One of the best piece of advice I have received came from my Dad. Now this guy didn't give up a lot of advice but he was free with his criticism. He had spent six years in the Army, most of it as a drill sergeant. Dad wasn't one for excuses at all and I am pretty sure he wasn't too thrilled about whining. He also didn't believe in hiring any outside help. I truly believe that if he had to build a nuclear reactor in the basement he would've only asked one of our neighbors. Maybe the furnace repair man and the Maytag washing machine repair man could come over to the house and maybe we can build this thing and save some money. I am not kidding. There was a long history of Dad and I trying to do one more than one home repair project that we had no business trying on our own.
On any project around the house or yard, big, small, or complicated, Dad would invariably say in his growly voice, "come on, let's do something, even if it's wrong." I knew that it wasn't the time for questions, such as, "do you know what you are doing? "how do you know we're putting it in correctly?" Or better yet, "should we put this part in now or later on?" What I learned from this bull Moose approach to getting things done was very simple: we made a lot of mistakes, we did a lot of things twice sometimes three times, but we always got it done. I learned early on, that making a bunch of stupid mistakes was hard on my ego, but it allowed me to start. Otherwise, I would have been intimidated. If you don't start, nothing happens. Today all the seminar gurus remind us that if we try to have all of our questions answered, we will never start our new business. You just can't answer all the unknowns. Sometimes, usually all the time, we can't solve all of our future problems. If we wait till the questions are answered and there's less risk, it always seems to be too late.
I'm not saying to not research and examine all the pitfalls and all the variables, but after a while you just have to plunge ahead. I had already tried to solve and mitigate most of the big problems and obstacles but eventually you are at a crossroad. If I knew of all of the setbacks, rejections, denials, and total stops that would occur during the 12 years I was trying to build the Cannery Pier Hotel, I would have never started. The only reason there is a hotel is because I was so tired of everybody in my hometown asking, "are you ever going to build that hotel?" I think the hotel wasn't built by just temerity and tenacity, but I think a lot of it was built out of spite. I kept thinking that I would show those naysayers. Now I would not recommend this as a motivating factor in your future entrepreneurial projects but it's one of the reasons there is a hotel.
If I had waited for all the problems to be solved, there wouldn't be a Cannery Pier. I was just too dumb to know about all the future roadblocks. Do you know how to find out about the roadblock? Start.
Today, I can look out in the Columbia River and see a 46 unit boutique hotel instead of just a broken-down dock. In trying to get the hotel project started, I became so entrenched with all my time, all my money, and all my dreams that I kept plugging away even though all the unknowns, all fears, and all obstacles kept coming. I never knew when I would be stopped again. I just kept moving forward, right or wrong.
Even though I wasn't aware of my Dad's voice, I must have kept saying secretly in my head, "let's do something, even if it's wrong." Maybe.