When Entrepreneurs Get Betrayed by Their Imagination

I think we artists and entrepreneurs are double crossed by our own imaginations.

We act as though, because we can imagine something, we have the right to pursue it. We seem to think the greater the detail in which we envision something, the more likely it will be successful. And this isn’t a failure of imagination – not in the sense that we fail to be able to imagine it; but our imaginations fails us, because it is so much greater than the reality (which is why we’re blindsided by mediocrity).

 

The two audacious claims of most entrepreneurs and artists are that:

1) There should be this thing; and

2) I should be in charge of it.

That can’t always be true. Sometimes we create things the world doesn’t need (Regretsy, anyone?) but more often, we promote ourselves to incompetence. The sad reality is that, many times there are mid-level professionals that are not internationally talented–––or maybe not even nationally talented. They’re regionally talented. So they could be a really good drama professor at the local university; but instead, they’re going to run their own theater company. And you wind up having nine or ten theater companies in a town of a million, where even if there was just one theater company, you might be able to–––if you added all the budgets together, assuming that they weren’t cannibalizing–––have one viable organization. Instead you have nine starving each other. And I don’t know if that works. Maybe you’re not into theatre… web design, anyone?

 

I’m with some friends, and we’re discussing hosting a new art event, an art festival of sorts. I’m not going to go into too much detail, because we’re still working on it, but very quickly what happens is, we start envisioning. And we have very well developed imaginations. And very gifted people who are running a number of their own projects quite successfully–––passion projects. Somehow or another, by combining all our passion projects, we’re going to be able to pay everyone. I don’t think it works that way. Just because we can envision a theater, and film, and visual art, and story telling, and trans-media, and bloggers, and radio broadcasters, and music videos–––we’re in Nashville, we can throw those in–––that somehow or other if you throw all those together, it is suddenly going to work.

It’s quixotic. We can envision this castle on a cloud that only Don Quixote could see, or that there are these windmills that he was tilting at–––it’s a little bit like that.

Someone who has the ability to envision… “Oh, it’ll be this great restaurant, and it’ll be like this, and it’ll be like this, and it’ll be like this. And I’m gonna put it in this town.” I think there’s two things: 1) Could that town support such a restaurant? And 2) Should such a restaurant be owned by you just because you can envision it? And sometimes there’s a mismatch there as well. And when that happens, you can sort of suffer along with that idea for a while. But at some point you have to say either, “This thing doesn’t fit this time and place,” or “I’m not the guy, or girl, to make this thing work that way.”

I’m not sure everyone sees that, particularly my artist friends who very quickly want to make collaborations out of everything. And I’m not sure that more cooks in the kitchen is better, either. From a financial standpoint, if you’re going to split, now you have to split with everybody. So everybody gets less. And if everybody is doing 90% administration, 1% creation, it feels idealistic and naively short-sighted.

[alert style=”success”]Sound Off: Have you been betrayed by your imagination with starting something new? Are you an entrepreneur or artist that has realized the above? Let us know in the comments below. [/alert]

Dreaming While You’re Awake

Let’s play a little word association game.

Do you not think it will be as much fun with me on the other side of your machine?

Well, you’re probably right… but I invite you to play along anyhow. I’ll give you a word, and you take a moment to think what comes to mind.

Success.

Victory.

Dreams.

 

I’m most interested to know what came to your mind when you read the word ‘dreams’. Did you think of blissful rest? On the contrary, did you think of agitated nightmares?

When you thought of the concept of dreaming, did you imagine yourself to be asleep or awake? There is surely something to be said about a sweet dream that makes you wish you didn’t have to acknowledge the alarm, but what about the dreams you dream in your waking hours? What happens in your heart and in your mind as you ponder the potential of your life given your current circumstances and your natural gifting?

 

As a recent college graduate, I’m in arguably one of the most transitional periods of my entire life. Should I get a job in my field? Should I go to grad school? Should I move home? Should I leave everything altogether and travel Europe for the next six months (a thought that crosses my mind at least three times a week)?

Maybe you’ve been asked the question: What would you do if you knew you could not fail? Have you answered it? Have you thought long enough to consider what you might do if you could literally do anything?

You’ve been crafted and created to do amazing things.

Not necessarily safe things, maybe not logical things. And more than likely, not always the things that will generate the biggest paycheck. But it will be the thing that makes you come alive, and when you come alive the world will come alive around you.

American philosopher Howard Thurman said:

“Don’t ask yourself what the world needs. Ask yourself what makes you come alive and then go do that, because what the world needs is people who have come alive.”

When you fall asleep and dream you are confined to wake up and wish that it were real. You have no option but to wake and be thrown back into the reality of what is.

But when you dream while you’re awake, you have the glorious opportunity to combine your greatest desires with your deepest gifting. You can plan, create, and work tirelessly to achieve that which you have hoped and wished for. It sure is sweet to dream by night, but it’s wildly thrilling to dream by day.

After I finished putting these thoughts on paper I came across this quote and felt my heart stir once again:

“All men dream; but not equally. Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds wake in the day to find that it was vanity; but the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act out their dreams with open eyes, to make it possible.”

–T.E. Lawrence

I’m a daydreamer. I can’t sit still without thinking of the next could-be and I’m moved by passionate desires, albeit some may never meet reality. It helps me to sift through them all in confidence that in my dreaming I will land on the ones that are meant to be and that in my passion, and with my Jesus, I will see them come to life.

Dream by day, friends, and watch the world come alive.

[alert style=”info”]Sound Off: What’s one dream you’d like to see God provide for? How can you dream bigger? Let us know in the comments.[/alert]

The Reason Why I Write

Photo: Rocpoc

Sooner or later (we’re gonna make it, we’re gonna make it – anyone else have Mat Kearney pop into their head there? Me too.)

Sooner or later, the question “why?” will always find its way into the conversation. Example?

As I lay in bed in the morning snoozing my alarm for the zillionth time, the question pops up: “Why should I get out of bed?” Well, because if I lose my job I won’t be able to pay rent. Off goes the snooze, and out of bed I climb.

As prevalent the “why” question becomes in little things, even more so does it come in the big things. When the ‘why’ begins to plague my mind, I’ve gotten into the habit of letting it. There is nothing more valuable to me than knowing the reason behind my every movement. If a situation produces an unexpected reaction, I want to know why. I urge you to develop practices such as these. Think about the habits in your life–––what makes you do them?

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For me, the biggest question is “Why do I write?”

Whether it’s a blog, my work-in-progress bible study, or a little note to a friend away at summer camp… why do I pick up the pen, or rest my hands comfortably to dance on the keyboard?

After much pondering, over not enough coffee, I’ve come to the conclusion: I write because I believe in the power of words. I write because I believe that when truth is spoken, written, or even sung, lies become smaller. I write because I believe that words have the ability to reshape the way we think. And because the way we think is the prototype of the way we live, I think this reshaping is a process worthy of my best time and my deepest efforts.

And, maybe, a reason bigger than all of the others, I write because I need it. Because when I don’t write I feel as though I’m keeping from Jesus the most vulnerable and formative thing within me. Because I believe stronger than I believe anything else, that Jesus has given me a passion for words in order that His Kingdom might be furthered and His Name might be lifted high.

For these reasons, and for a thousand others, I write.

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And I pray that you will do that thing that you need to do, whatever it is. And if you’re not quite sure what it is, I pray you’ll find it (and soon). Once you find that thing you love, you’re gifted in, and you’re passionate about, find out why.

You see, the world needs you to do that thing, and the world will be better when you do it.

The why matters because it is your only fuel when things become difficult. And they will always (eventually) become difficult. If you do not have a strong “why”, you will give up. If you don’t know the reasons that cause you to do something, you will never accomplish your goals. You will never run that marathon, write that book, or learn to play that instrument. Discipline begs for purpose and the disciplined one will accomplish the goal.

I’ve heard it said that he who has a strong enough “why” can make it through any “how”. If I didn’t have a distinct reason to write, I would have given up the first time I hit writer’s block. I would have stopped trying the first time someone criticized my work. I would run from the burden to write for Jesus’ glory. But because I have never felt more alive than when I write, because my heart skips a beat in anticipation when someone I love reads my work, because I am anxious to put words on paper knowing that Jesus has created me for this very reason. Because of these things I continue to write and the roadblock of “how” will never be enough to keep me from finding a detour.

Find your passion. Find your why. In this, you will change the world around you for good.

[box_help]Sound Off: What’s your why? What is the one thing that you need to be doing in this life? Let us know in the comments.[/box_help]

Just Don’t Stand Still

Lightbulb

I’ve been thinking lately about the passion of a college student and the abilities of a grown, educated adult.

Inspiration seems to leak out of the working-class population as the nine-to-five (or six) wears us out, and leaves us thirsting for the weekend and less responsibility. My generation was told that we could be whatever we want to be. Unrealistically, and with the instant-gratification mindset (thanks to technology), we believed that if we could dream it, it would be achieved. Now don’t get me wrong, that principle in itself is the American Dream. But, it’s not that easy. And it’s certainly not that quick.

There is so much diligence, savviness, conversation, prayer, risk, grind, and belief that leads a great dream to a realistic success.

There just is.

What I think happens is, we see this work, and we get scared. We get comfortable in our day-to-day “getting by”. And that’s OK for some. But not for the dreamers. Not the ones who yearn for more.

The truth is, we will work hard no matter what. And maybe the idea of failure is the obstacle; but what’s the alternative? Not trying. Not seizing, and sulking while we watch others do the very tasks we want to be doing.

I tend to get caught up in half-truths. I think, “Oh, it’s hard, so it’s not worth it.” Well, yes, it is hard, but on the other hand, that’s why it is worth it.

I spoke with a girl in my office today; we talked about time, and aging, the confusion of our twenties, and the potential we both know that we have. She made a great point: today is our youngest and oldest day. The present is all we have to choose forward motion, or the status quo. Every day we get to choose. We don’t need to blame our past mistakes, or even dwell on our past successes.

The question to ask is, what are we doing now?

Just remember: the best really is yet to come. We become wiser, lovelier even. Seek to aspire, inspire, and to pull the trigger. We are all able. The world desperately needs good people out there, doing good work in all areas. And we are the ones to do it. Little steps are the best ones because collectively, they make us reach our destination.

Whatever you do, just don’t stand still.

Monday Rundown: Can’t See Straight

Throw yo hands up, it’s the first Monday Rundown in many, many Mondays. Rightfully so, we have so much to talk about, so let’s catch up–––

––WHATTTTTTT: Talk about one HECK of a weekend for Detroit sports. The Detroit Lions Kardiac Kitties came back from a deficit of 20 or more for the second straight week, defeating the Cowboys 34-30 after trailing 27-3. You. Iz. Kidding. Me. Let me go on-record by saying the following: that is completely ridiculous. Last week was crazy enough; this week was unbelievable. In 2008, this team would’ve lost 44-3, but it’s official, the culture has changed. The Lions are now 4-0 and tied atop the NFC North with the NFL’s only other undefeated team, the Green Bay Packers. The Lions have the Bears next week on Monday Night Football, which will be raucous. Continue reading “Monday Rundown: Can’t See Straight”