It happens every time I announce a new special event. Almost immediately, I begin getting messages that say, “Someday I’d love to attend your Storytelling seminar.” Or “When will you be doing your Storytelling event in Alaska?” These questions suggest that many people haven’t learned one of the basics of successful self-bossing.

Several years ago when Valerie Young announced our upcoming Making Dreams Happen event, she was deluged with e-mails from people saying they’d like to attend but couldn’t afford the enrollment fee. She called me to see if I had any  ideas about how to handle this onslaught. I pointed out that since this event was about bringing dreams into reality, getting there was the first exercise. The ever-creative Valerie issued a challenge to her readers asking them to share what they were doing to fund the conference. We got wonderful stories about the creative ways that participants found to be involved. 

A year earlier, two friends and I decided we wanted to take a little vacation. My cash flow was good so I had the funds; they’d both spent the previous months working on writing projects that had yet to pay off so their cash flow was squeaky. Once we set the goal for the trip, however, they both swung into action. They  had each built a nice little portfolio of cash flow options that included things like selling on eBay, doing market research, spending a Sunday as a flea marketing vendor. In less than two weeks, they both had the money  they  needed for the trip.

Last year, another entrepreneurial friend was experiencing a cash flow slowdown and decided to get creative. She wanted something that wouldn’t distract too much from other projects she was working on, so she put an ad on her local Craigslist offering her services as a pet sitter in her home. Not long after, I  was talking to her and she proudly announced, “I just passed the $1000 mark with petsitting.” 

So the order of making things happen is this: goal first, funding second. What successful goalsetters know is that the process goes something like this: focus on a goal, brainstorm obvious and crazy ways to make it happen, start taking action. Keep going until the goal is met. Set another goal and repeat.

You can do anything you want to do. I mean it. Blunder ahead. ~ Robert Henri

 

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I heard a terrific story on public radio’s Weekend Edition today about a school in the Chicago area called Ag High which teaches agricultural and entrepreneurial subjects along with academics. The school’s director had some insightful things to say about the value of this broad curriculum. I urge you to check it out for yourself.

One of the leading characteristics of entrepreneurial thinkers shows up in their approach to goal-setting. I was reminded of that this morning when I was talking to Lisa Tarrant, who spent the weekend holding her first tag sale. She said it had been a success and she was getting ready to list a couple of unsold items on Craigslist. “We’re using the money from the sale to redecorate our living room,” she added.

“Oh, how entrepreneurial!” I replied. She agreed and told me about their decorating plans.

Did you catch what’s happening here? I’ll give you another hint. Every time I announce a 3-day seminar, I start hearing from people who say, “Someday I’d like to attend one of your Las Vegas events.” The implication is, of course, “if I ever have the money.”

That’s fixed income mentality at work. The entrepreneurial approach is quite different. Successful goal-setters decide first WHAT they want to do and then get busy figuring out HOW to make it happen. In fact, this proactive approach may not even include the word “how” since that little word can be a sabotaging dreambasher. Instead, the entrepreneurial thinker begins contemplating questions like, “What’s the best way to make this happen? Is there something hiding in plain sight that can help me get there?” 

Figuring out how is where the creative process kicks in. Alas, too many people mistake it for a red light.

Keep on starting and the finishing will take care of itself. — Neil Fiore