I think it would be fair to say that I am an avid outdoor enthusiast. Hiking, biking, walking, kayaking - anything that gets me out in Nature. Others would add that I am an environmentalist, having spent many years protecting the environment and teaching hundreds of young adults to care about the natural world around them.
So you can imagine my surprise on a recent kayaking trip down the Delaware River, with osprey and bald eagle circling overhead, when I saw a billboard on the riverbank announcing, "Hot Dog Man Around the Corner."
First of all, rivers don't have corners, they have bends. Second of all, rather than be upset that such commercialism has polluted the river, something about this just made me smile. As I rounded the bend, I saw close to 100 people in tubes, kayaks and canoes waiting to buy a hot dog or snack.
When I paddled by, I admired this perfect scene of Americana and thought to myself, "That right there is the entrepreneurial lifeblood that fuels this country." Someone saw an opportunity - hundreds of people floating down the river each day - and took advantage of it by setting up a mobile snack shack on their boat.
This brought to mind a billboard I saw on Interstate 95 a few years ago on the way to Philadelphia which proclaimed, "Microsoft was started during a recession." I loved both the hope of this message as well as its encouraging, if not bold, challenge to all the dreamers and entrepreneurs in the world. Essentially, it was saying, "Go for it! Don't be afraid to try!"
This is what I love about America and working with entrepreneurs and business owners. They go for it! The blood that courses through their veins is rich with possibility. They see what CAN be, take the risk, and set out to make it reality. In some cultures they would call that magic, for they are creating something from nothing. In America, we call it the entrepreneurial spirit.