“The boat is safer anchored at the port; but that’s not the aim of boats.” (Paulo Coelho)

Courage is not the absence of fear. Rather, it is the ability to act in spite of fear. I say this as a reflective on a past colleague’s compliment about my courage in letting go the apparent safe anchorage of employment for open waters of entrepreneurship. Putting into context, her compliment; my last salaried position before my foray into entrepreneurship was as vice president, holding regional office in investment banking.

True, entrepreneurship is akin to navigating the seven seas in sometimes, unpredictable weather. With little to no experience, it could spell (fiscal) death. A seasoned mariner will tell you that despite countless voyages, fear still swells up in stormy waters. Regular voyagers into the unknown are well observed for faith in God (or as you see fit, the universe) due perhaps, to a renewal of faith by fear.

So, what motivates a person to leave perceived port safety for open seas? Could it be promise of more, passion for adventure or an awakening to the calling of higher or personal purpose? A purpose akin to the “aim of boats”, maybe?

For my forefather of five Malaysian generations ago whom I shall call G.Lo, it was the promise of more.

Whereas his fellow surname clansmen migrated from China primarily in the Opium War defeat aftermath and after 1842; G.Lo may have taken courage to leave safety of homeland earlier, and sailed from China to sow seeds of fortune outside. When his eldest was born in Malaysia, he had already firmly entrenched his wealth as a rice merchant in Rangoon, Burma. Both sons, the younger (my 2nd great grandfather) and eldest, had by then, a wealth vintage which gave privilege to the best of British education.

Our story of import goes a little further. Unbeknown to me on my debut as an intern banker, it appeared all the male issue in our family’s 3rd generation of Malaysians were educated not only in the best of schools available on that “pearl-of-the-orient” called Penang; they also assumed banking internships with Chartered Bank before their reunion with our family business then.

Our family of yore clearly saw that the aim of the familial boat was a promise of better, for future generations. Our boat was not to stay anchored idle at port. Even so, the family took it upon itself to ensure its business leaders had requisite experience and education before taking on the reins of family enterprise. They must have seen importance and considerable merit in banking internship as training for the treacherous waters of business.

Be my fellow journey person. Share Page/post.

- A.Lo (live.freeInversionista)

[mediaSource: wikimedia commons | original photoCredit: christoph swoboda]