The moment you quit your job and become an entrepreneur is usually a moment of joy - followed by several moments of terror.
That was the case for me, anyway. After I made that leap I had serious thoughts about returning to the world of job security, company credit cards, and health insurance.
Then came 2016, the year where it seems like the world, or at least the part of it I live in, came apart. The news, no matter what your perspective is on any given issue, is a constant source of disappointment, anger, and rage.
And lately, fear.
I often wonder if I picked the exact wrong time to make a big bet on the future. And while the fear of losing a company is not at all comparable to the fear of losing your life doing something you've done every day - whether that is riding in a car, or just doing your job - right now it's the fear I know.
It's the fear I bring home to a family that has put as much hope and faith in this decision as I have.
My fear might seem trivial or inconsequential, and it pales in comparison to the fear many people experience on a daily basis. But if we all had a little more empathy for someone else's fear, we might be in a place where we all, collectively, had a little less to be afraid of.
In the meantime, here are a couple of strategies I use to mitigate my moments of fear.
1. Focus on what you can control.
One of the keys to successful entrepreneurship is learning to focus on what you can control, while working hard to expand that sphere of control. Can you - can any of us - control what we see happening on the news?
Can you control markets? Politicians? Groups of people?
If you can, you are probably not spending your day reading this.
You cannot control the world. But you can exert some control over how you view the world and how you treat the people in it.
No external event can stop you from making thoughtful or strategic decisions. No rhetoric on social media can stop you from viewing the person in front of you as an individual, rather than as a faceless representative of a group of people you think you already know. No politician can make you a better - or worse - person.
Who we are, how we see the world, and how we treat other people is entirely up to each one of us.
2. Start with you.
I've spent the last several weeks binge watching the HBO series The Wire, which was set and filmed in some of the poorest, most violent neighborhoods in Baltimore, which happen to be some of the poorest, most violent neighborhoods in America.
In a scene toward the end of the series a former felon who has started a boxing gym in his old neighborhood is speaking with a young man who wants to change his life. The former felon tells the young man that there is more to the world than what the young man sees every day on the corner, where he and his friends sell heroin.
After the young man hears that, he asks the gym owner a question:
"Yeah, but how do you get from here to the rest of the world?"
The gym owner answers with this:
"I wish I knew."
If you are the target reader for this article and this publication you are an entrepreneur, or a leader, or someone who has influence.
How do we get from here - "here" being a day when the most logical reaction to the events we are witnessing is fear - to a better day?
It starts with you. It starts with each of us.
Be decent. Be kind. Be empathetic.
Focus on improving the things you can control.
Be slow to judge, and quick to hug.
If we all did that we might make every year a good year to make a big bet on the future.