You only get one chance to start. True or false? I’ll be an economist for a minute and argue both sides.

Situations where it’s true…

  • the first 30 days you’re married
  • your first quarter or semester in college
  • your first 90 days in a new job
  • when you move into a new school, apartment or neighborhood
  • when you have a new baby
  • when you start a venture

There’s high consequence here. We form habits quickly … some say in three weeks or less. Life habits we form early in marriage, study habits we form as freshmen, first impressions we make in a new job or neighborhood … well … it’s huge. I read once that people decide about us in the first 20 seconds of face-to-face contact, and a negative first impression requires 9 hours of interaction to reframe positively. And most people who start something have a limited amount of money, so getting it right at the start may mean survival.

On the other hand, …

  • People (at least some people) are forgiving and will give you another shot.
  • Some people are forgetful and won’t remember you, so every time you meet them you get a ‘do-over’. (This could be something you might think about … or not.)
  • You may blow this job, but unless you steal something or hit someone, you can probably find another one.
  • You can start another business if this one doesn’t work. Most successful entrepreneurs have at least one failure in their past. Some have several.
  • People start over with second, third and fourth marriages. Most wish they’d made the first one work.

Starting deserves our best efforts and our focused attention. Things don’t happen until we start. You can’t steer a parked car … there has to be movement.

In the start-up businesses I’ve been involved in, almost none ended up doing what was planned at the start. Almost all changed the product, market, pricing, or distribution strategy. A colleague in one of my businesses said, “We made a thousand course corrections.” In another one, someone said “We overhauled the car while it was going down the highway at 90 miles per hour.”

But you have to start.

God shows up when you start.

I believe God’s blessing waits on the other side of surrender. The quicker you cast off the lines and sail out of port, the sooner you’ll start to see His hand. When you make your plans, do your best preparation, get the right people on the bus with you and get started, God shows up if you’ve surrendered the whole deal to Him. “Win, lose or draw, God. I’m giving it my best shot and trusting you for the outcome!” His “showing up” doesn’t guarantee success, but it does guarantee you won’t be alone.

W.H. Murray, in The Scottish Himalayan Expedition wrote …

“Concerning all acts of initiative (and creation), there is one elementary truth, the ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: that the moment one definitely commits oneself, then providence moves too. All sorts of things occur to help one that would not otherwise have occurred. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one’s favour all manner of unforeseen incidents and meetings and material assistance which no man would have dreamed would have come his way.”

And to those who are waiting to start, here’s the only poem I can quote by heart …

“On the Plains of Hesitation bleach the bones of countless millions who, at the Door of victory, sat down to wait, and waiting—died!”


Think and Pray

What have you been thinking about starting but haven’t? Is now your one chance to start?

God, I want to honor You with my obedience and surrender. Help me to take the initiative in the direction You’ve made clear to me. And in matters where I’m seeking clarity and confirmation, let me not be stagnant and inactive, but rather diligent to serve right where You have me. Not my will but Yours. Amen.


Regi Campbell is an experienced investor and entrepreneur by trade. But his real passion is mentoring younger men. In 2007, Regi founded Radical Mentoring to help encourage and equip mentors and churches to launch mentoring groups. He has written four books: About My Father’s Business, Mentor Like Jesus, What Radical Husbands Do, and Radical Wisdom. Regi currently lives in Atlanta, GA with his wife of 47 years, Miriam.