The Calm Before the Showdown
Halfway through the story… and in more than a few entrepreneurial journeys, the path narrows to a dark, forbidden cave.
You know, the one with rotting skeletons. Gooey stalactites. Water dripping, a potpourri of foul smells… and the sound of heavy breathing. It’s the kind of place movies throw in to send a tingle down our spines; and it works because we know this ain’t no haunted house ride.
Rather, and for all the damn theatrics, it’s a proving ground. A cage match. It’s the place where all the skills we’ve mastered along the way grow limp and useless. It’s that witching hour when we feel like a cornered Tranyslvanian villager… fumbling with the garlic bulbs as that all-too-real vampire steps closer.
In the big picture, and in every story ever told, approaching the inmost cave is like fighting the army ten times our size.
We’ll come back, all right—with our shield or laid across it.
Why We Enter
Beneath the goosebumps, we should be excited.
Beyond the skeletons, the booby traps, and the hidden mine shaft, a ruthless adversary guards the treasure. We, (like every hero), know the treasure’s worth the ordeal. More than Spanish gold, the real treasure’s wisdom. Opportunity. Elevated perspective and insight that doesn’t come easy.
But gettin’ there’s a nightmare. It means scraping our knees, grappling with some childhood fears—and with death hanging in the air like ninety percent humidity—not screwing up.
When we’re up at bat, it’s no help knowing how the story’s supposed to go. Sure… we know Luke Skywalker’s going to get the gang (minus Obi-wan) out of the Death Star. We know Batman’s going to nab the green-haired sociopath before the credits roll. We even know that murderous, fluffy rabbits eat dust when we lob the holy hand grenade.
But when it’s our ass hitting the mat… that’s a different story. When it’s our check bouncing, our catalytic converter gone missin,’ or our bank account frozen to protect democracy… it’s no wonder we need to sit down and get some air.
Fact is, just like reading War and Peace, everyone wants to have slain monsters along the way.
Emphasis on have.
The tests we learn from are the ones that cost something.
Whether that’s our peace and sanity, every ounce of strength we’ve got, or the ready-made analogies we like to rely on… the fiercest fights might cost us even more. Once in a while, paying the tab means shedding some of our oldest, deepest beliefs.
Much to our frustration.
But while we’re down at the groundwater, where beliefs and assumptions dampen everything we do, a stillness beckons.
Perhaps we’re not even in the fight just yet.
Maybe just knowing that it’s coming, and knowing that the monsters we’re about to wrestle—or swim against—are in the wrong weight category, is enough to show us some tools we’ve had all along.
Tools like stillness, confidence, and humility… even if we’re facing an unfair advantage.
Tools like Journaling.
-Seeking a mentor who won’t just give advice.
-Thinking about how we think… and separating ready-made answers from what we know to be true.
-Seeing our bias.
-Asking hard questions of ourselves.
-Seeing what really kicked the journey off, and why it matters.
-Seeing everyone around us, and living our own selfish story with a little more humility.
-Receiving encouragement for what it is… a generosity that’s best passed around the campfire.
One Last Tool
When all’s said and done, the approach to a dark struggle offers one more gift—a reminder.
We don’t have to like it, but that dreadful calm before the storm reminds us that it’s no cosmic prank. Rather, by moving further, onward, and into the cave we’re dancing a messy tango with divine mystery.
We’re still learning… which means we’re still alive.
Like the Bible story of Elijah, a gutsy prophet who kicks ass, takes names… and then runs for his life when his enemies put the Wanted poster up, the revelation doesn’t always come where we think it should.
The Old Testament story has Elijah hiding in a cave, depressed, and wanting to die. He’s seen God rain down fire on his enemies, but in the last day or so, the big guy seems to have run out of napalm. With Elijah’s battle plans no longer working, he’s thrown in the towel, gone to the cave to lick his wounds… and asked God for permission to die.
Not so fast, God says, topping things off with some casual enlightenment.
“The Lord said to Elijah, “Go, stand in front of me on the mountain, and I will pass by you.” Then a very strong wind blew until it caused the mountains to fall apart… but the Lord was not in the wind. After the wind, there was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. After the earthquake, there was a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire.
After the fire, there was a quiet, gentle sound. When Elijah heard it, he covered his face and went out and stood at the entrance to the cave.
Then a voice said to him, “Elijah! Why are you here?”
It’s quite a show.
Tornadoes. Fire. Earthquake—and then, after this noisy, natural-disaster buffet God comes in a whisper. The rhetorical ‘what are you doing here?’ is a gentle slap to the upside of Elijah’s head… a reminder that the prophet’s failed, shock-and-awe battle plans are way too small.
At that point, his story isn’t over yet.
Just like ours.
Daring at the Heart of It
In lending and factoring, we strive to know what our clients go through.
For every engineering or construction firm we’ve funded, we’ve seen plenty of entrepreneurs walk out that tussle in the cave. We know complications, unforeseen setbacks, and acts of God can throw a wrench in detailed plans.
Still, and at the heart of what we do, our financial partnership is a team effort. A joining together for the journey that takes no prisoners… but always delivers lessons, mystery, and the stillness that shapes us into better versions of ourselves.
We’re the lender that listens, the one that’s been there, done that… and given encouragement where others cut and run.
We equip entrepreneurs with funding, proprietary data, and all the tools they need for one hell of a journey.
Sometimes they soar.
If the journey we’re talking about gets you fired up and thinking big… then you might be the next one we listen to.
Give us a call and then get in the fight.
It might be time to fire up that outdoor grill you’ve never used. And if you’re a doer, someone who bristles at the same old recipe, then give us a call.
Your move, chef.