Skip to main content



Starting any new venture can be scary.  Deciding to tap into our creative entrepreneurial spirit can take a lot of courage, patience & a bit of ignoring our insecurities.

"Why not go out on a limb?  That's where the fruit is!"
-Mark Twain

Recently heard Tim Ferriss Podcast interview with Sir Richard Branson.  One of the stories Branson told was of how he got into the airline business.  He was trying to get home after a 3-week business trip when his flight was cancelled.  He really wanted to get back to see his girlfriend & didn’t take this news lightly.  Branson went to the airport operations center to inquire about renting an airplane to get to his destination.  There was one available so he threw down his credit card & immediately went to all the folks on his cancelled flight to offer them seats on his charter flight.  The plane sold out & they all got to their destination that night!

Soon after this experience Branson pitched the idea of going into the airline business to some of the Virgin board members.  They would start with one plane as he had called Boeing prior to the meeting to see if there was a used jet for sale.  They thought he was a little crazy to say the least.  He went on to explain that he would mitigate the risk of this new venture by negotiating the return of the jet to Boeing after 1 year in business if it didn’t work out.  The board approved, Boeing agreed & obviously they didn’t have to return the jet!

This is a great example of not one but two seemingly wild risky moves.  Branson’s track record of mitigating the risks of new ventures is astounding.  He stated the establishment of the right relationships are the key to negotiating & mitigating overall new business risks.

Confirmation Bias

We’ve all shared our “moonlighting” projects with others at some point.  It’s always energizing to talk about a new focus area with people who share our same passion or at the least will be encouraging to continue.  This can provide energy to keep going. We also know having a good mix of people who provide different insights is critical.  This purposeful seeking of alternate points of view can help refine the impact we’re trying to have.  Not always easy to hear this kind of feedback but it’s essential for our success.

Learn the Trade not just the Tricks

Ideas are powerful things!  It’s these moments of inspiration that can give us focus to pursue different paths & connect with new mentors.  We’ve all known people who have jumped in the pool before seeing how the water is.  New business ventures fail every day & in fact, more than likely it’s the future of most.  We can’t let this reality stop us!  Michael Jordan wrote a little book a few years back called “I can’t accept not trying”.  In it he states “we miss 100% of the shots we don’t take”.  We judge ourselves out of trying at all because of some insecurity or “Debbie downer” advice.  If you’re really passionate about your new idea, do the work, find out all you can & do it.  This will translate to those who believe the same things you believe & help propel your success.  Without this desire to improve in a passion area, we spend time on our “exit strategy” instead of becoming a “go to” person in the line of work we hope to make an impact in.  We’ve essentially admitted it might fail & given ourselves permission to do just that.  If we strive to be the best & it doesn’t work out, what we’ve learned adds wisdom to our lives & is a great example for others to take some risks.  Zig Ziglar is right….”Failure is an event, not a person.”

Nothing Ventured, Nothing Gained

Once you start work on anything you have a passion for it often doesn’t feel like work…it’s fun!  After all, we always find time for the things that are important to us. Putting this energy out into the universe creates the acceptance space, you’ve given yourself permission to succeed!  Don’t go for the “low hanging fruit” go for an agricultural model of growing your knowledge & expertise.  Instead of pushing to improve, cultivate your own potential.  The seeds you plant today will soon become an “orchard” others can benefit from.

One of my college professors lives by & taught his students the rule of avoiding “paralysis by analysis”.  We can talk ourselves out of starting just about anything.  Yes, putting yourself out there on that “limb” takes courage but the personal growth is worth it.  Maybe you’ve heard the story of six frogs sitting on a log.  Four decide to jump off.  How many are left?  Still six, because deciding is different from doing.  The real risk is dealing with the regret of not doing.  Take the old Nike call to action & “Just Do It”, you might just surprise yourself!

Add Comment

Comments (0)


About the Extension Foundation

The Extension Foundation was formed in 2006 by Extension Directors and Administrators. Today, the Foundation partners with Cooperative Extension through liaison roles and a formal plan of work with the Extension Committee on Organization and Policy (ECOP) to increase system capacity while providing programmatic services, and helping Extension programs scale and investigate new methods and models for implementing programs. The Foundation provides professional development to Cooperative Extension professionals and offers exclusive services to its members. In 2020 and 2021, the Extension Foundation has awarded 85% of its direct funding back to the Cooperative Extension System, 100% of funds are used to support Cooperative Extension initiatives. 

This technology is supported in part by New Technologies for Agriculture Extension grant no. 2020-41595-30123 from the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture and membership funding. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in the content are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. For more information, please visit You can view the terms of useat

Link copied to your clipboard.