A few weeks ago I came across a video of Steve Harvey being interviewed by Oprah. I’m not a big Steve Harvey fan, but it was the type of video that was making it’s way around the internet, so I stopped and watched. As Steve was speaking, I sort of had an a-ha moment. You know the type… when suddenly everything that you had been thinking, dreaming, feeling suddenly made sense. What did he say?
“Stop telling your big dreams to small minded people.”
As I sat and thought about that one sentence, I realized that most of what holds people back isn’t the lack of funds or the lack of time… it’s the lack of support. The lack of belief from your family and social circle. How many times have we shared what our hopes and dreams were just to be crushed by, “You don’t have the money for that.” “You don’t have the time to do that.” “Why don’t you try this instead?” “There is too much competition.”
It took some pretty crazy people with some pretty crazy ideas to completely change the world we live in. Hello… Steve Jobs anyone?
I’ve seen it firsthand… quite a lot lately. People with big ideas doing nothing more than staying in their little bubble because people didn’t believe in them. It’s pretty hard to believe in yourself when nobody else does.
We tend to settle for the safe and easy. Of course, because it’s safe and easy. The scary and difficult means that we actually have to stand up to the critics, buck the system, and step out of our comfort zone. But it also means that the rewards on the other end are phenomenal. Nobody ever became successful because they sat at home all day, doing nothing, and magically was handed a great opportunity on a silver platter. Every day, I see these people doing the same thing day in and day out while expecting a different outcome. Nope. Not going to happen.
You want to live your dreams? Change your path.
There is something to be said for surrounding yourself with like-minded people. The problem comes from exactly what type of like-minded are you going for? We can hang out with family and friends who are content with their middle class life, but chances are that isn’t going to drive us forward. Let’s say you have a big dream of inventing a new product. You have the idea, but you aren’t sure how to make it happen. Telling your plans to your circle probably isn’t going to get that new product made. You’ll end up being frustrated that nothing is happening, you still don’t know how to accomplish your goal, and people will think you are out of your league. But that dream persists.
What if you joined an inventors group on Facebook? What if you sought out inventors, who have actually patented a product, created a mock-up, and are successful living their dream? How about developing a relationship with them where you can get to know them and share conversations about all those big ideas. How did they proceed? What steps did they take to get where they are?
I had a friend who wanted to be a realtor. She had some other friends who were already licensed realtors and she became good friends with them. She learned the business by listening to their conversations, chatting with them about education and property values and what kinds of traits make a good realtor. She ended up getting her real estate license and working with one of those friends. Had she not sought out realtors and become part of their circle, she would probably have never started a new career.
Enough with the Excuses!
I used to use all the excuses too. I have no money. I have no time. The kids need me. There is too much to do around the house. I have no skills. It’s a vicious cycle and in some cases, those excuses are very valid, especially when you are hearing them from other people. BUT… they are excuses, ones that can absolutely be circumvented IF you really want to.
My biggest issue to starting a business has always been the fact that I didn’t have time and I didn’t have money. We all know that it takes money to make money. Don’t tell me it doesn’t… it does. But… it might not take as much as you think, and there are certainly ways to be primed to move forward so that when you do have a little money, you can jump on the opportunity immediately.
I always knew I wanted my own business. A business with a staff, and an office, and lots of happy clients. I wanted to be successful… just wasn’t sure how I was going to get there. For years, I either kept that dream hidden, or told those “small minded” people what I wanted to do. I had little to no support. Remember… all those “excuses” kept popping up.
I started a blog many years ago because I thought it would be something fun to keep me busy when I had 3 little kids at home. I had no money so I started a free Blogger blog. A domain at the time was probably around $5 but the thought of actually having my own domain kind of freaked me out. I wasn’t that technical and had no idea what I would even do with it. I blogged for about a year before I realized that I needed to go further. Bloggers were becoming a big thing and I was already primed to take the next step. I sprung for that domain and I joined some blog groups that were starting to help bloggers get paid for writing. I had a very limited number of followers, but my little blog was growing steadily and I was actually chosen for some campaigns that paid me to write a blog post about them. I made a few bucks. Very few. But… it was enough for me to find a blog designer and actually have a professional looking blog designed. Baby steps.
One Step at a Time… Just DO IT!
Once I had a great looking blog, my numbers started to grow. I found Facebook and Twitter and StumbleUpon and started to promote myself. More and more opportunities started to come my way. I studied blogging like you would study math or history. As I applied to join more blog networks, I had the chance to work on more sponsored posts. Each time I made money, I would earmark it for a blog conference or seminar. I went. And I learned.
So, what’s the moral of the story? It’s the fact that I didn’t stop. I kept growing and dreaming. I surrounded myself with people who were ahead of me professionally so I could learn from them. I started changing the people I followed on social media. I love my blogger friends, but I started following more social media blogs, websites and joined dedicated social media groups. I took it upon myself to learn everything I could and in the end, I altered the path I was on. I took my time, took one step at a time, and moved to the place I pictured in my dreams.
I’m not all the way there yet. Far from it. But I’m closer than I was a year ago.
Don’t Underestimate the Need for a Mentor
It doesn’t matter what rung on the ladder you are currently on, you are never too smart to need a mentor. One thing I’ve learned from my own journey is that we can’t possibly know everything. I’ve been so fortunate to have been able to learn from some really amazing people… mostly women, who have opened up their minds and hearts to me. You’ll never know the answer if you don’t ask the question. Of course, there will always be people who keep their secrets close to the vest, but most of the people I’ve met have been very generous in sharing what they know, how they got where they are, and what mistakes they made along the way. Believe it or not, I haven’t come across one person who hasn’t made some huge mistake in business… and learned from it. Mistakes make us stronger… and they also teach us that maybe we need to change our direction. If something isn’t working… do something different! It’s okay to change your direction or your focus. Don’t let anyone tell you it’s not. Many of the most successful people I know were doing something different just months ago. Lives are ever-evolving, we need to not beat ourselves up if something isn’t working.
If you are still sitting on that big dream and can’t shake it out of your head, find one person who can be your cheerleader. It only takes one person to listen and spark and idea… or a direction… or a contact… that can help you take that first step.
It’s not WHAT you know, it’s WHO you know!
Of course you have to be knowledgeable, but it’s pretty easy to learn the things you don’t know yet. What isn’t so easy is making those contacts that can truly help move you forward. Usually, we know more people who can help us than we think we know. Today, more than ever, we have the world at our fingertips. Theoretically, we have access to everyone on the planet via the internet. We just need to put ourselves out there. Start a LinkedIn profile and join groups targeted to the area you are interested in. There are thousands upon thousands of Facebook groups who do nothing but talk shop on a daily basis. Jump right in… ask questions. Make friends. Go to local meetings. STEP OUT OF YOUR COMFORT ZONE! You need to meet people who do what you want to do and can help you get there as well.
Inspired yet? I am moving in the direction of my dreams… I want you to do the same. It will change your life. Really!
If you are struggling with where to start or are scared to put that first foot forward, feel free to shoot me an email. Let me be your cheerleader.