08/11/2011 05:53 pm ET Updated Oct 11, 2011

Live Like Your Life Depends On It

Dear Jen,

I've always wanted my own catering business and know I'd be great at it but am terrified to leave my safe, steady, boring-as-hell day job because I have a wife and kids and a mortgage, etc.

How do you make the leap to a new venture and keep the money coming in at the same time? I can't afford to screw up because it's not just me who'd go down. At the same time, I can't stand the thought of never going for it.


Hey Joe,

I was on a plane once, waiting to take off, and the last people to board were a mother and her seven-year old son, neither of whom apparently had a window seat. The little boy informed his mother, who was frantically trying to get him to sit the hell down while the whole plane watched and waited, that his assigned seat was unacceptable and he'd be sitting by the window. She told him he would be sitting in his proper seat and he would be doing it right now, but the kid, ever so calmly, insisted that it was the window or nothing.

This went on for several extremely tense minutes, the mother slowly unraveling, pleading, demanding, turning her reddening face towards her captive audience apologetically, while her son stood his ground with no tears, no bratty screamfest, just steadfast determination.

I was torn between being completely impressed by the size of this kid's cojones and being irritated that the little twerp didn't just shut up and do what he was told, when finally someone got up and gave him a seat by the window.

This little scenario illustrates the very big, very important difference between "want" energy and "must" energy.

Want: Coming home from work, collapsing on the couch, watching TV with your wife and kids.

Must: Coming home from work, speed-hanging with the wife and kids, locking yourself in a room and working on your catering business.

Want: Worrying that you don't have the start up money you need on top of all the expenses you've already got.

Must: Seeking investors, loans, extra credit, figuring out stuff you can sell, telling every single person who stands still long enough exactly what you need by when and not stopping until you get it.

Want: Worrying that you can't.

Must: Knowing that you can.

You must go after the things you desire like your life depends on it, because guess what? Your life does depend on it. The life you truly want to live does. You just have to decide if you're going to sit still and make do with what you already have or risk a few spankings to enjoy your ride from the best seat in the house.