I recently came across a book called, Nothing to Lose, Everything to Gain, by Millionaire Ryan Blair. One of my co-workers knows that I love to read entrepreneurial literature, so she decided to pass it to me so I could give it a read. But what she didn’t know is that she passed me an answer to some of the questions that remained unanswered throughout my own entrepreneurial journey.
As I began reading the book, I realized that I couldn’t expect someone else to resolve my lingering questions, but I should be answering them for myself. Ryan Blair discusses his journey as he transformed his life from the jail cell to the boardroom. He talks about the different obstacles that he had to endure and how he was able to learn from each and every one of them.
Blair’s chapter, “Philosophies from the Jail Cell to the Boardroom,” really stood out to me. There he sat a teenager in a jail cell, contemplating the things that he had done and how he could possibly change his life. He was able to turn a negative situation into a positive solution, by simply evaluating his own road to failure. No one else got him locked up or could help get him out, but himself. Even if someone handed him the key, he had to determine what he was going to do differently in order to make sure he would never have to return again.
As budding entrepreneurs, we too sit in a jail cell, the jail cell of contemplation. We may or may not be the cause behind our entrepreneurial “jail cell,” but only we can create the solution to break free. We can have a million (and one) bright ideas that could possibly lead us to the head of the boardroom table, but if we fall into continuous failures, it can only keep us trapped.
Solely thinking inside of the “box” or “cell” can only limit our minds within those four walls. Being able to think outside of normality and examine our surroundings provides us with extreme insight that can set us free and ensure we never return.
Blair quotes Mark Twain in one of his passages, “The secret of getting ahead is getting started. The secret of getting started is breaking down your complex overwhelming tasks into small manageable tasks, and then starting on the first one.” Blair took this quote as a challenge to utilize the knowledge that he previously obtained before entering the cell and applied it to his future.
He realized that he wanted to start his own business and be the head of the table one day, but he had to understand what it took in order to get there. The big picture was no longer an important factor, but his focus shifted to the supplies that were needed in order to create such a masterpiece.
We have to understand that it may have taken 3 steps to get us into this cell and can possibly take 10 steps for us to get out. But are you willing to go the extra mile?
Each step taken symbolizes one less day spent in those four walls of contemplation and a step closer toward the ladder of success. We have to be willing to accept the responsibility of how we got there, in order to develop a plan to get ourselves out.
“While it is important to move past our failures and not let them hold us back, it’s equally important to make sure we learn from them so we don’t repeat our mistakes”- -Ryan Blair, Multimillionaire Entrepreneur