Are You Willing to Fail in the Pursuit of Your Passion?

I have launched the Agents of Innovation podcast, featuring conversations with entrepreneurs, philanthropists, and artists. In the first episode of my first podcast, I interviewed Isaac Morehouse, Founder & CEO of Praxis, as well as Nick Gill, a musician who was raised in south Alabama and now lives in Nashville. Both of these two young guys are pursuing their passion in unconventional ways.

For Isaac Morehouse, he is trying to “break the mold” of higher education. Several years ago, he started Praxis, a company that provides opportunities for young people who aren’t pursuing the usual route of higher education to get career experience and online education.  Through an intensive 10-month program, participants in Praxis work 30 hours a week for dynamic small businesses across the country and complete 10 hours a week of rigorous online material, workshops, projects, and assignments.

Isaac Morehouse, Founder & CEO of Praxis

Isaac Morehouse, Founder & CEO of Praxis

But creating this module for entrepreneurial young people was an entrepreneurial venture itself. In this podcast, we learn about the risk Isaac took and why he did it.  Isaac believed so much in this idea of Praxis, that he had a willingness to fail.

“I didn’t launch Praxis just because I wanted it to succeed,” said Morehouse. “I launched it because I had to know the answer to a burning question. I see this problem. I see this gap in the market and I say to myself: there is a better way and I can imagine it right now and I can build it. Will it work? Will people latch onto it? Will it have the impact that I think it can have? That’s the question. And I need an answer to that. And no amount of surveys or focus groups or research or readings can give me that answer. I’ve got to put it to the market test. And even if the answer is no, Isaac, your idea is not valuable enough, it’s not going to work, I needed that answer. I would not be satisfied until I got it. So even if I failed, it was worth it. I was willing to fail to get the answer to that question for this idea.”

This gives me a sense that entrepreneurs like Isaac aren’t just doing something to provide a livelihood for themselves, although that is certainly necessary. But it’s also because they are pursuing a passion they have to bring something value to the world – they have some unique talents, intuition, or vision, that others may not, to solve a specific problem or bring something creative to the world.

Nick Gill's recent album, Waves Are Only Water

Nick Gill’s acclaimed album, Waves Are Only Water

The other guest on this episode, Nick Gill, is a 23-year old musician who has taken time off from college to pursue his passion to create and play music he believes in. Now back in college at Lipscomb University in Nashville, he is surrounded by what he describes as a “lively city” where he meets “people who are willing to risk not going to college” or “willing to quit their job to do take up whatever it is they feel like they’ve been called to do, whether it’s music or film or whatever.”

Are you willing to take a risk to pursue your passion? Well, I don’t feel like I’m taking much of a risk by pursuing this podcast. After all, I’m doing it on the side, on top of my full-time day job. But I do find something of inspiration from talking to my first two guests, Isaac Morehouse and Nick Gill. As the Vice President of Advancement for The James Madison Institute, I meet so many entrepreneurs and philanthropists. Through my position on the board of directors of Rock by the Sea Charities, I meet so many independent musicians using their talents to bring value to the world and help great causes such as the charities Rock by the Sea supports.

I have long felt like I have a unique opportunity to bring their stories to others – and what better way than through a podcast. I hope you’ll enjoy learning from Isaac, Nick, and the many other guests in the episodes to come. And perhaps, like me, you’ll find some inspiration along the way.

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