I know that many of my readers are outside America, I am American, in case you weren’t aware. Today celebrates 240 years that this country has stood together under the banner of a free democracy. We fight among ourselves, but when we are attacked from the outside, we tend to pull together like one huge family. I believe America is a great country. It isn’t for everyone, but it offers everyone an opportunity. We don’t all have the same starting point. Some of us are born into poverty. Some were born with the proverbial silver spoon in their mouths. We see over and over again though that the person with a dream and the guts to get off their butt and do the work it takes to make that dream come true are rewarded in this country.

We are never more than one generation away from losing that right. We can’t take it for granted. That said, while we have that right, I encourage all Americans to do your patriotic duty and do what you can to make your dream come true.

 

Is it music? Is there are certain amount of sunlight in the room? An inspiring read? What is it that makes you want to step up and take the risk? When are you most likely to want to do that work to make your dreams come true?

  • Do what you can to recreate that environment.
    • Read more
    • listen to that music
    • find that thing that makes you want to do it.
  • Repeat
  • Repeat
  • Repeat

Soon you will find that you regularly are inspired to do your best work. You can’t wait to punch holes in the edge of that box you are in. You are stepping up to lead your tribe. You are learning, doing, inspiring something new.

 

 

I have been teaching at the university level for almost two decades now. One thing I see constantly that never ceases to amaze me is students who come to college with no clue what they want to do. The worst case scenario is that their parents told the student that they had to go to college so they could get a good job later…but the poor student is having to take loans to get through because their grades weren’t good enough to get scholarships and the parents aren’t paying for it. These well meaning parents are really just saddling their pride and joy with massive debt as they start their careers.

I can’t tell you how many young adults I have talked to over the years who with tears in their eyes due to anger pour out their hearts about how they feel duped. They paid for an expensive degree and now they can’t seem to make ends meet because they have the loans to repay that eat up 1/2 their paycheck. I feel for them. Yes, I understand that they made the choice to take out those loans. (Not always. *) 17-18 year olds aren’t old enough to drink in the United States, because people in power believe that their reasoning skills aren’t fully developed. That may be debatable, but we do let them sign away the next decade of their life in exchange for a false promise of a “good job” when they finish college.

So what is the solution. I believe it is to teach young people to really research what they want to do with their lives. Help them in high-school with examining their strengths, weaknesses, personalities…so that they will have a goal. That goal then may, or may not, include going to university.

*A girl I was very close to many years ago told me of how her father sat her down the night before her wedding to explain to her that those forms he had her sign when she went off to college were really loans in her name. The whole time, she thought her father was paying for her education. She and her husband thought they were starting marriage debt free…surprise! Parents, please do NOT do this to your child!

 

So, the title seems like a no-brainer. Of course you will market to your customers. Here is my question, do you know your customer? Who is he? What does she do for fun? Why does she use your product/service/location? What influences him? How is he different from people who aren’t your target demographic?

Hint: You won’t learn this sitting in your office. Get out there and talk with your customers. It may seem like a waste of time, but get to know them. Listen to them, ask questions and don’t talk so much.

 

Babe Ruth failed often. He struck out a lot! He kept stepping up to the plate for that next chance to knock a home run out of the park.Fail

The only way to never fail is to never try anything. Never start working on your dream. It might fail. That is the small voice in your head that keeps you from working towards making your dream come true.

There is some validity to the idea that you might fail. Everyone does at least a few times in life. I have failed in so many ways I can’t begin to count them…but I don’t consider myself a failure. One of the tricks to success is to realize that failure doesn’t matter.

I would rather invest in someone who has failed…maybe a few times, and has learned from his failure than a person who has never failed.

Failure can be a great teacher.

The trick is to fail small. Figure out how big a failure you can be before you launch into your project. You don’t want to fail so big that you can never recover.

Here is what I mean by that. If you have a great idea, that is awesome! Go for it. Can it be done on a scale where you can start for the money you currently have in savings? That way, if you fail, you are at zero and can start over…but you aren’t homeless because you mortgaged your house, car-less because you used a title loan to get some more money, deep in credit card debt because you maxed them all out trying to make your dream come true…you get the picture. You plan for the possible failure when you plan for success.

Keep failing small…and eventually you will succeed.

I had a business fail big. It took me a few years to climb out of that financial hole. My current business had a rough start. My first big client left me holding the bag…but then it turned around. Now it is doing well. It isn’t to the point where I can quit my job and do it full time, but it is making a profit…and it is giving me encouragement to expand for more success. Will those expansions succeed? Only time will tell. They may fail. One lesson that I have learned from business is that failure isn’t the end. If you are still alive, you can take another turn at bat and maybe hit that ball out of the park.

 
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