This is a guest post from Stacey Curnow.
Pursuing your dream can be a bumpy ride.
In fact, it can be so challenging that you forget the excitement and wonderment you had when you first visualized your goal.
As a midwife and mother, I’ve experienced the joy of birth. But just like a dream, it is only once the baby is born that the real challenge begins.
Now, my experience is helping me with another dream of mine: my new business.
I’d like to share with you 5 lessons that taught me how to nurture my dream as I nurtured my own baby.
1. If your dream is important, it will take more money and time than you expect
Just like when I had a baby, I really had no idea that a business would take so much of my time and money. When I started out, my husband and I looked at our savings and agreed that I would use $5K to launch my business.
When that was gone, the business would either be profitable or I would give it up.
Oh, that makes me laugh now to think of it! To date, I’ve spent more than four times that amount and countless hours of my time. Whilst it brings me immense joy, when you look at it in black and white, it’s not even profitable yet.
But dreams are very rarely in black and white. They exist as vivid and mouthwatering visions. That’s what makes our hearts beat a little faster when we think about them. It’s what makes them so important to our lives.
If your dream is important, you make plans to adapt and give it the support it needs to grow. For me, the plan is that I keep my business going with current income and stop fixing upon a date by which it must be profitable.
I spent tens of thousands of dollars and countless hours to become a nurse/ midwife. I never put a time limit on when I needed to “succeed” as one. I simply pursued it because I was passionate about it and loved the work.
Your dream does not come with an expiry date or a price ticket. It is about the journey you take to pursue it. For as long as my dream brings me joy, no amount of money or time will stop me following my heart.
2. Listen to the experts, but be prepared to throw away the guidebooks
Whilst there may be excellent resources to learn from, sometimes you need to accept that you will achieve your goal by going your own way.
When my son was an infant, my husband and I would check various growth and development baby books and make ourselves nutty with thoughts like, “Hey! He hasn’t developed the ’pincer’ grasp yet!”
But he did develop it, at his own pace.
We might still use books for guidance but we know that every child is different, just as every dream is different.
With my business, it’s tempting to ask myself: “How can I be sure my business is not supposed to make more money yet?” The reality is that there is no definitive answer, no blueprint to tell me how to build the business of my dreams, because it’s my dream.
I’m going to do everything I can to create the conditions for the optimal growth and development of my business, but I’m not going to sweat it if it doesn’t hit any hoped-for markers of “success.”
3. Love the challenges and the lessons they bring
I made a lot of mistakes as a new mama, and I’m making a lot of mistakes as a new entrepreneur.
There’s no success like failure – and it just gets easier and easier to accept that “failure” is necessary for success.
It’s like Thomas Edison said, “I haven’t failed. I’ve found 10,000 ways that didn’t work.” If I thought something would work and it didn’t even after I gave it my best shot, well then, I’ve always learned something of value.
And I’ve also always found that I’m much closer to success after failing than I was before the (so-called) failure.
Whether you’re just starting to make your dream a reality or you’ve been working hard at it for years, cultivate the feeling that there are no mistakes, just more learning opportunities.
The more bumps in the road there are, the more you will learn, the more agile you will become and if you really learn to embrace the challenges as invaluable lessons, the better you’ll sleep at night!
4. Remember your “why”
If you are feeling that your dream is elusive and unattainable, it’s vital to focus on why you created your business.
I often remind myself that I created my business in order to help more people give birth to a life they love. And when I see that I am doing that, the spectre of money diminishes considerably. This thought alone has gotten me through many rough patches.
The best reason for pursuing your dream is because you want the joy of making that dream a reality. When you focus on what your heart wants you to achieve, your mind is open to more possibilities and ways to tackle the unanticipated and often undesirable obstacles that dare to get in your way.
5. Share the burdens and the joys of your dream
There is a saying: “It takes a village to raise a child.” Ditto that for any great project or goal. Don’t underestimate how even just a few hours of help can make a difference to your ability to cope and enjoy the journey to your dream.
When I started my business, one of the first things I did was hire an assistant. Now I have 3 assistants, a business coach, and a membership group in an online marketing forum – all for a business that isn’t yet profitable.
But you know what? I wouldn’t enjoy my business without the help. I started my venture to bring to life my passion so I don’t even think of going without it. I care for my business just like I cared for my baby, and I will continue to do so because it brings me joy.
After all, who looks at their baby and says, “When was the last time you helped pay the rent?”
What about you? Have you encountered any bumps on the journey to your dream? What methods do you use to tackle them?
I’d love to hear more in the comments below.