I often talk about how important it is to reach for the stars and go after your dreams, and that is something I continue to fully believe. However, I also believe that dreams don't come true when you wish hard enough. Dreams come to those who take practical, focused action every day to make those dreams happen.
Ready for some tough love? Well here it is.
Do you have a dream to have a seven or eight figure business and to be a household name with millions of customers around the globe? If your answer is yes, then my next question is: are you killing it as CEO of the five or six figure business you are currently running?
Or maybe your dream is to be a thought leader with NY Times Bestselling books under your belt and multiple TED talks with millions of views? If your answer is yes, then my next question is: are you truly serving your current mailing list of 1,000 or 10,000 subscribers?
You see we ask God, the Universe and Oprah to please make us millionaires, to please make everyone in the world buy our book or our latest thingamabob, to please make us so successful that we want for nothing more.
What we don't ask is: how can I be a good steward of what I already have?
I do believe that making it your daily mission to answer this question again and again, will get you far closer to your dream than wishing and dreaming for it will. In fact, I know that your concerted efforts when you only have 100 people following your message, when you've only sold 25 copies of your book, when you've only got 3 “measly” clients, is what separates you from those who will never accomplish their big dream.
You see, caring enough to figure out systems, conversion rates and growth engines (that is: the non-sexy HARD work) when no one is watching, is what prepares you for when people will be watching.
This is how you ready yourself to be at the helm of an empire.
I recently experienced this in my own life. Back in November, I convinced myself that it was time for my family and I to move. My business is doing great, my family is doing well financially and I thought, “I've been building this business from my small house or small apartments for five years, it's time I get myself a big ass house to go with my big ass success.”
Okay, maybe I didn't say it that way (though I won't deny that I was thinking it on some level), what I said was “my family is growing, I love hosting people and we can afford it, so why not get ourselves a bigger house.”
Then we got to house hunting. We live in a small town outside of NYC where there is not a lot of inventory. Not to mention, we have very specific requirements since we need enough room for three children, my business and my husband's workshop (he likes to build things like motorcycles and furniture). Of the available houses on the market only three met our needs and taste. We tried for all three at different points over the last few months and with all three we couldn't get the deal closed (for various reasons I won't get into here).
I thought, “what exactly is the lesson that I am supposed to learn here?” My husband suggested that we stay in our little cottage. It's cute, it's full of charm and most importantly, it's already ours. I went into a rage; how dare he attempt to kill my big ass house dreams! Luckily, I kept (most of) my internal raging to myself and spent time pondering.
What I realized is that the reason I feel that my current house doesn't work for me is because I am not a very good steward of this house. I spent a little time decorating when we first moved in, but I never finished designing the space to meet our needs. This means that it feels tight, cluttered and not fit for a Queen such as myself (yes, I am a motherfucking Queen) and her family.
In reality, it feels that way because I have made it feel that way.
I have put exactly 17% effort into making this house feel comfortable for my family in the last few years. 17% is not very high. 17% is lame. Why did I do that? Because it is hard. Designing a comfortable space is hard work (it may sound fun for some, but for me it's a nightmare). Measuring for furniture, wall paper and plumbing fixtures, finding a reputable electrician and spending every weekend at Pottery Barn, Ikea and Home Depot (in that order) for months is a lot of effort. But that's what it takes to make my house a home and now I am up for the challenge. Are you?
Are you willing to put the effort in to finally set up systems in your business? To leave your home office and go meet the people you need to meet to get hired by more clients? Are you going to commit to the customers you already have by constantly asking, “how can I create more value for them?”
If not, then go back to hoping and wishing for your dream business and your dream life. Without effort, a dream in your head is all you can expect to have.
What non-sexy tasks are you gonna do this week? How can you be a better steward of the business you have so that you can create the business you want?