Israeli business development consultant, Assaf Luxembourg believes the Bible is one of the most entrepreneurial books ever and he says every entrepreneur can learn much from the Biblical account of Moses. In Israel’s 70th Anniversary year we thank God for all the Jewish people have achieved, not least of which through Moses.
Let’s consider Moses as entrepreneur
- At first, let’s remember that Moses did not grow up dreaming to free his people, the Hebrew slaves.
- He actually grew up with Pharaoh, in the palace, around the Egyptian royalty and high society.
- But, everyone knew that he was that Hebrew baby, son of slaves, who got picked up from the Nile river.
This is a huge lesson about knowing yourself and knowing your ‘why’.
Moving on with the story
- Moses actually knew the desert before the Exodus.
- When he was younger, he had to flee Egypt (nevermind, long story), so he went and became a Bedouin, sort of. He lived with Jethro and the people of Midian for a few years, married his daughter…
- My point is – I guess it helped him quite a bit when he led his people back in that same desert, years later…
This is another huge lesson for a lot of people who start something new, especially the entrepreneur. You really need to know your market before you jump into it. Don’t ‘study’ it with your market research, live it! Don’t learn about your potential customers – be one of them for a while! Especially in a world where we are all business units, in an on-demand economy. You really need to fall in love with the people you want to serve and help. Not the product you want them to buy from you.
Next up for Moses
- Telling Pharaoh where to go and shouting ‘let my people go’ is easy.
- Even declaring the Exodus and stepping into the desert is easy.
- Then, you hit the Red Sea – and you may actually have ‘beginners luck’ and the sea will split in two for you. But then – comes the desert of reality. 40 whole years of it.
Boy, this is a big one. I think that so many people start out with the wrong root of motivation. They want to quit their job to prove a point, or leave their community to impress their friends and colleagues… So many embark on an adventure due to push factors, not pull factors. For most of them, I believe this becomes a huge threat along the way.
So, let’s talk about that desert
- In the desert, there is no food, no water, no shade…
- It’s hot during the day, cold at night…
- The desert is unforgiving and tough.
Well, just like any market, for any business.
- And even with 400,000 people behind you…
- Who, sometimes, may disappoint you (like, you come down from Mount Sinai with your 10 Commandments and they have built a golden calf).
- When you go first, you see only the desert ahead, the stars above, and everyone is looking up to you. So, you feel very lonely.
Ask anyone who started a business, start-up founder, solo-entrepreneur, freelancer, or anyone who holds a top leadership position in any organization, to tell you about loneliness. Bottom line – it sucks.
And, as for the Promised Land?
- The Promised Land is not the Garden of Eden. Too many confuse the two.
- The Garden of Eden no longer exists. We ate from the Apple, and can’t go back. It’s gone, and we have to let go of that fantasy.
- The Promised Land, however, is a real place. And it’s not perfect… For example, it still has challenges like droughts, Philistines, tribes not getting along, kingdom splits…
- But, it is where you want to get to, knowing all of that!
The way I see it, so many people actually get to a promised land, pass by it, say “meh…” – and move on, looking for some sort of a Garden of Eden, which does not exist. So, to conclude: There are many pragmatic lessons to be learned from this epic entrepreneurial and leadership story. I truly believe our heritage has values and lessons that are not only glorious but also super relevant for the state of the world today.