What I had achieved was for all to see. I was comfortable with my place in the world. In many people's terms, I had achieved a lot and for me, I didn't really have any major aspirations to achieve more than what I had. Well, at least that was what I kept telling myself.
Then I received an email. It was from a friend in Dubai and they were touching base with me after a few years of no communication. We hadn't talked for no other reason other than the tyranny of distance and the lack of urgency in making contact. He asked "have you done all the things we had talked about that time we sat up until 3am in the morning, talking about our dreams". I thought back. It dawned on me that I had not. Sure it was 3am in the morning and I may have had one or two glasses of red too much, so my "dreams" were probably more outlandish than what I really wanted to do in life, but the answer still was the same. No I hadn't. And there was a few things that I said that night that I wouldn't mind crossing off my checklist.
It never struck me before that I had to be accountable to anyone, yet my friend, who I hadn't seen for some time, somehow made me accountable. He wanted to know if I had in fact done what I said I would do.
For each great idea an entrepreneur has, most will never be realized. The reason is simple. Entrepreneurs have great ideas and they may go as far as to exploring their "great idea" with innovation and prototypes or just giving it a go - but most give up too early or fail to execute their plan. They don't get all their "ducks in a row" and somehow it never gets off the ground or if it does, not far enough off the ground to be in a position to fly.
It's true that hard work, determination, a little risk and a touch of luck are sure to help you become successful - but it is not a given that if all of these things are in place, that you will actually achieve what you set out to achieve.
For every rags to riches tale of those who have built large companies and amassed great fortunes, there are many more people whose great business idea failed before it started.
At some point, if you truly want to be successful or want to realize the potential of a great idea, then you need to take responsibility, work on your procrastination tendencies and make yourself accountable.
That's why so many smart entrepreneurs put together a board structure in the early days of their businesses.
Boards make you accountable and are there to challenge your opinions and direction.
It's been 18 months, and things have changed. A journey has begun and although it has not only been long, it has meant many thousands of miles around the globe more often than one would like, and it means that I am one step closer to realizing my dreams.
My dream is not to be "successful" per se, but instead to realize the full potential of my business and see it help the lives of other entrepreneurs trying to get that good idea off the ground or who have reached a certain point in their businesses and are not sure how to get to the next level.
Building an innovative marketing firm that transcends anythign that has been done ever before in the industry is exciting, but will only reach its potential if it is executed properly. That means, "head down, bum up", taking risks, being flexible, setting goals, sacrifices, persistence and knowing that nothing ever works the first time.
Never giving up trying is something that I am living by right now and sometimes it tests my strength and will. Knowing that my pressing hard on the accelerator and not putting on the breaks or stalling around every corner, that I will be giving it my best shot is reassuring. Pressure and stress is something that most entrepreneurs have felt in their time, but there is nothing quite like it when you know time is running out. There won't be another 40 years to get it right. There is no time like the present and a global financial crisis is just an excuse for not reaching your goals.
The question is: should we put so much pressure on "what's next" or should we live in the present and be thankful for what we have already achieved?
Mellissah Smith is a marketing expert with more than 20 years experience. Having founded and built two successful marketing companies internationally, she is well recognized as a industry thought leader and innovator. Mellissah started her career working with technology and professional services firms, primarily in marketing, public relations and investor relations, positioning a number of successful companies to list on the various Stock Exchanges around the world. She is a writer, technology developer and entrepreneur who shares her thoughts and experiences through blogs and written articles published in various media outlets. Brag sheet: #2 marketer to follow on Twitter (2003), Top 150 Marketers to Follow (2015), Top 10 innovative marketers (2014), 60K+ followers on Twitter with 97% authentic.
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great question Mellissah and interesting post!
Years ago, I've had those late night talks about my dreams too - and feel fortunate that my companion wrote them on a cocktail napkin she reminds me of them from time to time.
Some people mostly focus on the details of present while others prefer to live in the possibilities of the future. The trick is to know which you prefer most since this is where you have the most energy and the greatest strength. Since both present and future are necessary for running a small business - the key is to make sure you do spend some time in your non-preferred area from time to time for balance.
Also, many of us have so many idea, we can't follow up on them all so we chose the ones we are most passionate about. Glad you are following your dreams!
The question you pose is important, however most entrepreneurs will find it difficult to take their "foot off the accelerator" and "onto the break".
The key issue with entrepreneurs is surrounding themselves with the right people to test, further develop and implment their ideas. You make a brief reference to it, but surrounding yourself with an "advisory board", a mentor/coach or someone with extensive business experience is a wise move.
This is where the testing happens. Once tested, a strategy can be put in place to take this forward and build on the succcess. However for the strategy to be successful and sustainable, you will need good people to implement the plan/strategy. This allows for the entrepreneur to continue building whilst having good people support him/her in being successful. There are many examples of this success.
By not doing the above, the entrepreneur will need to "put the foot on the brakes" and take time to esnure success if he/she is to control the implementation of the new idea or plan.
The question you posed, Mellissah, is such a difficult one to answer because I feel it's a mixture of both responses.
As someone who is drawing closer to the end of their degree, and towards the first real stage of their adult life, I'm trying to achieve a balance between ensuring I meet my full potential and ensuring that the pressure does not override my ability to enjoy or, at the very least, remember that path to success. For me, that success is the knowledge that I did all I could and then some to meet my aspirations.
But I do believe that you appreciate your present so much more when you recall how you got there. Then, you can’t help but look forward to how you're going to reach the goals of your future.
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