Many of us have visions of ourselves and our futures that give us hope or delusion. We think about these visions and often make no efforts to purse them. Potentially dangerous stuff because we get mesmerized by our dream and get lulled to sleep.
Like Lenny in Mice and Men. We dream and then can literally squeeze the life out of our dreams by not waking up and taking action.
"One of the most tragic things I know about human nature is we put off living. We are all dreaming of some magical rose garden over the horizon-instead of enjoying the roses blooming outside our window." Dale Carnegie
I hear a lot about these rose gardens or "greener pastures" that exist in our dreams and over the horizon. Specific ideas and details of what lies ahead–in our imaginations. These roses are inviting and aromatic. The grass is green and lush.
The trouble is we don't actually visit these garden and pasture like places. Maybe we don't want to ruin the image and perfection. Maybe we are afraid of failure. Maybe we are too busy–yikes! Maybe we are waiting for the "right" time–double yikes!
I get exhausted from hearing these visions with no action.
People ask me everyday, "What is a good mentor?" A good mentor pushes the mentee to start a rose garden or weed the pasture of their dreams. A good mentor will not tolerate hearing about the dream more than a couple of times without seeing real steps in pursuing that dream. I am trying to be a good mentor right now.
Stop talking about your dream and test it. Bring some reality to the dream by taking field trips to that place.
I recently was introduced by a friend in Barcelona to a new friend from Germany: Balazs. He has been dreaming about moving his family and business to LA. He had a short stint here in a study abroad program and a family member recently moved here. He was convinced that the pasture was greener in LA. He decided to pursue his dream. He researched the business environment, used his network–that's where I was contacted–and flew to LA. He gave himself a month to explore the pastures of LA and the limits of his dream. He immersed himself in a new place. Balazs is very bright and talented, but he is a reserved and trusting guy. Yet he pushed himself to network and jump into new situations, and literally knock on doors to conduct his research. He was like an amazing advance man for a big campaign. Testing messages, needs, and interest all the while selling himself. Hard stuff. I connected him to my network and he ran with it. He met hundreds of people, visited dozens of companies and in the end, conducted a thorough investigation of his dream. What he didn't expect was how this tour of LA was a tour of his soul, of his assumptions about his business and about his life. Because Balazs was open to the feedback, he learned that LA could work if he changed his dream. His dream has been tempered by reality and he can now decide if it is greener.
Reminds me of the two shoe salesmen who visited Africa many years ago. The first wrote back and said,"No one wears shoes here, no opportunities." The second one wrote back, "No one wears shoes, huge opportunity." Going to see things changes how you view things.
I have heard these phrases recently. I call them ambitiousness without ambition.
I want to get an MBA. What's the GMAT?
I want to own my own business. What's ebitda?
I want to run a non-profit without fundraising.
Who doesn't want the success without the work? The dream without waking up.
We say silly things and then dream about them.
We need to know what we are saying and dreaming about. Reality can bring those pastures into focus and purse them. Or allow you to delete that dream and build a new one. What a waste of a life to regret a dream you did not want.
Not trying to deter you from dreaming just dream in HD. Dream accurately. Understand the path to the dream. Every beautiful rose garden has thorns, bugs, and you have to bury some manure. Every picturesque green pasture has weeds, vermin, and requires a lot of work.
Use your network and your mentors to visit the pastures and meet the farmers. Learn about the soil and seed. Wear the shoes. Is it still green?.
Curiousity may have killed the cat but it may breathe life into your dreams.
Balazs traveled 6000 miles to test his dream. Odds are your dreams are so much closer.
Wake up, stand up, and smell the roses and run through those pastures.
Thanks for reading. John