In the world we live in, there are a million things competing for people’s attention each day. If you are an average person, putting out an average product, hoping for the average consumer…it is going to be rough for you. McDonalds and Walmart already exist, and it is going to be really hard for you to compete with them on price alone.
There are millions of videos flying around the internet. No one passes on the boring ones. The great ones though, they fly around by way of e-mail, twitter links, facebook posts etc. When someone can tell a great story that is worth repeating…it gets repeated.
What is YOUR story? Not one you heard from someone else…your personal story. What is it that inspires YOU? If it is that dream that you want to get going…tell your story. Share it. Video it. Send it out to see if it catches on. Don’t worry about people stealing your great idea. There is very little chance of that…but they might share it with a friend or two…or ten. You might connect with the person who can help take you a step closer to your dream becoming a reality.
Quit shooting for average. Tell YOUR story. The one only you can tell. The great story that is burning inside you.
In my class the other day, we were discussing the idea of tribes. Something hit me that was one of those “duh” moments. We don’t work to create a tribe. The tribe is already there. Those who are successful at connecting the already existing tribes are the successful ones.
Kiva.org didn’t invent a tribe of people helping others, it simply facilitates connecting those people. The church didn’t invent the idea of worshiping God, it is the connection of those who want to worship God who create the church.
The point is that the tribe already exists. Your job as a leader is just to communicate with your tribe and help it connect.
A rancher doesn’t invent meat eaters, but he can help connect them to his brand of beef. A blog for butterfly collectors doesn’t make the world more or less full of those who catch butterflies, but connecting them could be quite fulfilling. It isn’t all about the money, but often money will come to those who are good at connecting others together.
Who can you connect?
There is always a great rush with starting any new venture. As a college professor, I get the joy of starting new things every semester. As my students and I venture on into new territory together, we explore new ways of learning, we attempt to explore new ideas, we read, we discuss, they write..I grade. The rush of the new is quickly replaced by the load of the semester.
In the business world, it is often the same. There are those great late nights thinking about how great the new project is going to be. We anticipate the awesome success of the new entrepreneurship adventure. Then the work kicks in. We get turned down by clients. There are glitches along the way that get to us. That perfect partner doesn’t seem so perfect anymore.
It is in those times that the great ones are made. The people who will push through that rough time after the beginning rush. The people who don’t give up. The student that keeps pushing, studying and writing even when his friends are just phoning it in and showing up for lectures not having even read the text to be prepared for class. Those are the people who will rise to the top.
Will you give up now? Or will you press through the dip and on toward greatness?
A friend of mine with a dream recently told me that he was about to give up on his dream. He has tried to make it become a reality, and it seems that he has been thwarted at each turn. Some of the failures were his own fault, and others he had no way to see them coming. It does bring up an interesting question though. When is it time to throw in the towel and quit? How do we know whether one more day will bring the turn toward success?
I spend most of my time here on the startstuff.net blog attempting to encourage people to start working toward their dreams. I hope that people will take that first step to make their dreams come true. Sometimes though, it is just as important to have a strategy to know when to quit.
When you start a business, buy a rental home, begin a fitness plan, there should be a goal and an exit plan. Who are you going to sell out to? When will you have accomplished your fitness goal? (Not that you quit working out, but you can hit a point where maintenance is all you need to do.) Sometimes it is better to “quit while you are behind” rather than continuing in a downward spiral.
For example: if you are trying to start a business, but after a year, it isn’t making any money, but keeps you working extra to fund it, then you don’t have a business, you have a hobby. Maybe it is time to quit that business and use the time (and money) to spend with family and friends.
I used to have a friend who liked to gamble. He loved the vacation to Atlantic City or Las Vegas. Unlike most, he had a good system. No, I don’t mean a system to beat the house at blackjack. I mean that his personal financial house was in order. He had a big jar that he threw change into each day when he came home. At the end of the year, that change was what he used to gamble on his yearly trip. When he ran out of that money, or his week was up, whichever came first, he quit gambling for the year. Sometimes he made money, sometimes he lost it all, but he had an exit strategy going in. It worked for him. (Note: I am not endorsing gambling as I have seen the harm it can do to families, relationships, finance etc. when abused.) The point is to have an exit strategy for your dreams.
Is it time to quit? No one but you can anwer that question. There are many things that are worth quiting though. Things like excessive drinking, smoking, eating, gambling…while done in moderation these things aren’t inherantly evil, in excess, they are likely to reduce quality of life. Look at the things in your life and see if there is something you need to quit.
My grandmother on my father’s side was Roman Catholic. Her husband, my grandfather was Methodist when they met…and then Baptist later on. My Mother’s parents were Presbyterian. My parents are with the Assemblies of God. I am a Christian Mutt.
At some point in life, I had to figure out my own faith. I couldn’t rely on the faith of my parents or grandparents. That journey took me through a wide swath of Christendom. The quick version of that in bullet points is:
- Assemblies of God
- American Baptist
- Roman Catholic
- Allegheny Wesleyan Methodist
- Northern Baptist
- Independent Christian Church
- Disciples of Christ
- Independent Baptist (BBC style)
- Church of God in Christ
- Independent Baptist (Bob Jones style)
- Southern Baptist.
The churches ranged in size from the smallest with an average Sunday morning attendance of 13 to the largest, my current church with 25-30,000 on an average weekend. Some were ultra-conservative holiness, others were Pentecostal, others were very contemporary in style. Along the way, I came to know what I believed. It is this set of beliefs that guide my life, not just my Sunday morning, but each day, each transaction. I fail…just as in other things in life. This doesn’t change the belief, it just means that I need to get back up and keep going.
Do you know what you believe in? Does it penetrate beyond a simple nod to religion? Do your beliefs govern who you are in every situation?
There is an old saying that goes something like this: If you don’t believe in anything, it is likely that you will fall for anything.
Know what you believe, and it will make your life go much more smoothly.
Books By Burl Walker
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