Path to your promised land – 22 days or 40 years?

Most of us are familiar with the story of Moses and how he led the Israelites out of Egypt to the Promised Land.    We know that as the Old Testament story goes, that it took them 40 years. They didn’t exactly go on the most direct route.

What you may not know is that his journey was very much like the journey of an entrepreneur. 

Assisted by technology of today, and if this map is to be believed, Moses would have known that it

was actually only 92 hour walk (give or take with no sleep and no breaks) to make it the 448km between Goshen and the Promised Land.

(Actually, since GoogleMaps can’t calculate from the ancient city of Goshen to Petra, which is now in Jordan, I used Jerusalem as the destination.  But you get the idea. )

Since a normal, healthy person on a road in poor repair can walk about 20km per day, then let’s be generous and say it should take a month (22 days with some extra time for the sick and the elderly).

So what is up with the other 39 years and 11 months?

Today we have the benefit of not only hindsight helping us out, but we have navigation tools.  We can see the journey from the birds eye view, with the starting point and the end point in mind.  We can evaluate different modes of transportation, including walking as shown here.  We can also choose different routes.  What it doesn’t show are the dangers, both physical and of the bandit variety.

I would suggest that strategy for your company is not unlike mapping out the Exodus.


Moses was very clear that he was taking the Israelites out of Egypt and slavery to the Promised Land and freedom.  Now, whether he knew that Petra was the ultimate physical destination or that any place with milk and honey that was safe would do, Moses knew where he was going and he had great confidence in his Chairman of the Board (Jehovah) that set him out on the mission.

Before you start, you must know where you are going and you must know who is sending you (or make sure that you have reviewed where you are going with your board or advisors).  For that you will have to truly know why you are going.  With help on your WHY, watch the Ted Talk of the same name by Simon Sinek.


Now, in your journey, you may not need to part the Red Sea, although I would suggest that to entrepreneurs, raising money may feel just as daunting.

Getting started on the journey requires that you not only know the destination, but that you take the first step and that you have the resources to get to where you are going, or at least to where you can replenish your supplies.

There are many ways to fund a new venture (or an expansion of your business).  You can raise money, you can borrow money, you can do a strategic partnership with someone that has the money or resources that you need or best of all – you can fund it with revenues.

This was not Moses’ first trip into the desert, so he knew that the trip would be hard, but there were many things along the way that he couldn’t have predicted.  You too will have unexpected jaunts in your journey, but if you will plan for those contingencies and ensure that if you do raise money that it is done in milestone based tranches, then as you reach each key point in your journey, you can “replenish” along the way with new funding.


You may not cross a desert on your journey, but for the first few months after you launch your minimum viable product or service, it may seem like that is exactly where you are.

Being prepared with a plan that addresses each challenge and knowing the triggers that signal that one of your anticipated risks is about to happen, is essential.  If you need outside help in doing that detailed plan, it is worth its weight in gold.

Oh, and if you don’t know the details of the Israelites’ journey, it entailed quite a bit of mutiny, so be careful before you part your Red Sea that you put together a team that you can trust.


What you may not know about the end of the journey is that the original generation that left Egypt never actually made it to the Promised Land.  And when they got there, darned if there wasn’t another river that they had to cross.

When they thought they were nearly there, they sent out scouts to make sure.  The reports that came back were not all milk and honey.  Some reported giants and other fearful things.

The moral of the story is that even when you get to your destination, your goal may not look quite as good as your vision of the goal, but press on.  You may even have to march a couple of times around the wall so that it will tumble down and you can take possession of the land.

No one ever said it was easy, but I can guarantee it is worth it.

Do whatever you can to stay focused on your goals and to have a minimum of distractions.   I don’t know about you, but every day I pray for peace and clarity of vision, just for that next step.  And on a larger scale, I pray for wisdom, strategies for the next leg of my journey and above all, God’s favor on everything that I do.

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