When Chris shared his and Ramona’s idea about this blog at a dinner in November 2017, I was thrilled immediately. In my opinion, there cannot be enough people helping others to have the courage to change. In addition to that, I find new things incredibly exciting.
It’s fantastic seeing Chris and Ramona start this blog and I am very thankful being invited to contribute as a guest author.
Optimist and just-do-it-person
Furthermore, I am a hopeless optimist. And a doer, a just-do-it-person. That is my driving force for decades, where I continuously started completely new things. I do not regret any of those – no matter how much stress, effort, frustration, money, … that may have cost me.
How do you know what is „right“?
Many people have really good ideas they’d like to turn into reality. They have dreams and hopes.
As children we get asked „tell me, what do you want to become when you are older?“ During my youth it was becoming a firefighter, train driver or maybe a doctor. Most of the time you received encouragement from the adults. No matter what, you were still a child.
When we grow up, we receive feedback from parents, grandparents, teachers, friends, and realise, that not all dreams seem to be acceptable. Especially if your ideas are not „normal“, you will receive sceptical, demotivating comments. Becoming a doctor is always appreciated, becoming a painter or dancer not really.
So we start to wonder: What’s right?
What shall we do?
How should we decide?
How do we know what is „right“ for us?
The significance of „the others“
Most of us got educated to do things considered „right“ by „the others“. „What will the neighbours think if you do that? That’s not possible. Silly you! „, are the statements killing most of our dreams.
Our direct environment massively shapes our personality. It can cause a terrible inner conflict, driving us crazy. Literally!
The parents of one of my coaching clients made it from absolute poverty to tremendous prosperity. Craftsmanship, engineering, and hard work were the ingredients to their success.
The son is everything but a craftsman or an engineer. He is an artist, designer, thinker. His father treated him despairingly due to not being like him. At almost 40 years of age, shortly after his parents died, the son almost killed himself with alcohol and drugs.
He suddenly inherited not only a company and money, but also a responsibility for hundreds of people in a trade not corresponding to his nature. For three years after their death he lived in agony – until we found a way to handle it. Now, for the first time in his life, he really does what makes him happy. At 43 years old.
If you grow up in an environment full of entrepreneurs and want to become a civil servant, you hardly will get encouragement for your plans.
If you belong to a family of traders, and you want to become a painter, you will not get supported for the unprofitable career choice.
You have to fit in
We learn from a young age that „being different“ is bad and isolates us.
But only by „being different“ we can create something and make new discoveries.
The only reason evolution works is because it constantly produces variations which are „different.“ Many of them die quickly, because the variation is not viable. But some make it and often these are the only ones surviving the situations when the previous „normal“ is not normal any more. The world is constantly evolving. Survivors are the ones capable of changing themselves.
„Fail forward“ and „fail fast“
The Silicon Valley community often speaks of „fail forward“ and „fail fast“.
They want to encourage trying ideas as quickly as possible. If you think about an idea for 6 years until you take the first step and you realise, after such a long time of agonising, that it does not work, you wasted 6 years of your precious life. But if you DO something and realise it works at least a bit, you gained 72 months of experience during the same timeframe. You might have defined the market, won customers, or wherever the idea may have taken you. If you realise the idea is total nonsense, you can kill it and move on to the next now.
This applies not only to business ideas, but also to starting a sport, getting fitter, eating healthier, finding the right partner, making the vacation you always dreamed of, moving to your favourite place, … or whatever you’ve got in mind.
Tim Ferriss interviewed venture capitalist Mike Maples for his podcast (https://tim.blog/2017/12/16/the-man-who-taught-me-how-to-invest/). According to Mike 93% of his successful investments only became successful after the founders‘ first idea flopped and they had to change the idea, or even redesign it completely. 93% is a big number. And to flop or pivot, you have act first.
What are you going to do?
Are you going to act?
Getting started is easier than you think
A significant number of executives I work with as their coach, confidentially speak with me about a business idea.
An idea they are carrying around for years.
As soon as I ask, if they have ever spoken with a potential customer or business partner about the idea, it gets quiet. Most of them assume, especially if they come from the German-speaking world, that an idea needs to be thought-trough 150%, finalised and perfectly calculated before they can share it with anyone.
In my view, this is one of the reasons why Germany continues being a leader in research in many areas, but only „further running“ in turning them into products and businesses.
If you have a business idea, don’t hesitate. Speak with potential customers, potential business partners, with researchers or whoever might be the right person to talk to depending on your idea.
That’s easy! Really!
Don’t make it too complicated.
If your idea turns out to be total nonsense after 15 or 20 conversations, go back to the drawing board. Maybe it’s not the right time or your explanation is too complicated. Maybe the idea is nonsense – forget about it and move on to the next. Don’t waste your time!
There is no shortage of ideas.
There is an absolute lack of people implement ideas!
Getting started is harder than you think
If your idea has some potential, it will become harder now. The real work begins.
Now you have to consider the feedback, question your idea, look for vulnerabilities without any mercy.
You have to take care of legal regulations, find out which rules you need adhere to, build prototypes, finance it, try out everything.
During this journey of turning an idea into reality, most people fail. Because they underestimate how much work is involved.
Almost every person can run a marathon or finish a triathlon. But very few are willing to hustle and grind every single day for months or years doing what is necessary. Often people rather sit on the couch or hit the snooze button, instead of doing what’s important.
If it is not difficult, does it make sense at all?
Nelson Mandela said, „There is no passion to be found playing small and settling for a life that’s less than the one you are capable of living.“
Stamina is more important than talent
Apart from the people constantly questioning their idea, there are even more people questioning themselves.
They tell themselves „I’m not an entrepreneur„, „Who do I think I am? There are a lot more talented people than me, against whom I never have a chance.„, or “ Why should anyone care what I think – my literature teacher always found my essays boring beyond measure.“
Those are just a few of the self-doubts holding many of us back from living a meaningful, fulfilling life.
Talent is massively overrated and less relevant than stamina. (You can have a look at an article I wrote about talent and success here: https://hrfuture.net/news-list/talent-might-be-the-biggest-threat-for-your-success-21568)
Persistence and perseverance counts. Because if you are persistent, if you believe in your idea, you are going to get up even again even after falling 7 times. That’s what counts in the end.
What is the worst thing that can happen?
This question, „What’s the worst thing that can happen?“ rarely takes us to dramatic potential consequences.
Whenever you have an idea and you hesitate taking a next step, I encourage you to ask yourself in the future: „What is the worst thing that can happen?„.
If neither the world comes to an end nor your whole life collapses, then take the first step. After that you’re going to see what the next step will be. And the next. And the next.
Do not hesitate.