Thanksgiving is paying tribute to the most successful entrepreneurs in American history. Let us take note, reaffirm and recommit to the power of entrepreneurship and the opportunity for prosperity when brave men, women and children pursue big goals in uncertain times with high risk, deep self confidence and open faith in Providence.
Like many successful entrepreneurs, the Pilgrims sought in 1620 to leave behind old organizations and countries in order to invent “the new”. This venture to the new world had investors (two stock-holding companies), a large ambition for a huge untapped market and everyone took great risks. The Pilgrims themselves invested seven years of their labor to the venture – real ‘sweat equity’. Their initial goal was Virginia, but when thrown off course they adapted or pivoted, (like many entrepreneurs must), and set a new course for what is now Massachusetts – landing in and naming Plymouth.
As everyone knows, there was great hardship and 46 of the original 102 persons on the voyage did not survive the first winter. Folks, this is ‘all-in’ entrepreneurship and risk taking. Today’s entrepreneurs are likewise risking hearth and family and often feel oceans away from established governments and organizations.
In the following spring, the Pilgrims’ captain pleaded with them to gather remaining provisions and return to England from whence they embarked. But these hearty and steadfast entrepreneurs were resolute on moving forward. With persistence, determination and hard work, plus a key strategic alliance with the Wampanoag Indians, they prayed and planted and reached a bountiful harvest. These first fruits were a prototype and proof point of what could be accomplished! From small successes they evolved – milestone after milestone. We are thankful for their perseverance.
Of course, there was dissension among the members and a veering of interests from original investors – as they took over control of the venture and wrote the Mayflower Compact – a social contract and mission statement. Nevertheless, confident in themselves and with faith in Providence these entrepreneurs designed their business and social model, then by blood, sweat and, surely, many tears they moved ever forward. Truly, “what did not kill them made them stronger”1.
Today we especially honor those first of America’s entrepreneurs and also intentionally tip our hats and offer our sincere appreciation to all you hearty souls who are today pursuing new ventures and businesses in attics, garages, coffee shops, co-working spaces, incubators and accelerator throughout the Americas and around the globe. Though you may feel alone, desperate and forgotten by most, please do hold firm that we are many who sincerely salute you. For it is the combination of the unbridled human spirit, kindred fellowship, inventiveness, and the grace filled hand of the Creator that has and will forever spur our economies and the development of our human race onward and upward. Thank you for your sacrifices.
Best, Sylvester Di Diego, Strategy Dynamix, LLC
For those interested, a replica Mayflower ship and ‘Plimoth Plantation’ with historical reenactors is an educational and thought expanding experience in Plymouth, MA. More at http://www.plimoth.org/features/mayflower-2/)
Note 1: Paraphrase of“What does not kill me, makes me stronger” Friedrich Nietzsche, Twilight of the Idols, 1888
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