07/10/2013 05:12 EDT | Updated 09/09/2013 05:12 EDT

What Sex Under 20 and Starting a Business Have in Common

People often ask me how I became confident or courageous.

It is not always being on top that makes for the best outcomes.

"How did you go out and do that...

...with limited qualifications?"

...after people had told you it was a bad idea?" a market dominated by X?"

I can only answer this by sharing with you two bits of truth:

(1) I have an abundance of what people call confidence...that I call something else entirely.

(2) I believe in do-overs (with one exception)

Confidence for me is actually a blind focus on the goal. Truth be told, I am wildly unsure of myself most of the time. It is only that I want to experience the adventure and conclude the experience with a feeling of having reached my goal that I ever finish anything I start.

This might be counterintuitive for you, looking at someone like me, but I am proud of my uncertainly. If you are sometimes uncertain of your ability, here is why I think you are on the right track:

(a) If you never question your ability, you never see the opportunities for growth (or outsourcing).

(b) If you are never uncertain then you are probably doing something so within your control and ability that it is dead boring....I can not congratulate you on cruising the main street of life over and over again.

(c) It is only when we go beyond what we know to be our ability that we find something new, something to be proud of, that thing that others see as confidence which is just the knowing that you have braved the wilds of uncertainty and come out alive.

The only hiccup is that every time you come out alive, you might not come out on top.

Wether you were on top or the bottom, you got the experience though. I'll bet the first time you did it, you were not great at it. You thought you had conquered something but after a few more times doing it, you see that it is in the do-overs that you got better.....not in the fact that you did it, but that you had an opportunity for a do-over.

It's like sex before you are 20, business is.

The first time feels like a big deal. People want to associate with the guy who did it first, find out all about it. That guy tells his friends how great he was and how to be great. People get focussed on being great the first time.

No one pays attention to the fact that it is the guy who works at it, paying attention to his own attempts and adjusting...allowing himself a do-over without getting out of the game. This is the person who will be the best. The guy who allowed himself a do-over, tried a few things, failed, tried again. This guy will come out alive whether on top or on the bottom because he knows how to stay in the game. It is the guy who thinks he hit it out of the park on the first try that will ultimately lose -- he does not even see the game changing around him. All of a sudden he is 40 and what worked at 19 no longer works.

I don't feel badly about having to claim a do-over in business because that is how I grow, and how I know I am trying things that are new. They may or may not work every time, but it is in the experience that one gains what others see as confidence, and what I feel as accomplishment.


P.S.- The one thing I do not believe in do-overs re-starting the game just because your first man got killed only three minutes into play during a video game and you have only two men left. You make your mistake, you live with it -- no trying to fake your way back to perfection. Just be honest about the fact that you made a mistake, don't hit the reset button. Press on.

P.P.S- If you think that talking about business and sex at the same time is bad, I can't tell you I am sorry.

P.P.P.S- If you think that talking business in anyway we can is good, and you like the fact that being uncertain and OK with do-overs is OK, please share this post with a friend who could use it, or just someone who likes sex.

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