I have to admit, the idea of selling RegOnline scared the hell out of me. I mean, it was exciting and rewarding, but when you’ve intensively grown a company for four years, it becomes such a huge part of you. It’s impossible to not wonder what will happen to the company once it changes hands – how will it expand? Will the marketing plans change? Will the employees be happy? Luckily, there’s no doubt in my mind that we sold to a very capable and respectable group of people. I never would have guessed that my questioning would be more internal – what will I do once the company fully switches hands? Will I successfully keep in touch with all the amazing people who helped grow the company with me? How will I continue to feel fulfilled from a business standpoint?
These thoughts made me start questioning if selling was the right decision. I mean – I know the ins and outs of this company, right? It’s so comfortable and familiar to me. I can tell you exactly which forms of marketing work and which ones don’t, what industries are more responsive to our sales force, etc. It’d be so easy to stick with RegOnline for another decade. There’s something so reassuring about complacency.
But then an experience I had came to memory… the Thanksgiving before last I decided to go to Rio de Janeiro with a friend. While there I had heard about how incredible it is to hang glide there (something I had never done). The night before we were flying home, I suddenly got the urge to try it out, jumped up from the table at the restaurant we were eating at, went to the hostess stand, and asked to use their phone, and called the concierge at my hotel to make arrangements to go first-thing the next morning before our flight.
So there I was the next morning, standing on the edge of a cliff in a jump suit half-listening to instructions from my hang-gliding guide while my body was screaming with terror as I looked out at the several thousand foot drop and miles of distance to the landing spot on the beach. The voice inside my head was racing with dialog… “Why am I doing this?!”, “I have a great life, I don’t need to throw myself off this cliff to improve it”, “Am I trying to prove something to myself?”, “Can I trust this guy I met 30 minutes ago with my life?”
Then a deeper voice inside me kept saying “Fly, fly, fly” like I had dreamed about doing in hundreds of dreams throughout my life. As I was debating this in my head, the instructor kept instructing me in broken English, straps me into the hang glider, steps us onto the ramp, and yells “One… two… three…” and starts running us off the ramp! Every muscle in my body seized up, I closed my eyes, and next thing I knew we were soaring through the air like a big bird. After I stopped screaming (some of my friends say like a little girl), all I could hear was the wind in my ears. We soared around the most beautiful mountainside of Rio, out over the ocean, and landed SAFELY on the beach. It was one of the most beautiful experiences of my life. Not only was I alive, but I was filled with new life, a new passion for why it’s fun to try new things, even if it feels stupid to throw myself off a cliff every so often.
So, there are two choices in life. There’s no right or wrong here, just two choices. Either you choose the comfort of complacency. Life is good so why change it? Or you choose to jump off that mountain. It’ll make you want to pee your pants at first, but if you have the guts to do it, you’ll have some great experiences and stories to tell.