What is usually the biggest obstacle to overcome when pursuing a new career, business, or another endeavor? The answer: Getting started. Countless opportunities are squandered simply due to our failure to launch.
We often forget this truth once we get our endeavor off the ground and are consumed with the demands of keeping it going and achieving success. Also, we rarely remember those great ideas and amazing opportunities that never came to fruition because we couldn’t find a way to overcome distractions, doubts, and other obstacles to taking that first step and simply getting started.
Helping people to overcome barriers to getting started on promising ideas and new opportunities is the goal of The Launch Book: Motivational Stories to Launch Your Idea, Business or Next Career by Sanyin Siang. It is a worthwhile read for anyone facing the challenge of starting a new business, entering a new career, or literally reinventing themselves. (Which is to say, virtually all of us.)
I first met Siang more than a decade ago in her role as a co-founder and leader of the Coach K Center on Leadership & Ethics at Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business. (I am a former member of the center’s board of advisors). An executive coach and advisor whose insights have been published in Forbes, Fortune and The Wall Street Journal, Siang’s goal was to write a book that identifies the key ingredients to a successful launch—whether adopting a new health regimen or entering a new industry—as well as the obstacles that could cause a new launch to end up stillborn. The good news: she largely succeeds.
The Launch Book provides valuable advice, ranging from focusing on self-awareness and personal development, to building and engaging your tribe, to navigating the necessary stages of a launch (including failures and setbacks). More importantly, she illustrates each concept with personal insights and stories from successful launchers across a variety of industries and disciplines, including Morgan Stanley Vice Chairman and Managing Director Carla Harris and serial entrepreneur Jaunique Sealey (who shares the experience of being mentored by none other than the late musical genius Prince).
In the final chapter of The Launch Book, Siang’s literary selfie documenting the obstacles she faced in getting started with writing her book—including self-doubt, misfires, and the demands of being a working wife and mother—and how she overcame them to finish a manuscript and ultimately launch her book.
The final result is a valuable and useful guide to help you take the most important step and necessary step in any journey: The first one. If you are faced with big, hairy ideas, challenging goals and exciting endeavors, but are experiencing trepidation about what it means to begin a new chapter in your life, The Launch Book is for you.