“If somebody offers you an amazing opportunity but you are not sure you can do it, say yes – then learn how to do it later!” – Richard Branson, Founder Virgin Group.
A couple of months ago a senior colleague after having appreciated the work I put in for a presentation asked if I wanted to start a venture of my own someday. We were in a cab carpooling to office after two days of quarterly meetings, I told him I was keen on doing something, however I was anxious because I did not know the industry well enough to start something of my own. I said to him ‘I do enjoy writing and public speaking but you know it is not easy to simply start something without experience or expert knowledge.’
After a pause, he said ‘you know Sumita, I have 20+ years of experience and what I have learnt is you cannot be ready for any business. You just have to go on and start, you are smart and capable, go for it.’
His suggestion lingered on my mind for days, I have read business moguls talk about leaping head first into challenges. My mum says you do not come out of the womb all smart, you make the effort and you learn.
Warren Buffet says, the biggest investment you should make is in yourself. The returns on this investment is huge. I agree with possibly the smartest man on the planet. Having said that simply jumping head first and investing in oneself is not enough. One should be smart and sensible. Life is short and making most of the time is the key to sanity and achievement.
The top excuse to not pursue your interest along with your full-time job is, ‘I don’t have enough time!’ Consider Beyonce or Barack Obama, they have 24 hours in a day too, how do they handle multiple projects? You should decide to spend each hour wisely. Bill Gates once said, ‘I don’t do tasks which do not add value’. When you are not in office or working, are you Netflix-ing or are you working on your interests? I do not recommend you sacrifice Friday movie nights with friends or dinners with colleagues. Although one must sacrifice, sometimes, depending o scheduling of projects. The important thing is to make a time table and even more important is to stick to it. I commit to going swimming three days a week, if I don’t keep the schedule what is the point?
Use SMART milestones
The SMART acronym (specific, measurable, agreed, realistic, time-framed) is well-known in the business world, and it’s the one you should adopt when thinking about milestones in your project.
Points like, when to complete a part, set up a blog, write five articles, get on a business plan, polish work process to reduce bottle neck etc. Milestones provide a sense of achievement, which in turn increases focus. Setting milestones using the SMART acronym would go a long way towards ensuring smooth progression of the process.
Having mentioned focus, don’t give up everything to run for your dreams. There are responsibilities on our head, bills to be paid. Not everybody is Donald Trump or Paris Hilton who have financial backing even before they started out on their own. We learn about the 1% people who made it not about the 99% who didn’t.
Shahrukh Khan once said during one of his speeches, keep your day job to pay your bills so you don’t have to depend on someone. Work on your passions and dreams in your part time until the day your passions are worthy enough to pay your bills. Don’t wait to turn 45 to start chasing your dreams. Multitasking is the crux of modern living.
Find the limits of your bravery
Being brave is good, but not to the point of being foolish. Think smart and be brave. Use resources smartly, leap with preparation so you know the net will appear eventually. You have to be committed. Some risks work in our favour. The path of passion is where you do things that scare you enough, without leaving you in a constant state of fear.
Surround yourself with passionate likeminded people
Negative people will steer your attitude to negativity. Passionate people are filled with energy and enthusiasm. Their day to day life will provide inspiration and ideas to you. You can simply follow role models. Read about them, internet era has made knowledge easily accessible. Follow people you admire, always strive to learn something. Plus, they can provide insight into how they discovered their passions and open you up to how you might discover one too.
Pay attention to your thoughts
Where do your thoughts drift to when you let your mind wander? If you end up daydreaming about doing something, your mind might be telling you that you’re interested in doing it. Or subconsciously you are keen on pursuing this avenue. Listen to your own gut, this is the most dependable guide you can get.
You know your dream and you are aware of the path to make it happen — the key is to start walking that path with dedication and hard work.
Make dream-chasing part of your daily routine, and work on it step-by-step every day. Focus on tasks with the highest yield, and be careful not to bite off more than you can chew.
Life is hard, and there’s always lots to do — but don’t let the hard work get you down. It will be worth it in the end.