This is for the person who's considered dropping out of college to start a company, for the working mother who wants more time with her kids, for the young philanthropist who longs for Africa, or the dreamer who hates their job and feels called to something greater. This post is for you.
The phrase “Punch Fear in the Face” comes from my friend's New York Times Bestselling book, Start. The author Jon Acuff, just spent the past few days with me at my cabin. He inspired me to write this.
Over the past 10 years, I've launched 7 companies. Everything from a rock climbing gym and a conference organization to a branding agency and my most recent venture, Sevenly. Additionally, I've wrote a book, I'm working on another, I've spoke a conferences around the world, and I've even found time to feed a million readers per month here on my blog. I've been poor, nervous, wealthy, and everything in between.
But one thing has stayed consistent. Fear.
Fear is crippling and it steals our dreams from under us. It's a heavy voice in our minds whispering why we don't deserve better, why we will fail, and how our ideas are impossible. But fear is wrong.
Now I could write pages on this topic, but here's the short. The core of the core that has allowed me to push through the fear. To turn my dreams into a career. To give me the freedom to control my time and build a life of excitement, adventure, and purpose. It's not about money. It's not about education. It's about smart, calculated action.
Here's My 3 Steps for Turning Your Dreams Into a Career.
1. Scratch Your Own Itch: This is a bit of a pre-cursor. Whatever your dream may be, you must start with familiarity. A dream must come from deep within. A fix to a problem you've experienced. The fulfillment of a need which is being ignored. Ultimately, a dream that's “career worthy” provides a solution for a better way.
If you're dream is to be a chef but you don't cook, you might be on the wrong path. If you want to launch a charity but you don't support other non-profits, you still have work to do. If you want to develop a t-shirt company but know nothing about garments or screen printing, it's time to research before calling it a “dream”.
2. Start Small, Start Today: Procrastination kills more dreams than failure ever will. I've seen too many friends buy domains and create twitter handles to only watch them die in their idea graveyard. Turning a dream into a career takes consistent small advances. Start with paper. No great idea was ever created without a transfer from mind to paper. Then move to conversation. Share it with anybody who will listen. Let your mind hear the proclamation and begin to more thoroughly shape your concept.
Next, set a date. Buy your first batch of yarn. Launch your first blog post. Get your products on Etsy. Buy a plane ticket. Whatever it is, set a date and do it. You only have one life. Mistakes are proof that you're trying and you'll never regret chasing your dreams – even if it doesn't work out.
3. Take a Leap, But Build a Net: I was so afraid when launching Sevenly, I sat down and listed every person I knew who I could turn to for a job if it failed and everything fell apart. I folded up the paper with that scribbled list and placed it in the drawer of my desk so I could move forward with boldness. Even today, with millions of dollars in annual revenue, I still pull that list out after a tough afternoon and say to myself, “If this doesn’t work out, I’ve got ideas and options. So I might as well be brave today.”
Be bold, be drastic, be crazy, but be smart. Build a financial cushion and define your back-up plan. Remember, walking a tight rope without a safety net is exponentially more dangerous.
What's your dream? What's holding you back?
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Some know me as a serial entrepreneur and Founder of Sevenly and StartupCamp, others know me as the guy who can ride a unicycle and still kickflip on a skateboard. I’m on a mission to inspire people. Will you join me?