What do pilgrims and entrepreneurs have in common? Thanksgiving musings for the entrepreneur

I may have taken some license with “history” here, but bear with me. The point is coming…

For the “pilgrims” that we are thinking about this time of year, the “Old World” was home. They were comfortable and safe there; until the persecution started. Able to tolerate only so much, a group of them finally agreed that a trip to the “New World” would be the key to living life “their way”.

entrepreneurs and thanksgiving

The trip to the “New World” was arduous, and when they arrived, things went from bad to worse. Their provisions were running low and many of their company got sick and died! Provisions were so scarce in the middle of that first winter that the daily ration (for the healthy among them) was only 5 kernels of corn.

But Spring did come, and the natives in the land turned out to be friendly — teaching the Pilgrims many things that they needed to know in order to survive in this New World. That’s when their luck turned. In fact, that fall their harvest was so grand, such a stark contrast from the measley 5 kernel ration of the year before, that they threw a feast to celebrate the ways that God had provided for them. They had gone from subsistence levels of food to abundance — in just one year!

And so they celebrated the first Thanksgiving along with the native families that helped them reach success…

It would be hard (wouldn’t it?) to imagine the country that grew out of those humble beginnings…

The Entrepreneur’s Journey

Working in corporate america was great. I learned so much, developed a lot of skills, and built a track record of success. Then, suddenly, it wasn’t such a great place to be. I had ideas for how to make things better, new ways of doing things that the “corporate” culture wasn’t ready for. What was once a nurturing place to grow, became oppressive and stifling.

Finally, it became too much. I gathered what I needed and set sail from the old “corporate world” to seek my fourtune in the “new world” entrepreneurship. My arrival in the new world was not impressive. I remember my first business card (that I designed myself in MS Publisher), and my first website. Let’s just say they weren’t helping me. They certainly didn’t make me look like I knew what I was doing.

The world of entreprenureship turned out to be a lot different from the world of corportate america. There were so many things I didn’t know how to do, but the natives were friendly. I’m so grateful for the people who were experienced in the world of small businesses. They taught me so much about what I needed to know in order to survive: how to sell, how to do the work, how to continue to sell, and keep track of the money, and have a life.

Still, that first winter, things were not easy. The money I brought to the new world of entrepreneurship didn’t last as long as I thought it would, and rations got tight! There were many moments when I thought, “We’re not going to make it.” But Winter gave way to Spring, and sales came more easily then. As real work came in, I began to see the light at the end of the tunnel.

Looking back now over 13 years, I always had high hopes; but really, you couldn’t see the business that I have now from the seeds I planted then.

This year at Thanksgiving I’m celebrating all my good fortune, and all that God has done to transform my humble beginnings into the business that I have today. How about you?

Photo credit:  Hot Lava (Flickr)


  1. Great analogy, well its not just about entrepreneurship though its about every aspect of your life, just think about it, the struggles we take, the efforts we put, the situations we endure, life is all about a pilgrimage, every action, every step is a ritual either towards success (good) or failure (evil).

  2. MartyVernon says:

    Very thankful for knowledgeable experts like you Brad! Great post and totally spot on.

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