If I asked you what you were working toward, could you tell me? A recent conversation startled me. A very bright and well educated man I was coaching told me of his dream to start a non-profit to help stamp out illiteracy. He had a true heart for those who were held back because they could not read. But, his short term goal was to move up in his company. Sensing that I was not hearing him right, I asked why he had two opposing career goals. Both would take energy and commitment. In reality, he could not do both. He told me, “I work my day job to fund my dream.”
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Question the Dream
His statement led me into some obvious questions:
- How much money do you need to start?
He did not know.
- Are you serving this group now on a volunteer basis?
He wished he could more, but his job is too busy.
- Why don’t you start now?
All people who run non-profits seem to be broke themselves. He did not want to go broke.
- Why does the business have to be a non-profit?
The people I am serving cannot pay, so I have to get others to pay.
- Have you talked to anyone who runs a successful business serving these people?
I will deal with the non-profit issue in more detail later. (Seems to be an epidemic of people wanting to start non-profits.)
I think this man is pretty typical. He has a dream, but really he is wandering aimlessly listening to friends and society about how he should serve and what he should do. He is not doing the one thing he alone can do – think.
But I am not making fun of him. By no means. You try it. Next time someone tells you what they want to become, ask them some obvious questions to see if they are on the path, or just “dreaming”.
Rather than Wondering Aimlessly
What if someone asked you these questions?
- Do you know what your dream is? Can you describe your future? In detail? If not, work on getting clarity.
- What are your obstacles in terms of money? Get clear how much you need and the reality of those needs. The average startup cost of a new business is less than $10,000. Here are five ways to start for less than $1000.
- What does it really take? Have you reached out and found people living your dream and found out from them how they got there? If you struggle with networking, check out Networking for Introverts
- Seek out those who will encourage you, not squash your dreams. Find someone who will help you think through how to get started and grow into your dream instead of waiting. Avoid the one-way-to-success people.
- Figure out how to get started TODAY and get momentum. Do something. If you think you are in the top 10%. If you act you become the top 1%.
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