Humility as the Driver in Entrepreneurship

I learned last week that Sedera has been recognized by Inc. Magazine in their Inc 5000 category as one of the top two hundred privately held companies in the country.  This is a huge honor for everyone on the Sedera team.  So how do you handle honor when it comes your way?

Interestingly for me, the first thought that came to mind when I heard this was how important it is that we give credit where credit is due.  Ideas are a dime a dozen.  You will find that most entrepreneurs are getting new ideas all of the time; it is the execution that is so difficult to accomplish.  And that is where it really takes a team.  A team who can apply themselves to the challenges of the new idea and find a way to bring the actuality out of the idea.

For every good idea that someone like myself has, there are probably ten (or maybe a hundred!) other ideas that have been discarded, or at least put on the shelf for another time.  Humility allows you to say to yourself that you can’t create the new “thing” on your own.  We need others, with other equally vital skills to come alongside and to do what they do so well.

When I began sharing the idea of Sedera with some of my friends and colleagues back in 2010, when the Affordable Care Act had just been written into law, there were plenty of people who pointed out to me why it couldn’t be done. After all, the law had only granted an exemption to the Christian healthcare sharing ministries that pre-dated the law’s inception by 10 years.  But something is only impossible until somebody does it.  They used to say that running a four-minute mile would be impossible, but once Roger Bannister did it in 1954, the record-breaking time was itself broken repeatedly over the next few months.

If John Oberg, a member of our board at the first company I started, had not encouraged me, the idea might have died a natural death before even seeing the light of day.  If he had not known Jamie Lagarde, who was going to be our first employee, I would have never had the skill mix on my own to see the company successfully birthed.  Jamie just soaked up everything that I could teach him about this industry and was ready to take over as CEO of Sedera just 3 years later.  

Now comes the most startling thought of all.  Even the original idea for Sedera was not mine.  It was the brainchild of my second son, Matt Dale, who is now the CEO of The Karis Group.  In roughly 2002, ten years before I was ready to think about this, he outlined a simple business plan for what would later become the genesis of Sedera.  This confirms to me what King Solomon said in his poem known as Ecclesiastes almost 1000 years before Christ, “There is nothing new under the Sun.

Nothing new then; nothing new now.  But always plenty of room for humility.