As an aspiring entrepreneur, embarking on your first or even second venture, wide-eyed and full of ambition, you will at some point be given the advice that you are the rule, not the exception. This will undoubtably be uttered by a well-meaning individual, someone who has the hard-won experience to know that growing a business takes a tremendous amount of work and that overnight success seldom happens overnight. This advice will be offered not to discourage you, but rather to harden you against the realities of what lies ahead. The majority of startups struggle to succeed and then quietly fade into nothingness, never to be heard from again. You, as a newly minted entrepreneur, should be fully aware as you go forward that you will most likely share that same fate.
That’s all well and good… it’s sane and practical advice… but I have to admit, it makes me think of zombies…
It seems like everywhere you turn these days, people are talking about the impending zombie apocalypse. Whether you are sitting around chatting with a friend, at a party making uncomfortable small talk with someone you hardly know, or catching up on the latest gossip on the phone with your mother, the conversation will inevitably turn. Somewhere between great aunt Irma’s facelift gone wrong and cousin Larry’s cheatin’ ways, the topic creeps in. The next thing you know, you and your mother are hashing out a strategic plan of survival that would make Sarah Connor green with envy.
Rendezvous points and potential strongholds are identified — which is more defendable, uncle Jerry’s barn or your brother’s penthouse in the city? Detailed plans are drawn up for stocking food, water, and weapons — we will not go down without a fight! Grandpa’s old shotgun, your nephew’s slingshot… isn’t there an old cannon on display down at the town square? And when they eventually break down the barriers and get inside? Well, your sister won’t be laughing about that Conan the Barbarian replica sword you bought on eBay anymore.
There was a time when this was all idle talk, an amusing series of what-ifs discussed over drinks with friends, a modern-day parlor game, but that time is long past. Now we all know better, and no one questions the oncoming apocalypse anymore. We even know with certainty how it will happen — an accident at a secret government facility will trigger a world-wide viral infection. We’ve seen enough movies to know that it’s inevitable.
However, it’s also inevitable that all your well-laid plans will be for naught. The sad truth is that most people will succumb to the infection. It’s called the zombie horde for a reason. It’s not going to be just a couple people having a really bad day. There will be few people that are left untouched, but the majority of people will be mindless, walking corpses, and chances are excellent that you will be out there snacking on brains with the rest of us. In other words, you are more likely to be the rule than the exception.
But you can’t live under the assumption that you will be assimilated into the horde. You have to hold on to the illusion that you will be one of the few survivors, scraping out a meek existence after most of humanity has turned. You have to internalize it to the point that you no longer just believe, but you know without a shadow of doubt, in your very core, that you will survive the apocalypse. You have to know that you will be the exception to the rule.
As an entrepreneur, your chances at success may also be as dismal and statistically as certain, but you also have to keep the dream alive. You have to believe that you can succeed even though most do not. No one is going to hand you success, and there will be plenty of opportunities for self-doubt and uncertainty to creep in. You have to take matters into your own hands and make it happen. You can’t just lie down and accept that you will fail; you have to push forward knowing without a shadow of a doubt, at your core, that you will will succeed. You have to know that you will be the exception.
Now, lest you think that all I am offering is a bleak picture where we are all doomed to joining the mindless horde and that we can only continue by lying to ourselves, let me offer that there is an upside. If, after the dust settles and the screams subside, you find yourself shuffling along the empty streets with a growing craving for cranial paté, take heart, because being a zombie isn’t as bad as it sounds. In fact, as a newly-infected zombie-entrepreneur, I think you have some remarkable traits that will help you achieve your goals.
Five Reasons Zombies make Excellent Entrepreneurs
Zombies are relentless. They never rest and they never sleep.
Zombies are goal oriented and focused. They know exactly what they want. Brains!
Zombies have excellent communication skills. There are no misunderstandings because they are direct and to the point; you know exactly what they want. Brains!
Zombies are action oriented. They don’t sit around waiting for someone to serve them brains on a silver platter, they go out and get them.
Zombies don’t know that they are wrong. They don’t listen to the experts or the skeptics.
And one last request, when the apocalypse comes, if you happen to be one of the lucky ones; one of the exceptions to the rule, take a moment to remember me. Chances are high that I’m on the outside, roaming the streets with the rest of the fallen. I truly hope that our paths will cross someday, but be warned… I’ll be hungry.