Walter Swan was a 75-year-old retired plasterer and eighth grade flunk out who conceived a wild dream. For years Swan had entertained his wife and their eight children with stories about growing up in the deserts of Arizona. Although he could barely read or write, Swan had a dream of turning his memories into a book.
In 1951, he taught himself to type with two fingers and began writing down his stories. His wife corrected and retyped the book. Then Swan optimistically sent his manuscript to several publishers. They all turned him down.
Discouraged by the rejection, Swan packed the manuscript away for ten years. But the dream of publishing success wouldn’t go away and Swan got the idea to publish it himself.
He mortgaged his house, bought a computer which his wife learned to use, and bravely ordered 1,000 copies of his book titled Me ‘n Henry.
His exhilaration dimmed somewhat as he tried to interest shopkeepers in carrying his beloved journal and found few takers.
He managed, however, to sell his first 1,000 copies and that was all the encouragement he needed. There’s got to be a way to sell even more copies he reckoned.
What if he opened his own bookstore? He scouted around the near ghost town of Bisbee, Arizona and found an empty space next door to the town’s only bookstore. It was just what he was looking for.
Before long, Walter Swan became a bit of a celebrity. His One-Book Bookstore brought him loads of national publicity. Tourists began going out of their way to meet Swan, buy his book and have their picture taken with the author. Swan’s creative problem-solving might be the best story of all.
Many years ago, Ralph Waldo Emerson observed that everything has its price and if that price is not paid, you will not receive the thing that you desire. Walter Swan figured out the price of his dream and made the necessary sacrifices to achieve it.
Do you have dreams that don’t seem to be coming true? Maybe the price of your dream is to be open to more options.
When people go from being an employee to being an entrepreneur, they often bring along a belief that doesn’t serve them well. Having spent years having a single source of income, they think their business will also come in only one way.
That’s not the way it works. The excitement of being an entrepreneur is that no such limitation need exist.
So remember Walter Swan the next time all doors seem to slam in your face. You may just need to keep exercising your imagination and opening yourself to fresh options until you come up with an original and unorthodox approach to solving your problem.
As long as you don’t stop believing that there’s always a way, your own tenacity will lead you to far greater things than you first imagined.