There will always be barriers — at least when it comes to accomplishing anything of significance. The challenges of life bring with them important opportunities to grow, to become better, and ultimately allow us to be the type of person capable of being a good steward of whatever rewards we happen to be entrusted with.
The fact that things take effort is a good thing. Sure, we say we want things to be easy, but would we truly value them as much as if we had to work for them — stretch ourselves, and grow to become the type of person that was ultimately capable of acquiring whatever it was we obtained? Of course not. If we are really honest with ourselves it’s the challenge that makes the “success” worth the blood sweat and tears it can take to see things through. I love the quote from Jim Rohn who says, “Don’t wish it were easier. Wish you were better.”
Sometimes you have to shift your paradigm a bit…
Often I will get asked, “how do I begin a business when I don’t have the money to get started?”
On the surface it’s a legitimate question. The challenge, dare I say, wrong thinking, comes in when we realize that the question itself assumes that to start a business — it has to require money to begin with. I understand why I get this question a lot. We’re conditioned at almost every turn to believe that there’s a high barrier of entry to be in business for ourselves, or that taking an idea, and breathing life into it, has to involve much more than adding the magic ingredient of action. “Play it safe”, people tell us. “Your idea might fail, and then what will you have to show for your effort?” they say.
Sure, things may not exactly go as we’d like them to, every time, but so what. In the grand scale of things, trying an idea that doesn’t work out isn’t the end all. In fact, once upon a time before the conditioning we see all too often became the norm — people used to be far less scared to give things a try. They realized that giving something a try was far less scary than not doing so, and always wondering what might have been.
Friend, make the commitment that you’ll join the ranks of those who err on the side of giving your ideas a go. At least take the time to explore them beyond the point of a fleeting glimpse. That’s not to say that you will necessarily try every single one, but remaining open to the possibility will ensure that you don’t find yourself wondering what might have been.
Let’s take a few practical examples that I hope will help to illustrate what I’m suggesting above:
1. How can I start a business when I don’t have any extra money to do so? As I said, legitimate question, but it assumes that all businesses require money to start (they do not) and that beyond that, that you can’t begin a new business venture, or idea on the side, growing it, while working another job which brings in the necessary money to fund your new venture.
See, it’s a different way of seeing things. What we’ve been conditioned, the idea that something has to be all or nothing is just plain wrong. There are countless examples one can find where the two suggestions above were implemented successfully. Also, it doesn’t take much research at all to find some very impressive businesses that began initially as a side project, or part-time. If you have the resources in place to dedicate to your “great idea” terrific, by all means go for it, the point is, if you don’t, there’s no excuse not to adapt, and get started. Sure, you may need to be more creative, to find your work around for getting started, but you’ll be in good company with the countless others who had to do the same.
2. Another thing to keep in mind, is to look into businesses that are service based. That is, you perform a service (using a skill you know) and are paid for doing so. Many of those don’t require much more than your knowledge and ability to perform whatever is required to do the job. Find a need and fill it. That’s the name of the game. Plus, the opportunity to do so are all over the place!
3. You could also look to connect with existing business owners. Just have a discussion with them about your aligning with them, and see if the possibility exists for you to be a benefit to their existing company. Sometimes a discussion like this with an existing business owner can open up all sorts of new opportunities. I know of fella’ who had such a conversation with a business owner he knew — during the conversation it came out that the person was looking to take more time off. But as is the case with many entrepreneurs he didn’t see this as a possibility because he had positioned himself pretty much as the only person capable of doing the all important “business building” side of things. In short, if he wasn’t active in the company day to day, the business was likely to dry up. The solution was found when the person I knew and the original business owner agreed that they would form a partnership of sorts. The original owner gave a small equity stake in the existing company, with an opportunity to earn more overtime as the partnership proved to be a win, for all involved. I’m not saying this specific solution will work for everyone reading this. My point is that creative thinking, and open conversations can go a long way. In short, instead of assuming something can’t work-out, start asking yourself how they can. It’s a mindset shift that can be a real difference maker in the quality of life you lead.
While the examples above are geared towards starting, or running a business, the same holds true no matter what your dream or idea is.
Don’t get caught over-planning…
While I believe planning is important, I have seen it happen enough where people got caught up in the planning phase to the point where they never made any real progress on what they wanted to see come to fruition in their lives.
For that reason I’m big on action — I like to say, “all else fails without first action” — it sounds a little a rah-rah, sure, but there’s truth in it.
So, be a person that strives to bridge the time gap between how long it takes to initially think of an idea or pursuit, and actually get on with starting it. If you can do that you’ll see a lot more of your “great ideas” taking root.
Here’s my suggestion for doing that:
1. Write down your idea. Write a vision for what its completion would look like (This doesn’t have to be some big long essay).
2. Who are 3 people that you can reach out to and ask questions / advice from who have had actual real life experience with what you’re asking about, and can give you help. In other words, if you want to become a world renowned brain surgeon, don’t ask your aunt or uncle who never went to medical school.
It doesn’t mean they aren’t wise beyond their years, it just means they don’t have direct expertise that applies to what you are wanting to do. In simpler terms, if you wanted to develop a wonderful family life, you would likely serve yourself well to reach out and tap the advice of those who have figured out how to experience what you most aspire to do.
If you can’t think of an actual person you know that fits the bill in the point above, then resources like books, etc. are fine too. The point is, learn from people who have the experience necessary to point you in the best direction. Also, it doesn’t have to be 3 people, fewer could be fine, more could as well, I didn’t go over 3 because I didn’t want you to get stuck in the “never ending” research phase that I mentioned before.
3. Identify at least one thing you can do each day that will move you closer towards what you want to accomplish. It is important to differentiate between tasks that may very well be necessary steps, and those tasks which when done, will give you the biggest impact in moving you closer to the place you want to be. For example, if your plan involves becoming an author, while a worthy task might be to join an online forum, or some group where other authors & writers share ideas, a far more impactful task would be to actually write, something, every single day. That’s an elementary example I admit, but it’s important to grasp. It’s very easy to get caught in administrative tasks, which don’t really move the needle in a big way towards the dreams and objectives we have.
In summary, always be asking, what’s the one thing I can do today that will get me closer to what I want to achieve. Write it down… and do it!
It’s Your Life, LIVE BIG!
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