Life happens

Dan Miller tells a humorous, but insightful story about a limo driver who says that his job is temporary until he can start his own limo service. When asked how long he has had his “temporary” job, he replies, “Twelve years.”

Most of us are probably aware of individuals who spend a lot of time talking about what they are going to do “someday”. They dream about future exploits but do nothing about accomplishing them today. And then, they wake up and find that years have passed and they are no closer to their alleged goal.

There is certainly nothing wrong with having dreams. Setting goals and envisioning what life would be like if they were achieved can provide valuable inspiration and motivation. This is even more true when our goals are long-term. But dreams alone will get us nowhere—we must also take action.

Stop and smell the roses

Building a small business is hard work. It requires dedication, self-motivation, and stamina. It requires effort—both physical and mental. It requires passion to maintain the effort when times are tough.

New couples often exhibit much more passion than couples who have been together for a long time. The excitement of a new relationship and the future creates much of that passion. As time passes the excitement and passion can fade.

So it often is with our business. The excitement of a promising future fades as the reality of a difficult journey sinks in. The passion we feel as we embark on a new adventure declines as we face obstacles and set backs.

Relationship experts suggest many things that couples can do to keep their passion alive. Surprise gifts, weekend trips, and date nights are common suggestions. Few women are not thrilled with an unexpected bouquet of flowers.

We must do the same thing in our business. We must take actions to help us maintain our passion and excitement. It is fine to keep the long-term goal in mind, but we must also enjoy the moment. We must celebrate our successes and milestones. We must give ourself a pat on the back when we deserve it. Sometimes we need to stop and smell the roses.

Employees and your personal goals

A small business is a blank canvas. We get to determine what we put on that canvas. We get to determine what type of company we own. This applies to every aspect of the business, from the clientele we target to the image we present. From the type of work we do to the types of painters we employee.

An artist does not simply throw paint on his canvas (not a true artist). He begins with a vision of what he will create. He plans his final product long before he begins to create. We must do the same with our business.

If we wish to hire good employees we must begin by identifying where we want to lead them. We must identify our vision for our company. We must picture what our company will look like in a year, five years, or ten years down the road. We must identify our Definite Chief Aim. Only then can we determine the path to take to get there and the type of people who will help us.

Our vision serves as our guiding light, as the goal toward which our efforts are directed. If that vision is unclear or undefined we essentially have no direction—we move aimlessly and inconsistently. We are shooting at an unknown target.

However, if that vision is clear our actions can become more consistent. Our actions can move consistently towards our goal. And we can communicate where we are going and how we will get there.

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