Stop Planning and Get Going Toward Your Dream
“You can conquer almost any fear if you will only make up your mind to do so. For remember, fear doesn’t exist anywhere except in the mind.” -Dale Carnegie
We’ve all heard the big stories about people who have founded ground-breaking companies outside of their day jobs. You probably have heard how the co-founders of Airbnb started that business out of their apartment when they couldn’t make rent, or how Mark Zuckerberg created Facebook out of his college dorm room. While inspiring, these stories can feel too grandiose and far away to be relatable to the average person.
But what all of these success stories have in common is that someone, somewhere started working toward a dream or goal before they knew where it would go. That’s it. There was no business plan. There were no investors. There was no market research to inform their thinking. In these cases, actionable steps and forward momentum toward a goal trumped detailed research and planning.
Jenny Treadwell didn’t have another job lined up when she quit her full-time job as a paralegal to pursue her passion in the male-dominated field of race car driving. When asked what her plan was the day she quit her day job, she said, “You know I would like to say that I had it all figured out in advance, but I really didn’t [laughs]. ... I just decided to take a leap of faith and start working it out.” Last year, she won the NHRA Southeast division in her class becoming the first woman to win a divisional championship in her class.
As to what advice Jenny would give to other people out there who want to make a big shift, she said: “There’s never going to be a good time to do it. Move past your fear -- whatever it is. It’s easy to focus on that part, but focus on your potential.”
For Jenny, a big part of focusing on the positive and moving past her fear included watching inspiring videos that motivated her to keep going in the face of ambiguity.
There really is something to that way of thinking. According to research conducted by Gallup that examined The Impact of Entrepreneurs’ Psychology on Their Business, “self-limiting or self-inflated views can hamper entrepreneurs.”
If you’re thinking the word “entrepreneur” doesn’t apply to you, you’re wrong. Everyone is an entrepreneur in this economy. We’re all charged with being adaptable, quick on our feet, and able to acquire new skills on the fly, even within the traditional business environment.
While it’s true that there is a myriad of tools you can use to advance your skillset, promote your personal or professional brand, build your network, etc., the sheer volume of resources, options, and avenues for development can cause analysis paralysis. Which path is the right path? Which course? Which skillset?
However, it matters less what you do and matters more that you do. Don’t think of development as a linear path--think of it as a maze. You might go in one direction and quickly hit a dead end, so you try a different route, and this time you get much further before you hit another dead end. You only back up a little to move in yet another direction.
When it comes to making a shift, make an educated guess about which direction to pursue, and see where it takes you. You will course-correct along the way. Successful ventures always begin with a series of actionable steps. Someone had an idea and acted on it. It can take several changes in direction before you find a definitive path.
So if you’re reading this and you have a dream, passion, or side project you’re secretly itching to pursue, don’t wait for the stars to align before you make a move. If you do, Jenny says you’ll never get there: “Just because you don’t have it all figured out doesn’t mean you can’t move in the direction you want to go. If you’re waiting for the perfect time or the perfect plan, that’s just not going to happen.”
Here are some things you can start doing TODAY to build your confidence and craft an entrepreneurial mindset:
- Identify your fears. When those dreams pop up in your mind, do you immediately engage in negative self-talk?
- Identify the negative stories you’re telling yourself, and change the narrative.
- Focus on the positive. Start watching inspiring videos, reading motivational articles, and hanging around other positive people.
- Think about smaller ways you can get started working toward your dream. For Jenny, this meant reducing the number of hours she worked at her day job (versus quitting altogether). You might also work outside of your normal business hours or even during your lunch break.
In short, stop planning and get going toward your dream. What can you do to make a shift and get started working toward your dream?