By Tina Dietz
January 1st, 2014 Edition
Ideas die in a moment. Possibility has a short shelf life. Dreams are fleeting. In our language of entrepreneurial longing, the language of “maybe, someday…” is pretty firmly established that we as human beings have some difficulty going from something being a good idea to being reality. And, in an unfortunate paradox, the more something becomes “work” that once started out as a dream the less it seems like a good idea. Suddenly, time and expense and effort are too big a cost to continue bringing that once cherished dream into reality and our current comfort is more important. If this were NOT the case, consider how many more successful ventures we would have in the world today.
So how DO you keep a dream alive?
How do you slog through the day to day breakdowns and make it happen?
It’s all a matter of building your capacity. I remember when I was in college about (ahem) years ago, and I felt so BUSY. I had my classes and all this homework and a boyfriend and laundry and dishes and….
…now, it’s laughable. I accomplish more in a day, most days, than I did in a week when I was in college. Did I suddenly become a different person? No. Over time, experience, and NECESSITY, I expanded my capacity for getting things done and for what I can manage in a day. However, if I hadn’t needed to expand that capacity, I would likely have stayed at the same “level” of functioning. We all know people like this, people who always seem frantic but never really seem like they have anything going on in their lives. It’s like the old saying goes, “necessity is the mother of invention.”
Coming back around to our dreams, the disconnect between dreaming and reality most of the time is that we don’t view our dreams becoming reality as NECESSARY. They’re simply a good idea, a nice option. And, this is why when you meet or read about someone who is pursuing full throttle their dreams it almost seems like they’re a little nuts-it is simply not an option for them to not fulfill that dream they have, and that drive, that need aligns every action that they take with bringing that dream into reality.
So what if you’re not one of “those people” who live on the edge and have that drive? Can you still keep a dream alive? Yes. Now I’ll give you 2 “rubber hits the road” ways to build your capacity to keep your dreams alive.
Develop a Mob Mentality
Let’s consider mobs. Flash mobs, riots, gangs, marches, movements, protests, etc. What do all these things have in common? They have a shared agreement that everyone in that group is either “for” or “against” the same thing. Agreement is an incredibly powerful tool, and when you’re starting something new…you don’t have it. If you’re a day laborer, there’s no agreement that you’re a millionaire. If you’re 3 person web design company, there’s no agreement that fortune 500 companies want you to build their websites. So what do you do to build agreement for a new dream? You share it. You share it with everyone. Not everyone will agree with you, but it’s simply a numbers game—a volume of sharing—before agreement starts to take hold. And along the way, you’ll find resources, you’ll find people who want to work with you, you’ll find out things you needed to know that you didn’t even know that you needed to know, and you’ll find Devil’s Advocates. The latter is the best part. Why? Because those devil’s advocates give you two CRUCIAL things: 1. they’ll give you practice in dealing with objections and naysayers. Building your capacity to stand fast in the face of adversity is necessary to allow you to get through the inevitable breakdowns that happen in life. 2. Through these DA’s, you’ll often become aware of gaps or “what’s missing” in your dreams and plans—and finding out “what’s missing” is often (ok, pretty much always) the difference between success and failure.
If you were to have an advertising agency create a campaign for your dream (not the business, but the whole dream you have for your life), what would it be like? What images would they use? What kinds of words? YOU are the number one customer of your own dream, and it’s time to start advertising to yourself. Now you can call this “keeping something in existence,” or “displays” or “structures” or whatever you like, but the processes are the same. You need to make your dreams part of your everyday life and part of the fabric of your home, your family, who you are. Your dream needs to be a brand you can’t escape. Surround yourself with what inspires you, create daily practices for taking actions in line with your dreams, reach out to people who inspire you, write notes, display pictures, listen to music, join groups, put post it notes on your fridge-but keep advertising to yourself and it will spill over into the world too.
So, do your Facebook “friends” and Twitter “followers” and LinkedIn “contacts” know what you’re up to? How about your family, the people you go to the gym with, your kids’ teachers?
Yep, it’s vulnerable. It might be uncomfortable. So what? Are you more interested in having a life you love, or will you let a worry over looking “bad” keep you from fulfilling your vision?