When thirteen-year-old Summer Riley lost the iPod she’d received as a birthday gift in May, she was devastated. After she stopped scolding herself, she decided to earn the money to replace it and set up shop selling lemonade. In July, in Las Vegas, with temperatures topping 110. Selling for 75¢/cup, Summer brought in $10-$12 a day. Her entrepreneurial spirit caught the attention of a local reporter, which is how I learned her story.


Summer’s enterprising approach to getting something she wanted struck me because I read her story shortly after receiving yet another e-mail saying, “Someday I’d like to attend one of your seminars.” I hear that all the time. I also know that the folks who are wistfully thinking about participating in such an event will probably never show up. 


Sadly, they’re missing a critical portion of an entrepreneur’s mindset. It’s so basic that I spend a fair amount of time talking about it in Making a Living Without a Job seminars. It’s not difficult, but it requires some conscious practice. Simply put, people who accomplish their goals, who lead rich, fascinating lives focus on What they want to achieve and then explore options for How they’re going to do so.


This seems to be a totally foreign concept to those who have been conditioned to operate with a fixed income mentality. On the other hand, the entrepreneur decides on the destination and then creates the project that will get them there. It’s just another exercise in creative problem-solving. 


The good news is that it can also be learned. Use this simple three-step process:


√ Decide on what you want to accomplish.

√ Brainstorm possibilities.

√ Get busy.


Start with a small goal and find a new way to make it happen. Then do it again and again. It’s how we grow a business, it’s how we invent an interesting life. The only equipment that’s needed is imagination and a willingness to put it to work. As Summer’s father told the newspaper, “If she wants something, she finds a way to afford it.” Smart dad, smart daughter.


Speaking of smart parents, bestselling author Jacquelyn Mitchard wrote a wonderful essay on Why Passion Matters. It’s one of my favorite discoveries of the week.



By the way, we still have two spots left in our upcoming Follow Through Camp. If you want to move a project ahead, revive a neglected idea or improve your goal-setting skills, find a way to join us on September 11 & 12 in Chaska, MN. It’s going to rock.