According to Wikipedia, singer Josh Groban has sold nearly 20 million albums in his short career. The other evening he told his Twitter followers that he’d just finished a two hour voice lesson and “think it’s time to turn pro.”
So why would a rich and famous performer keep taking lessons? More to the point, why would a would-be entrerpreneur or freelancer or traveler not be investing in their dreams?
It’s that second question that keeps me awake nights.
Brazen Careerist Penelope Trunk had a particularly interesting piece this week called Frugality is a Career Tool. She wrote “I have earned a lot of money in my life. But I have never had an extravagant life. I don’t own a house. I’ve never bought a new car. I’ve never bought a new piece of living room furniture, and I do not own a single piece of real jewelry. What I have spent money on was always intended to help me with my career. That was so I know that I can always earn money doing something I love.”
If you want good things to happen, you’ve got to take the first step, ask for the date, risk being turned down. Otherwise you’re just practising wishful thinking, which is neither active nor useful.
How do you notify your dreams that you mean business? Here are a few of my favorite ways.
Get equipped. In Making a Living Without a Job, I tell the story about how things changed for me when I splurged (or so it seemed at the time) on a passport. After years of failing to find a way to bring my travel dreams to life, I got serious and started getting ready for a trip. I bought guidebooks, I thought about my itinerary and wardrobe.
In less than a year, I was headed for the UK. Ever since, my passport has been called into service at least twice a year.
Get dressed. When my granddaugther showed up at breakfast wearing a fancy dress and rainboots before heading out to kiindergarten, her father took one look and said “Lose the boots.”
Zoe was having none of it. “Dad,” she explained, “I’m an artist. I can wear what I want.”
Costumes are essential to theater and they’re equally essential to building a dream. As they say in some circles, bring the outer into alignment with the inner.
Make space. In Eric Maisel’s The Creativity Book, he advises, “By designating a room as your writing study or rearranging your garage so your band can practice in it, you are setting up a sacred space and honoring your commitment to realize your creative potential.”
A successful writer observed, “I don’t know where inspiration comes from, but I know that it shows up at my desk every morning when I sit down to write.”
Get connected. Transplant yourself into a dreambuilding environment as often as possible. Gather with others who are motivated and proactive. Make idea gathering your favorite hobby. Listen to inspiring speakers and read eloquent authors who have taken a higher path.
Refuse to believe that you aren’t a good investment because, quite simply, if you want your dreams to show up, you’ve got to show up first. So show ’em you mean business.