You Build Dreams, not Just Follow Them

There was a scene in one of those old black-and-white movies in which the fabulously rich guy is asked the secret of success and he answers: “Choose rich parents.”

For the rest of us, it has to do with work. As in another old saying I like: “The harder I work, the luckier I get.”

Which brings me to one of the basic fundamentals of building a new business, or running an existing business: it’s a lot of work.

Be your own boss? Well, maybe, but the toughest bosses are their own bosses.

This comes up because of a great post yesterday from Pam Slim, of Escape from Cubicle Nation: Who says following your dreams shouldn’t be hard? She says:

I have come to the realization that we cause ourselves a lot of stress by believing that if we just choose the right business, or quit our loathsome job, or find the perfect Internet marketing system, or get that book deal that things will become easy.

She goes on to point out that most of what we get in life, most of the good things, are also hard. There are lots of clichés on that point. Pam suggests that there is good hard — such as “Meeting unexpected life challenges with both pragmatism and optimism” — and bad hard — like “Spending twelve hours on an administrative task that is complex, boring and not your strength when someone smart could do it in 30 minutes for fifty bucks.”

Somewhere embedded in all this is that you work on what you love, because to be successful you’re going to work on it a whole lot, so you’d better love it.

And, also, that the opposite of hard is boring.

Which brings me to my title above. Following dreams isn’t enough. You have to build dreams.


  • Vanessa Pagan says:

    This is a great post!
    Building a business is a lot of work.

    The good hard work, the eustress, is what I love about your take on having an active role in making your dreams come true. Getting rid of that bad work, means better leveraging your strengths and time. Your dream can't lead you, you must lead yourself forward.

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