Protect Your Baby

My friend Howard (he’s a patent attorney) calls it “protecting your baby.” He says that when you have a new idea, and particularly when it’s just been born, you’ve got to protect it from other people.  Not so much because they want to steal it, but because they want to talk you out of it.

The thing about starting a business in mid-life, particularly if you have “no good reason” to leave your nice job and steady paycheck, is that it makes people uncomfortable.

Good friends and family may be concerned that you’re about to do something irresponsible, and they want to help you avoid a big mistake.  Other people feel uneasy when they see someone breaking ranks with convention, at least partly (I think) because they themselves haven’t done it and it raises all kinds of questions about their own path.

Either way — particularly before you have good answers to the “practical” questions these people ask, or any real evidence that your crazy idea will really work out — your idea is like a new baby… vulnerable to the thoughts and influence of others.

So follow Howard’s advice.  Only share your ideas and plans with people who you know will give you unconditional encouragement. Once that baby’s strong enough to stand on its own, then you can risk having others come in and take a swing at it.

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