When I first told my mom that I wanted to start a business with PittMoss®, twenty some years ago, her response altered my earnest belief that anyone could do anything if they set their heart and mind to it. She told me that I was always reaching for things far beyond my grasp and that reaching too far, would one day, lead to a painful fall. I recall that she encouraged me to go find a nice government job.
I was reminded of that wasp sting recently while reading an INC. magazine article that declared that Entrepreneurship was disappearing. http://www.inc.com/magazine/201505/leigh-buchanan/the-vanishing-startups-in-decline.html
The writer’s reasoning for the decline was the perfectly predictable outcome of a generation who were taught risk aversion and therefore feared failing. Speaking as someone who has identified as an environmentalist for three decades, I’d add that the message younger, environmentally conscious generations hear is that Capitalism is at the root of all environmental ills. Simplistically, some have come to believe if they rid themselves of Capitalism the problem is solved.
When I first learned of the habitat degradations caused by the peat moss industry I actually thought about organizing protest rallies. With my event planning and PR skills it would have been both, perfectly executed logistically and splashed across a slow news cycle once a year. Instead of that total waste of time, resources and effort, I chose to be productive, invent PittMoss®, start a company and disrupt my environmentally challenged competition.
Now, as a solitary Entrepreneur, I certainly don’t have a comprehensive plan for reigniting the entire engine that drives economic prosperity. But I do understand that Entrepreneurship is about rewriting the rules, reshuffling a stale establishment and recalculating a new path to the future. The path I’m cutting is one that eliminates a need to degrade beneficial, carbon storing peat-lands, supply customers with a superior product, all while hiring employees and making use of inexhaustible supplies of recycled paper.
Each new generation of Entrepreneurs is like the batch of seeds planted every spring in a garden. Sure, some of them will fail but others will succeed and provide us a bountiful harvest. I believe a great generation is emerging, with ideals for a more equitable society and a healthier planet. If you have a dream to build a business, I for one encourage all of you to stand up and reach. Climb up to the highest point you can and reach. Crawl out on the shakiest branch and reach, because if you grab hold of that unreachable daydream, then I have no doubt you will change yourself and the world for the better.