By Susan Ford Collins
Feeling stuck? Here’s something you need to know.
On Independence Day 1994, Jeff Bezos resigned his Wall Street finance position, flew to Texas with his wife Mackenzie, picked up an ‘88 Chevy Blazer and headed for Seattle. Why? To start something most people thought would be a surefire failure at the time… an online bookstore. That spring Jeff learned that Internet usage was increasing at 2300% a year and he saw an opportunity for a new sphere of business.
Mackenzie drove while Jeff typed a business plan for the company they would name after the South American river with seemingly uncountable branches. They started their new company in their two-bedroom house, using three Sun Microstations perched on $60 worth of Home Depot doors and powered by extension cords running to the garage.
“I knew that if I failed I wouldn’t regret that, but I knew
the one thing I might regret was not trying.”
On July 16, 1995, Jeff opened amazon.com to the world and asked 300 friends who had beta-tested it to spread the word. And they did! In 30 days, with no press, Amazon sold books in 50 states and 45 foreign countries. By September, sales were $20,000 a week. Early naysayers thought Bezos would lose his shirt and his family’s, but by 2015 Forbes Magazine listed his net worth at $50.4 billion!
The road to dreams isn’t a straight line
Like the Amazon River, it’s curving, meandering, and unexplored. But before you can start the journey, you have to let go of two action-approaches we were taught as kids… don’t start anything unless you know how to do it, and don’t do anything unless others agree. But we’ve outgrown our need for these rules.
An “adult truth” about success… success has three gears
1st Gear is for starting and restarting, for becoming effective at life, new skills and technologies. Keywords include: always/never, can/can’t, safe/dangerous, possible/impossible, right/wrong, good/bad, should/shouldn’t, have to/must, and agreement and permission.
2nd Gear is for accelerating productivity and honing your competitive edge, for deleting 1st rules and developing shortcuts. Keywords include: more-better-faster, win/lose, produce/compete, quantity/quality, longer hours/lower costs/higher profits, burnout, stress and injury. This is the gear most people spend most of their lives in, but if you can’t gear up to 3rd to dream, or gear down to start over, you can’t fulfill your unique mission.
3rd Gear is for moving beyond the usual; for noticing ahas, for creating and innovating, for new thinking, products and services. Keywords: aha, discover, create, invent, innovate and start up.
To create anything life-changing or earth-changing, you have to be willing to use all three gears of success as needed… even though individuals, who are stuck in 1st or 2nd gear, won’t be able to gear up with you until the world comes to agree.
Have you bought anything online lately... books or anything else? Clothes, shoes, cameras, or groceries? Sounded crazy in 1994, but it doesn’t sound crazy now!