When I was a kid, the scariest place at the pool was the edge of the highest diving board.
No matter how many times you dove or jumped off of it, looking down at the obvious peril (concrete, the pool surface itself) made every time frightening . . . which is part of the reason you climb all the way up and walk all the way out. Part of the reason you stay out is that everyone can see you.
Now, I am standing at the edge of a very high diving board. The drop is enormous, everyone is watching, and I cannot possibly climb back down.
I know we have to jump. I know we’re going to jump. I know it may hurt when I hit the water.
There are strange machinations going on behind the scenes of my deal. The head of the target is starting to climb back down. He’s raising ridiculous objections through his corporate counsel — objections we resolved last Friday. Part of it is emotional — he is afraid to part with his company, which is perfectly understandable. Part of it may be embarrassment — his company is not as healthy as when we agreed on a price.
The bottom line: we may shift our strategy a bit, but it’s all still happening and it’s all still happening exactly as it is supposed to happen. The shift in strategy would be a better deal for us. If he decides he does not want to sell, we are fine with that. He does not comprehend that we will end up acquiring him now or in a couple of years when he’s completely weakened. We’re comfortable either way.
The past few days have been fascinating. Being out of town was an absolute whirlwind of cosmopolitan excitement. Everywhere we went, we were treated as rock stars. We were driven around in ridiculous cars and (with one hilarious exception) the chefs and owners served course after course of impeccable food. Then I came home, exhausted, and reality hit me hard.
I am simultaneously negotiating this deal and wondering how to pay any of my bills. I am looking at a new condo downtown (2.5x the size of this one, which is not small) while I am incapable of buying my own groceries. It is all so odd and jarring.
I stand here, look down, feel the wind, see the eyes of everyone on me, and I know I am going to dive in. I am afraid of how much will change forever. I have been rebuilding myself to be the person I need to be to smooth the transition. My body is back. My confidence is in full effect. I have been training for this moment for years and I am ready to make it all look effortless.
But . . . I am scared. The stakes are huge. Everyone is watching. It may hurt.