Startup life isn’t easy. Honestly though, it’s easier than the courage it takes to quit a perfectly good corporate job where you’re working with terrific people and making great money. Comfort is the next killer app (future post). It’s far less scary than the demons of fear and doubt.

Don Cash was one of my first Angels. EPIC SHIT was his motto. He stood on the top of Everest in May this year but was unable to make it down. Our Graphite Angel and friend’s last resting spot is on the top of the world like he lived! EPIC! What startup do you know who literally has an angel watching down on the project from the top of Everest? Forever? We have a huge legacy to live up to!

He regularly repeated the quote, “If your goals don’t scare you, they aren’t big enough.” At his funeral service, his family suggested that “in lieu of flowers, do something that scares you.” EPIC

One of Don’s goals was to join the 7 summit’s club, climbing the highest peak on the 7 continents; Everest was his last. Less than 500 people have achieved this EPIC accomplishment.

Don is one of many people who DEEPLY believed in me and my idea and strongly encouraged me to make the jump. But he didn’t just say do it. He said, lets do it together. How can I help you. He invested money, time and advice, and was to return and join the team. His EPIC encouragement and support was fundamental to me having the courage to ‘go for it.’

Today Don’s son dropped by our HQ and brought me the Graphite flag that Don had signed on Everest. Wow! Not going to lie. I’m pretty choked up. I’ve always been fascinated with Everest so when Don invited all friends and family to join him on his trek to base camp…it killed me to have to stay home and work. Our new business, Graphite was just taking flight so the timing was terrible. As I discussed this with Don, he simply said, “this new business is your EPIC goal. GO FOR IT!”

As I learned at his funeral, I’m only one of MANY people he inspired to be their best and to set aside fears and excuses to do something truly amazing. You truly can’t create a legacy or honor the privilege of being-alive sitting around in fear of failure, suffering or hard work. What an amazing legacy he leaves.

Not only did he tackle and achieve his own EPIC goals, but he helped others do the same. Help, encouragement, support, coaching, belief, and generally lifting others to achieve their goals may be the most EPIC goal of all. Look on the flag in the bottom of the Graphite logo. I love how he acknowledged the strength and commitment of the sherpas who would help, lift, and make his EPIC achievement possible. If my own life legacy could be that of a sherpa (lifting and supporting others), I would die a happy and successful man. In his own way, Don was truly a sherpa to me and many others.

My current EPIC goal and mountain is clear. Yes, it can be scary. But, it’s amazing the clarity it gives my life. While my path is somewhat unknown, the summit is crystal clear, and just like Don, my team and I will stand on the summit. With that clarity comes an amazing power. Energy and resources are laser focused. I’m more alive now than I’ve been in decades (and I always thought I was alive).

What’s your EPIC goal? Stop making excuses and GO FOR IT!

Thanks Don. RIP