When we go to bed at night, we enter a whole new world. A world where you can do things you never imagined and where nothing seems out of the ordinary. While it may just be a dream, for entrepreneurs, dreams don’t just stop when the alarm goes off. The dictionary defines ‘dream’ as “a series of images, ideas, emotions, and sensations occurring involuntarily in the mind during certain stages of sleep.” For entrepreneurs though, it means more than that. What makes dreams unique is that it more often than not, the chances of it happening in ‘real life’ is impossible. Whether it’s flying through the air like a bird or exploring the depths of the ocean with no worries about oxygen, dreams for the most part are just a ‘story’ told during our sleep. Still, what if you decide that anything is possible. The moment you stop believing that dreams are impossible, that is the moment you begin to dream like an entrepreneur.
The Start Of Something Special
American poet and writer, Carl Sandburg, once said that “nothing happens unless we first dream.” For entrepreneurs, failure knocks at the door, waiting to crush their dreams. Still, no matter how many times people will tell someone that their idea or dream is foolish, they still pursue it. No matter the number, the entrepreneur sees what some fail to recognize, opportunity.
Off just a ‘dream’, an individual is willing to put it all on the line. How many times have you heard of the 9-5 worker leaving the corporate world to start their own company? There is nothing glamorous about being an entrepreneur. You have an idea, you start your company, and you hope for the best. Aside from picking the name of your company and who will work with you, you control little more than that. So why do entrepreneurs ride this dream for all its worth? Is there an attraction to the thrill of the unexpected?
Dreaming Like You’re 9 Years Old
There is no simple explanation as to why entrepreneurs are willing to risk it all. Everyone has their own reasons, just like everyone has their own dreams. But step back for a moment and go back to when you were 9 years old. At that age, I remember that the most I had to worry about was whether or not I would make it back home in time to watch X-Men and how to avoid doing homework. At 9, our minds were full of creativity and ideas just waiting to burst. While we still are full of creative ideas the big difference is that at 9 years old that dream became something you had to share and make happen.
For example, when I was 9 I had a dream that I could turn my tricycle into a sleigh similar to the one Santa Claus had. Using my dogs as reindeer, I spent an entire day fashioning my 3-wheeler into a makeshift sleigh. Even better, I had the brilliant idea of using dog treats as motivation for the dogs to pull me. By throwing the dog treat forward I would get them to move and thus pulling me anywhere I wanted to go. As great as this sounded at the time, I must stress the point that at this stage of my life I was still afraid of the dark, hated vegetables and didn’t know what the SAT meant. Long story short, the dogs pulled like I planned, but instead dragged me about 100 yards after I fell off the bike. Although it was a failure in many aspects, that’s what being a kid meant. While the risks maybe greater as an entrepreneur, the same mentality is there: follow your dreams without fear of the unexpected.
Waking Up From The Dream
For entrepreneurs, not all dreams can last forever. Perhaps it didn’t work out or it just wasn’t meant to happen. The beauty of a dream though is that once you ‘wake up’ from one, you can start again. For the lucky ones, you may never have to wake up from it. Take Bill Gates for example. I think many would agree that although he’s had some bumps along the way, he’s “living the dream.”
When I think of entrepreneur’s that chase their dreams, I am reminded of something that the Greek scholar, Euripides once said:
The wisest men follow their own direction.
As the saying goes, impossible is nothing.