Nothing pumps me up more than hearing about someone else’s success. And when I know the person? Well, I literally get goose bumps. I’d no sooner arrived home from last weekend’s Work at What You Love workshop in Ventura, California when I already received our first “success story.” By the next morning there were three more.
You can make it a whole lot more complicated, but I think going from dreaming to doing takes three simple things. I could just tell you what they are but that would be too easy. Like most powerful lessons it’s best if you learn them for yourself. So as you read the following success stories see if you can pick them out:
Steve Robinson is the author of a self-published book called “Why Stevie Can’t Date.” (ChangingCourse.com/bookstore.htm) In a word, it’s hilarious. On day one, participants who had already taken steps to start their business were asked to stand up. Since after all a published book is an income stream, a reluctant Steve was encouraged to rise and shine.
On that same afternoon, two Los Angeles area friends dropped in for a visit. One was a childhood friend named Susan Merzbach. Susan is former VP for a major Hollywood studio with production credits on such films as Ransom and When a Man Loves a Woman. She currently has a great gig working as a script consultant for Twentieth Century Fox. Susan thought Steve’s book was so funny that at the Friday afternoon Group Think! session she not only encouraged him to write a screen play but outlined some specific tips to get started as well.
I’ll let Steve take it from here:
“I just wanted to let you know that, much to my surprise, I’ve already secured the domain name www.WhyStevieCantDate.com. This was in great part inspired – and necessitated – by the fact that when we spoke on the phone last night, my girlfriend Marsha Lenox (the I-want-to-live-in-Paris-and-work-with-refugees-gal, who introduced me to you by inviting me to be her Bring-a-Friend-and-Save partner) had already secured her own domain name for an idea she’d told me about only yesterday over a drink on the pier after the seminar.
I was thrilled for her grabbing the horns so quickly, and shortly after, I took my own first baby step! And for me, all the more yippee/hooray because I am literally (a word I don’t toss around lightly) a card-carrying member of the Procrastinators Club of America, which I joined about thirteen years after hearing about it.
And it’s only Sunday morning!?!?
I was hoping to gain specific information – and courage – on how to start a business (roughly, historic tours of remote Nevada pioneer/mining areas). What happened was that I realized – as Valerie (and previously, Marsha) insisted when you made me stand up in an early exercise – that I already have [a business]. I’m just running it poorly (if at all).
Despite the fact that I made a living for 24-plus years in a (pardon me) j-o-b doing technically writing, I haven’t really taken myself seriously as a writer. And that was perhaps the most beneficial part of the workshop, with a ton of subsets, not the least of which was meeting and getting specific encouragement from Susan Merzbach.
Also, I was (most happily) laid off in December, but my time since might have been better spent (um, research?), and Valerie’s warning about using the time wisely was a needed wake-up call. In awakening me to the fact that I am a professional writer, the workshop exceeded my expectations (though I’m certainly not abandoning my Nevada-tour idea).
I would definitely recommend the workshop to friends. I’d describe it as liberation of one’s mind to recognize and accept possibilities. I didn’t meet everyone, but I really enjoyed everyone I did, and [Marsha and I] already have plans to see [several participants] this Friday at a spoken-word performance a friend of ours is doing.”
Great story huh? Did you pick out the key things Steve did to move his dream along? If not, read on.
Michelle Hill’s goal for the workshop was to gain, “Inspiration to motivate myself to propel forward in bit-size steps into my perfect vocational world.” Michelle had already put herself on the entrepreneurial track when with her first business, Michelle’s Cookie Kitchen (MichellesCookieKitchen.com). Her latest vision is to launch Willie’s Spicy Nuts. “Although it was tough going back to my j-o-b today,” she says, “I took several steps to propel myself forward toward my goals.”
Here’s a short list of what Michelle accomplished in the two days following the seminar:
- Listened to your “10 Steps” CD 3 times already and plan to once a day
- Read Barbara Winter’s “Make it an Adventure”
- Emailed 20 nut processors all over the country to see who can do high-volume processing of my Willie Spiced Pistachios
- Called one processor today that is willing to do business with the “little” gal
- Emailed another workshop member and we agreed to encourage, motivate, and keep each other accountable to attain our goals
- Found out that I can work 20 hours a week at work and still retain my health benefits
- Ordered a few of the books mentioned at the workshop on Amazon.com
- Saved the domain name www.WillieSpicyNuts.com
Michelle is positively driven. “Everything in me wants to be a success story.” Adding, “I can taste it. I know it can happen and I know it WILL happen. I will continue taking steps everyday to move closer to my desired goals.”
Clearly a fan of the multiple income stream approach, Michelle says that her new nut business is only one of her “spinning plates.” In addition, she says, “I am completing my final assignment from the course, Institute of Children’s Literature, and just mailed my first query today. I also have the 6-Figure Copyrighting course and am going to re-visit that when I calm down and catch my breath.”
Wow, I’m out of breath too! Okay so did you get all three? More perhaps? Add them to your list; then keep reading.
Soon to be former teacher Kerrie Bigham from Fife, Washington also arrived at the workshop with a clearly defined dream. A big benefit of being there she says was, “meeting like-minded people who don’t think I’ve lost my mind entirely for leaving the security of a classroom teaching job to start a business as a reading coach.”
By the way, Kerrie came home to the kind of serendipity that so often happens once you get the ball rolling. “While processing my resignation papers, of all things, the assistant to the HR Director e-mailed me to find out if I’m available this summer to coach his 10th grade son in reading and language arts. It looks like I have my first client already! Isn’t life strange and delicious? :-)”
Did you pick up any more tips?
The way I see it, making the shift from dreaming to actually doing takes three things:
1) Accurate Information
I can’t stress how much the role of “accurate” information plays in achieving your dream. When everyone around us is telling that most small businesses fail, or it’s impossible to get health insurance, or you can’t make money as an artist or a writer or a spiced nut purveyor – accurate information is an instant fear reducer. Like the plate spinning Michelle, the big informational aha that freed me from job jail was the liberating notion of multiple income streams. Realizing I didn’t have to replace my entire income with one big passion made the entire process of changing course infinitely more doable and less fear-filled.
Imagine, for example, how many more of people would get off the dime if they knew, for example, that for as little as $1.99 you can do what Stevie and Michelle did and use a service like GoDaddy.com to just “park” a URL?
How many more people would launch a specialty food like Michelle is doing, if instead of a bunch of doomsday predictions, someone would say to them, “Hey did you know that a former social worker named Stacey Madison co-founded Stacy’s Pita Chip Company – a business she and her business partner launched from a sandwich cart in downtown Boston – that went on to be a $60-million-a-year business employing 100 people that was recently bought by PepsiCo, Inc.?” Now that’s the kind of information aspiring entrepreneurs need to hear!
Some of the benefits of information are less tangible but nonetheless important. For example, “Learning that there are plenty of resources and, most importantly, limitless opportunities for being creative in business…” wrote Frederik Sisa was, “a confidence booster and eye-opener about creating passion and purpose in one’s life.” There’s nothing like a shot of confidence to push a dream along. But confidence can wane. Which is why every dreamer also needs this next ingredient.
2) Inspiration to Get Going
Lucinda wrote, “Thanks for an inspiring and unforgettable weekend! There aren’t very many weekends where I can say on Sunday evening that I have experienced a shift in consciousness, but this was definitely one of those weekends!”
Never underestimate the power of a mental shift. Lucinda wrote to say that she’s “already gotten the ‘hook’ I needed for a product I have been contemplating for the past four years, came up with three interim income streams that I can grow while still working at the j-o-b, and I filled four pages of my idea book with lots of ideas.”
3) Support to Keep Going
There’s nothing like being in a room full of enthusiastic dreamers on a mission to jump start your dream. You’ll also note that in most of the people you just met talked about the significance of just meeting and connecting with like minded souls. And Steve and Michelle, and no doubt many more, have already taken steps to continue to get and give support.
In fact, Lucinda is so jazzed that she’s already created a flyer announcing the first meeting of a “Dreamcubator” group of fellow dreamers who are ready to take some steps towards making their dreams reality. If you happen to live in the area, the group is planning to meet Wednesday, July 19, at Latte 101, 5722 Telephone Road, Ventura. For details email Lucinda at [email protected]
So there you have it. Amazingly simple isn’t it? Yet, without the combination of information, inspiration, and information, less than a week ago these same people weren’t nearly as far along as they are today. How can you seek out the kind of accurate information you need to take the fear out of your dream and move you to action? What little things can you do day to day to inspire you to shift your thinking from having a boss to being your own boss? Where can you find a community – heck, even one person – who can give you the ongoing support you need to stop dreaming and start doing? It’s all small steps folks. Which step will you take today?
To learn more about how you can learn what it takes to quit your job and work at what you love, click here.