Comedians have always been known to tell the truth, as honesty always goes down easier wrapped in a joke, but rarely would a funny man or woman be labeled as inspirational. If you were to think of who would deliver one of the most passionate talks you can see online today, veteran comedian Steve Harvey would not be on your short list.
And yet, the joker turned businessman captures the essence of entrepreneurship - and, perhaps, of life--in one simple two-minute talk. Indeed, it makes short TED Talks seem like they are beating around the bush.
Here's the premise: A cameraman casually catches Harvey in a parking lot as he is about to enter his car. "Ok, here's the deal," he starts, talking sternly to the camera. "If you want to be successful, here's the thing you have to do: You have to jump." It is the analogy of jumping off a cliff, something that most of us entrepreneurs can relate to.
The beauty here is Harvey's visceral description of falling and of commitment. He can talk, as the once-homeless funnyman has parlayed hit movies, best-selling books and tv shows (most recently Family Feud) into a multimillion-dollar net worth.
Watch the video now, but take away these highlights:
You cannot commit halfway: You are either jumping off the cliff creating your highest destiny or you are on the sidelines watching others fulfill what you will never do. As we discuss in this column, that doesn't mean you have to destroy your health or ditch your relationships to follow your passion. However, it does mean you have to commit to excellence, sacrifice time and energy, and put in the sweat equity to make your vision real.
You will fail along the way: Failure, or bumps and bruises as Harvey calls them, will happen. It is part of the process. You will not succeed right away. Accept failure as part of the learning process from the outset, as an entrepreneur thinking all she touches is gold won't last very long.
You can let your vision wither: No one is making you get up in the morning and build the foundation for your business. In fact, it is much easier not to build towards something greater and settle for a simpler life. Harvey puts it best: "You're safe, but you'll never soar."
What cliff should you have jumped off already?