Recap: In our first meetup we discussed Assignment One. We came up with some pretty amazing answers. We discussed the Four Questions, and made action plans. We toured two locations of a local fitness business and analyzed them both from ideation (the idea and mission) to iteration (to what you see now). Then, we started building vision.
It’s hard to build vision. Everyone has dreams. Rarely do people act on them. Our unclassmate told a story. “My dad wants me to be a nurse or x-ray tech. It’s a really secure career.” Dad’s no dummy–dad’s worked hard to get where he is. Dad doesn’t want suffering. Dads are like that.
“Are you interested in the medical field?” I asked.
“No. I want a business.” Our unclassmate pitched her business. She sold her idea in three sentences flat. We spent an hour discussing it. She pitched it so well that if she were ready and I had a pocket full of cash, I’d have invested.
Her business idea had all the qualities of a good business:
1. It was her dream, passion, and vision.
2. She could clearly see what it looked like in her mind.
3. She knew who she wanted to serve, and that there is currently nobody serving that market.
That’s a gift–knowing yourself so well that you can dig deep and pull out the vision. Many people can’t do this–people who are much older and farther along in life.
“Why would you want to train for a career you’re not interested in, if you have this passion?” I wondered.
“Because I’m afraid I won’t have money,” she said.
Good answer. It’s an answer that stops most of us from following our dreams. In The Life and Times of a Remarkable Misfit, former financier AJ Leon discusses this very topic. AJ was financially successful but unhappy. Four days before his wedding, he walked out of his Manhattan job. He and his wife are now traveling the world, changing it for the better.
“Yeah, but how does he eat?” Also a good question–he relies on his talents, and makes things happen. He converts vision to reality, pulling people together, networking and creating. He has the confidence to find areas where society needs him. That’s what success is. You can either build these ideas yourself or work with others who have done so. Either way, be where your vision lies.
Author, blogger, financier, and very funny man James Altucher jokes that he’s lost $15 million dollars, twice. If you know James, you know that this isn’t a comedy routine–losing a million dollars a day isn’t something I normally laugh about. What James learned and teaches is that if we’re in balance and preparing, we can overcome fear. In his essay, Why You Need to Quit Your Job Right Now he discusses this. He doesn’t mean you should flip off your boss right now and go running into the street, he means that you should develop your vision and use every moment of your time to get there.
If you’re in a job you like, great. If not, use that time–observing, thinking, planning, and learning everything you can. Develop skills. Follow your vision. Never intentionally put yourself in a situation “just for money.” Don’t spend 45 years in a job you hate. You’ll wake up at my age with the smell of french fries on your shirt, punching the clock. I’ve made a lot of fries. I’ve done decades of jobs because getting paid and eating are nice things to do.
Getting paid and eating is not following vision. We all have fear. We all start on the same playing field. Some start out as better athletes, but everyone can throw the touchdown pass. It all comes down to determination–to getting out there and executing. If you’re too scared to step on the field, and you just sit there memorizing the play book, you’ll never be the star. You might as well fill the water bottles for your whole life. Some of us spend years filling water bottles before we get the courage to step up. Don’t waste that time.
Our classmate above has vision. You probably have vision, too.
Assignment Two–Vision Write this down.
- Your idea of the perfect job or career. What do you do all day? What is the purpose of this job? What skills do you need?
- Is there a need for what you’d like to do? Can you spin your vision in a way that no one else does exactly what you do? How can you be the best of what you do? Can you layer another idea or service on top of what you do to make it even better? For example: a doctor that makes house calls, second shift daycare…do anything common in a way no one does it and you will succeed.
- How do you get there? How do you develop your skills to get ready? Who do you need to help you? Who, right in your community, could you study? Think outside the box for this one–In Meetup One, we did a case-study of a fitness business. We transferred qualities over to the fashion industry. Look for things like quality, customer service, market need.
[images: AJ Leon, Pursuit of Everything.com and purple-owl.com]