Dreaming about your future is fun; there are so many possibilities and opportunities. There comes a time, however, to turn those dreams into a reality. As future entrepreneurs – that time is now.
There are not many things that frustrate me more than someone that has a great idea but no confidence to turn it into a reality. If this sounds like you, here are some ways to ‘take the first step’, ‘make the plunge’ and ‘live the dream’.
First I’d like to ask you to watch this video:
This video sums up my first point:
You Can Do Whatever You Want To Do
If your dream can fit into your head, it can fit into your reality. Never think that it isn’t possible because you didn’t study the ‘right’ thing, or because you’re not already an entrepreneur. Every entrepreneur was once ‘not an entrepreneur’. The moment they became one was the moment they decided to be one. Fashion blogger and founder of Big Bad Wolf, Ricci-Lee Kalish speaks about the myth surrounding entrepreneurship:
Something I always discuss at career days I get to speak at is the fact that we do not need degrees to be successful. We need ambitious people with an original idea. We need to stop following the Westernised ‘norm’ of finishing school, studying at University (falling into massive debt), and not even using your degree in the end.
While this is true, you still have to have the confidence to take the first step. A trap that many people fall into before starting a new business adventure or learning a new skill, is thinking that they have to be ‘ready’ before they start. Obviously you should have done your research but there does come a time for the research to stop and the action to start. If you are truly passionate and determined to turn your dream into a reality then there is no ‘good’ or ‘bad’ time to start; the right time to start is now.
Like anything in life, you’ve got to take the plunge. We can talk about plans, and draw up ideas, and brainstorm business concepts, but if we don’t actually do it, they mean nothing. When we decided to start a theatre company, the first thing we did was make a play. Then you know what you’re in for, what it takes, what you’re trying to do. If we conceptualised what we thought a theatre company was/how it should function before we started doing, we’d probably still be talking.
– Daniel Geddes, theatre-maker and co-founder of Liquid Fusion Productions.
This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t plan at all…
Write It Out
The thing about turning dreams into reality is making your dreams REALISTIC. I know that that sounds like a downer but sometimes achieving your dreams may include fitting in a few extra steps or reconsidering some aspects. Whether you type or write it out, make sure you get your ideas and thoughts out. Instead of letting them bounce around inside your brain the entire day and letting them distract you. You may even find that while you are writing, new ideas will pop into your mind that strengthen your original idea.
In a small section of his book Tools of Titans, Tim Ferriss writes about his personal journaling process. To put it simply;
I’m just caging my monkey mind on paper so I can get on with my day.
What makes writing or typing, instead of thinking or speaking, useful is that you can see it. Seeing your ideas helps you make connections that you may not realise if you are only speaking about it. Writing will also ensure that you don’t forget anything. It doesn’t have to make sense to anyone else, it doesn’t have to be well-written, it doesn’t even have to be English – think key words and pictures – just write it down!
I think a large misconception that many people have about success is that you have to do it all alone. Here’s the thing: you don’t and you never will. Just ask Arnold Schwarzenegger:
Like everyone, to get to where I am, I stood on the shoulders of giants…Whether it’s a morning routine, or a philosophy or training tip, or just motivation to get you through the day, there isn’t a person on this planet who doesn’t benefit from a little outside help. The worst thing you can do is think that you know enough. There will be times when you don’t have the answer, or the drive, and you’re forced to look beyond yourself. You can admit that you can’t do it alone. I certainly can’t. No one can.
If you are stuck, swallow your pride and ask for help. Many people try to do it all alone as an attempt to receive all the glory. A question for those people: do you really think it’s that fun to stand on the top of the podium alone? After 13 years of Irish dancing, I have noticed that the South African Championship winners who stand on the podium always look like they’re itching to get down. As soon as the awards are finished they run down from the top to share this win with everyone who has helped them get there. My point: even in a seemingly individual sport like Irish dancing, there is a team effort. The same goes for any success.
A true mark of success is not the person who does it all alone; it’s the person who isn’t afraid to ask for help.
Be Different, Keep Focused
Geddes advises to:
…decide exactly what it is you want to do/be, and do it. If we want to make professional theatre, it’s no use we start a school for performers. That’s a different game, a different dream. That doesn’t mean you aren’t required to be diverse and flexible in the beginning. We still do a lot of workshops in schools – but we’re very clear about what we are and why we do that.
How can you keep the focus of your company/brand? Write out a list. This list could take the form of short- and long-term goals or possibly even deadlines. If you are someone who slacks and gets distracted, find someone who will check in with you regularly and keep you accountable.
Something that makes focus easier is when you have an authentic edge. Something that lead singer of Boxer, Ari Brest, feels strongly about with regard to the band:
In my opinion an important thing to keep in mind is to be authentic and let your individual personalities spill into the band. This will end up giving the band a personality.
It’s always easy staying motivated at the beginning of a new business adventure. The trick is having that same motivation a few months down the line. Sometimes the reality of our dreams can be tough. We get answers we don’t want, we get stuck and the dream becomes harder to reach than we thought it would. In times when you feel like giving up, you need to remember that these obstacles are part of the journey and make the successes so much more worthwhile.
There’s no chance you as a band will get anywhere if you break up in your 3rd or 4th year. So many bands unfortunately break up early. These things take time.
Let’s take look at Ryan Holiday, author of The Obstacle is the Way. In his book, Holiday bases his ideas around the philosophy of ‘stoicism’. Stoicism is understood as the idea that we don’t control what happens to us but we do control how we respond to what happens to us.
Let’s take criticism as an example. Kalish explains that
as an entrepreneur your brand is like your baby and any criticism feels like a personal attack. IT IS NOT. You have to be able to understand where the criticism is coming from and why it is there.
You can’t control the criticism, but you can control how you deal with it. You can either let it tear you down, or you can let it help you. How the criticism was intended doesn’t matter, the only thing that matters is how you use it.
That leads me to my next point…
Succeed or Learn
If it’s worth it, it won’t be easy. If it were easy, everyone would be doing it, and where would the fun in that be? I’m sure you’ve heard the quote from Thomas Edison: “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that don’t work.”
Geddes echoes this point;
Be prepared to be wrong, both within the business and outside. We all make mistakes. We’ve approached some things in the wrong way, made some rash financial decisions, and had disagreements. Their value is in taking stock afterwards, recognising and growing from there. The only way to avoid bumps is not to drive – but then there’s never going to be a destination.
Again, it matters how you look at it. You haven’t failed; you’ve just learnt something that will help you succeed next time.
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Today my 2cents comes from something Daniel Geddes said;
None of this is new, or anything you haven’t heard before. But decide for yourself if you’re just going to listen to advice and say ‘hey that’s right, I’m inspired’. I’m sorry to say that inspiration is nothing without action.
I’m pretty sure you can find hundreds of articles like this one. Articles that give you tips, tricks, hacks and advice about turning your dream into a reality. The thing is, it doesn’t matter if you read all the articles, go to all the entrepreneurial workshops or find a thousand ways to get inspired. It matters that you actually do it.
So don’t be inspired, do inspired.