Love it girl!!

And great seeing you at BW….they’re lucky to have your help!!

Marcus

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Amber Avines June 21, 2012 at

Thanks, Marcus. Looking forward to seeing you in Vegas in January! ;-)

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Geoff Livingston June 20, 2012 at

I really liked this post, Marcus. I think sometimes we have to let go of our experience, and risk failure. I learn so much in failing, it’s unbelievable. I fail a lot. Seriously. I like to win, though, and sometimes it hurts, but you have to take risks.

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Marcus Sheridan June 21, 2012 at

Well said Geoff, and thanks so much for the kind words…I know you can certainly relate with that little one of yours and watching her make magic each day.

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Eva Haley June 21, 2012 at

I really love the story that you have shared to us Marcus. Every one of us would surely encounter a lot of issues and obstacles and these are the reasons that people may encounter failures. For this reason, people are now feel fear to fail that is why they didn’t pursue that plan they want to achieve. However, this is not to be practiced by individuals because this could really give bad result to everyone. Life full of issues and hindrances. In order to feel the beauty of satisfaction, people would surely pass these issues and failures.

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Ryan Hanley June 21, 2012 at

Dude,

Amazingly honest line, “Folks, your business is not NASA. The thing doesn’t need to be perfect.” Love it.

I’m so glad that you posted this… Last night as I sat staring at the crappy microphone I have and less than stellar acoustics practicing for my first Podcast episode I began to wonder if I could do it. Never really had that thought before but I wanted the Podcast to good and there were Ums and Ahs coming out and I hated the way it sounded and I thought “I need to rethink this…” (I may have even emailed you in frustration with myself).

But I woke up this morning and thought… Ryan… You are who you are… Your acoustics are bad, your microphone is cheap, you talk to fast, you use words that don’t exist and um and ah are part of your vocabulary… But you are who are. Just Do the Damn Thing…

Now I read this post and I’m jacked up again to get this Podcast rolling (Special thanks to Rebecca Livermore for being Amazing).

Timely and Needed and Awesome as always dude.

Thank you,

Ryan H.

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Ryan Hanley June 21, 2012 at

Oh and your Daughter is Gangster.

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Marcus Sheridan June 28, 2012 at

That she is my friend, that she is. ;-)

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Rebecca Livermore June 21, 2012 at

Ryan, thanks for saying I’m amazing. That is always nice to hear. :)

I’m going to send you an email, but in the meantime, let me just say that I think you’re being too hard on yourself! I’m glad you’ve found encouragement here to just go for it! Lots more to say, so look for an email from me soon.

Rebecca

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Ryan Aspy June 21, 2012 at

Well bud, this certainly dovetails perfectly with a recent conversation of ours. And, in following Larsen’s example, the delays are over. The launch is coming soon.

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Marcus Sheridan June 28, 2012 at

Amen to that brother. ;-)

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Gwen June 21, 2012 at

I started blogging a almost a year ago and fell in LOVE with the design process. I joined lynda.com and learned how to code a simple site. I’m learning how to Graphic Design in PhotoShop as I go. So I decided about two months ago to launch a Web/Graphic Design company. I was tired of waiting for the perfect opportunity and decided to make my own. I’ve always been so afraid of not just being the best, and I finally decided that it doesn’t matter. I can learn and grow through the process and love what I am doing in the meantime.

My mantra is to just BE BOLD. Take that first step and then another and then another and then another…and pretty soon I’ll be able to look back and see how far I’ve come! It takes constant effort to keep that malicious, negative voice at bay, but it’s totally worth it. I am living proof that it’s never too late to be what you might have been… (George Elliot)

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Marcus Sheridan June 28, 2012 at

Gwen,this was so awesome! Seriously, love your story, love your obvious passion for learning and personal development, and love where you’re headed.

Keep it up and thanks so much for stopping by!

Marcus

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Nandita B June 21, 2012 at

Hi Marcus,

Creative and inspiring post.

I have made a decision – Not to post too many posts everyday on my BLOG, to maintain the quality.

Thanks :)

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Marcus Sheridan June 28, 2012 at

Good for you Nandita! And I appreciate the kind words too :-)

Best to you and your goals,

Marcus

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Christina Pappas June 21, 2012 at

First of all, I love this story. We all were so fearless as children, now I feel like Im scared of everything! I want to get that feeling back.

Scariest thing I did in the past year was quit my job without having a backup plan. I was that miserable and I couldnt do it anymore. My friends and family told me to stick it out until I got an offer but I knew that taking the risk would propel me to find something better that much faster.

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Janet F.Newton June 22, 2012 at

Thanks Marcus it such a wonderful story u have shared. I learn so much in failing, it’s unbelievable. I fail a lot. Seriously I like to win, though, and sometimes it hurts, but you have to take risks.

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Marcus Sheridan June 28, 2012 at

So glad you liked it Janet! Keep pushing :-)

Marcus

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Mary Stuart June 22, 2012 at

Kids don’t have responsibilities to take. In fact, the main focus on this stage is happiness. It is really nice to be a kid because you don’t have serious problems to engage and you don’t indulge in deep thinking. But when times come and you are already adult this is a stage where you encounter a lot of thing and responsibilities. In fact this is the time that you are afraid to fail and get failures. However, it is very important surpass this sort of situation.

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Marc June 22, 2012 at

Biggest launch? I started a blg and got two book deals in 10 months. I guess that qualifies :-)

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Geoff Reiner June 22, 2012 at

Marcus!

We briefly met at Tweetstock in Brantford a few months back. Congrats on all your success! And, truly an insirational post. At times it seems like children have an infinite capacity for performance and it also seems that as they are exposed to friends, family, and education, that capacity seems to become more and more limited. Then on comes the fear and a million reasons why something shouldn’t happen. We have so much to learn from the courage and tenacity that children so confidently possess!

Also, biggest launch for me was to start a photography company and take on weddings when I had absolutely no idea what I was doing. Fake it to make it… It’s the best way to go!

More entrepreneurs have to adopt the approach:

Ready? Fire! Aim…

Next to nothing works the first time. And we all know you will miss 100% of the shots you don’t take! Feedback is king.

Cheers

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Marcus Sheridan June 28, 2012 at

Geoff! How are ya bud? Sorry for my late response to your comment here but it was great meeting you up North and I just love your example of launching….well done my friend and keep it up!!

Best,

Marcus

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Diana Baur June 24, 2012 at

Now, she’s what I call a chip off the old block.

I would expect nothing less from your child, Marcus :) Man, is she cute. Heaven help the Commonwealth of Virginia in about 13 years (not to mention you!) And I hear there’s more where she came from.

I will tell you an important component of this story, Marcus. It’s your friend, the one that gave Larsen the safe space to test her limits. It would have been just as easy (no, in fact it would have been easier) for him to say, no way, not doing it, no bathing suit no ride, you’re too little.

But he created a safe space for Larsen. And often, we need to create a safe space for ourselves to test our limits.

We have to have the drive, determination, the goal, the chutzpah. And we have to have a space inside of ourselves that says, ok, not only can I do this, but I will give myself what I need (time, sleep, sports, good food, rest, relaxation, education) to do it.

Many years ago, prehistoric times, I graduated from university and went and got my Life, Health and NASD Series Six Securities Insurance Licenses for the State of Pennsylvania. I got hired by the most prestigious agency in Philadelphia. My boss promptly put a telephone in front of me and said, “Call everyone you know and set up appointments to sell them insurance. After that, go get the phonebook and start calling. 100 calls a day.” I tried, but I couldn’t sleep or eat. I gave up in a matter of months. I couldn’t find a safe place to challenge myself from. It was horrific. I picked up my marbles and walked away.

Today, I’ve got an ebook coming out in mid-July, and a novel being published and released in October. Following the advice of a sage sales lion who will go unnamed, I’m writing guest posts and trying to connect with blogs much bigger than mine. I’m finding it a challenge to put myself out there and risk rejection, but I’m giving myself a safe place by taking time, constructing the best posts I can, and moving forward. Everyone is challenged by some part of the process, and this is mine.

I’m going to channel Larsen this week. I’m going to stand on my board and wave to the shore.

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Marcus Sheridan June 28, 2012 at

I’m late responding to this comment here Diana but let me just say, like everything else you write, it brought such a huge smile to my face. You’re amazing.

Marcus

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Jonathan O.Betts June 24, 2012 at

I really liked this post, Marcus. I think sometimes we have to let go of our experience, and risk failure.

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Chel Wolverton June 26, 2012 at

That teaches us all a lesson. :)

Your post reminds me of Julien Smith’s The Flinch. It’s a great book about facing your fears during adulthood. After having un-learned that natural curiousity about trying things without failing, Julien pushes you to be that free again.

(Disclaimer: I do work with Julien but I read his book before I worked with him. I recommend it because I believe in it, not because I’m his friend or he pays me. :) )

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Marcus Sheridan June 28, 2012 at

Hi Chel! Sorry for my late response to you on this but let me make a quick point or two:

1. Julien’s book lines up with this perfectly, so I’m thrilled you made mention of it.
2. Whether you work with him or not, good is good. ;-)

(Disclaimer: I love your name!)

Marcus

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Chel July 9, 2012 at

And now my late response back. ;) I think we’re both forgiven.

Julien is the world’s most amazing awesomesauce. And a good friend.

Thank you re:name!

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Rob June 28, 2012 at

Love this post! I launched in 2003 without knowledge of html,PhotoShop,e-commerce and only basic marketing skills… Just an idea,one process and gut feeling there was a need for the service.

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Marcus Sheridan June 29, 2012 at

Sweet Rob!! Gotta love those gut feelings!

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Philos July 6, 2012 at

As a writer, I know that every time I write a new post, a ‘launch’ awaits. sometimes i write numerous articles and publish some after proofreading the draft. I delay publishing some for fear that they won’t do well, once in awhile – and may be spend more days editing them and keeping them from going live.

But when the ‘launch’ date comes, when I finally publish them, and give them some days or months I get amazed by the fact that what I thought couldn’t do well actually does. And yes, I am proud of such moments.

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Marcus Sheridan July 6, 2012 at

Love it Philos! Couldn’t be more on the same page!

Keep pushing,

Marcus

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Andy Staunt July 9, 2012 at

Kids are really special. It is nice to be a kid because I don’t have many things to do and I don’t have lot of responsibilities to undertake. A kid doesn’t spend a lot of time thinking and analyzing every single discussion and making decision. It is nice to be a kid since a kid has a freedom to do everything without any expectation.

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Dawn Reid July 19, 2012 at

Sometimes we take into consideration to go back on our no hassle, no obligations, no worries and no issues life that was when we were just a kid. On this stage, happiness is the main focus so it is good to be back again on this age.

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Marcus Sheridan July 20, 2012 at

Love it Dawn!

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