Recently I was reading some material for entrepreneurs which made some great points I find useful for anyone who has a dream. When you think about it, if you have a dream, you probably feel like you are the salmon swimming upstream, against the current. Endlessly carrying your weight uphill. While others glide, go with the flow. It’s not fair.
On the other hand:
it helps to remember that we live in a Universe where the law of entropy is at play: anything worth doing is about making something out of what isn’t already, because if it was there already…you’d move on to something else.
It might feel frustrating sometimes to keep pushing the load uphill, and feel like it rolls back every now and then. Don’t let yourself believe you’re the lone struggler while everyone else has a silver spoon. Even though that is a tempting idea sometimes. Especially if you are an entrepreneur, intrapreneur, ideapreneur or any other kind of person that spots gaps and needs and sets about to make your life or the world a better place. In short, you are a leader.
Here’s the great advice I wanted to share with you:
1. Great things always take longer than you hope. And I might add, go out of budget. It helps reduce frustration and despair to think ‘ah, here is the glitch in the plan that was going to happen sometime, how do I get through this’. Assume you will get through, or that the glitch will help you modify the plan to make the plan more successful. That’s resilience.
2. An inspiring vision fuels you. If your vision is clear, if you’ve taken the time to really ‘feel’ it, it will help you through. Spend time dwelling on the ‘what’: the impact of what you are trying to do will have. Not the cost. It’s like having children: no-one is really dying to experience birth pangs, or twenty diaper changes a day. They’re looking ahead to the rest that makes it all worth it. If you’re not there yet, take time to get there. Or get a different vision. The process of clarifying your vision will help you avoid time-wasting side-trails as well.
3. Go for progress, not perfection. As a fitness trainer and life coach, I’ve met so many people who had the outdated idea firmly planted in their heads that they had to either ‘go big or go home’, or else be better than everyone else at something (think ‘good to great’ ). Throw that out.
I’ve learned in organizational management, and in coaching people that the very best projects take multi-person, multi-stakeholder input. That will always mean that the end result doesn’t look exactly like you envisioned it at 3am when you couldn’t sleep. It will be better, because it will be do-able and sustainable.
Take the time it takes to slowly craft your dream into reality.
Besides, it really isn’t the goal. It’s the journey. Ever notice how much more amazing a shower feels after you sweat through a workout? How much more satisfying it is to look at a mountain summit photo that you took from the summit, than a much more beautiful professional shot? Most people I know love the professional shot better when it represents the hikes they’ve actually done themselves. A lot of life is about becoming through doing. You are, and you become, what you do.
Don’t buy the instant culture we live in. It’s like de-cluttering your garage or work desk, or finally getting back in shape: you aren’t going to do it in a day or a week. However, if you tackle a bit at a time consistently, keep moving the project forward and resolve to never give up, you’ll do amazing things. The score will be 10 You, 0 Entropy.
(c) Heather Sansom is a coach and management professional, writer and speaker. She is also doing doctoral research on resilience through nature based physical activity and experiential learning. In her spare time she leads outdoor excursions. www.heathersansom.ca