This past week has held a lot for my by way of pondering on the future. I from the time I'm writing this, am 3 weeks away from finishing my college career. While there is plenty of excitement for that day, I also harbor a bit of apprehension and anxiety about what the future holds. One of my biggest fears is getting stuck. Many call it security, being able to work for the same company for 30-40 years, but I don't know if I could accomplish that feat. It sounds suffocating.
This week's videos talked about dreaming big. We learned about Google's understanding of what happens when you provide an environment of trust and imagination to a group of people. If you don't know what I'm talking about, each Google employee has 20% of their work time that they can dedicate to working on any project that they'd like to create. It was later told that of the new product launches, 50% came from that 20% time. That is the kind of stuff that I'm looking for in a future career. I want the ability in my job to dream big, to be able to take limits off what I can accomplish and see what my imagination is able to accomplish. I would much rather fail at dreaming big than succeed dreaming small.
One of the messages from this section of readings that stood out, quite significantly, was the idea of execution. This quote from "A Message to Garcia" gave my mind a lot to ponder. "The ability to execute is more valuable than education or talent, because it is far rarer." The entire idea brought back to my mind a talk that I had heard last year at a TEDx event held here in Rexburg, Idaho. The speaker Bill Crawford spoke of his time as a pilot in the military (a more full report of what I learned from him can be found here). He reminds us that execution is sandwiched between two other very important factors - planning and debriefing.
He spoke of mission he flew for the US military and how the execution of these missions started long before and lasted long after their time in the aircraft. Most people understand planning is an important part of having successful execution. The point that stood out to me and the point Mr. Crawford emphasized was the portion of debrief that often gets overlooked. Often when I set forth to accomplish a goal and am successful, that is often the end of my time with it. It was explained that the real nuggets of learning were found in the time after execution was complete, the debrief, an account and questions that were answered while the events of the execution were fresh in your mind. This is when you can point out what things went well, what went poorly, how to fix things for the next go around, all these things feed directly into the next planning session. So, the principle of planning, execution, debrief is one that anyone who desires to accomplish a goal, whether it's starting a business, flying a mission, or accomplishing any other goal in life. We can become extremely valuable if we strive to label ourselves as an 'executor'.
"If your eyes are always on your shoelaces, if all you can see is this class or that test, this date or that roommate, this disappointment or that dilemma, then it really is quite easy to throw in the towel and stop the fight." -Jeffrey R Holland
These words begin where I left of in last week's journal entry. This week many of our videos and articles focused around the concept of pressing forward, or never giving up. The entrepreneurial journey is one that is lined with blood, sweat, and tears. It doesn't seem like a path for the faint of heart. However, I've heard many stories where through that struggle, entrepreneurs find themselves in that journey, or find a lesson that forever alters their life. They are able to build the life they want, and not be kept under the thumb of others. The costs are great, but the benefits are even greater.
One line that came to mind as I was reading this week comes from Dave Ramsey's book "Total Money Makeover". He repeatedly states, "You have to live like no one else so that someday, you can live like no one else." Right now I feel extremely overwhelmed at the prospect of graduating and having to find a job/career that I can fit into. However, I've learned through these last few semesters that I truly want to "live like no one else." My wife and I have a vision of a perfect life, and one of the principle aspects of that vision is freedom with our time. We want to have the time to be involved with our children's lives, to pursue worthwhile adventures, and to have the resources to accomplish dreams and goals. For me, the first step in that life is to become an entrepreneur. If I am to do that, I must think bigger than the stress or frustration that is sitting right in front of me. Zeroing in on such will make it easier to throw in the towel.
"That which we persist in doing becomes easier to do, not that the nature of the things has changed but that our power to do has increased." -Ralph Waldo Emerson
Mastery has been the focus of our studies this week. In our society, if something isn't quick or easily accessible, it is often tossed aside as something we can do without. As I ponder on how I fall into the trap of living a life following the path of least resistance, and how when I'm doing that in my life, I feel less enjoyment and successful. Its because when I'm following the path of least resistance or looking for a quick fix, I'm not challenging myself.
Think of the goals we set for ourselves. I have a goal to become a good father to my children and a good husband to my wife. There is no quick way to become either of those things, but often we think that if we buy a book, or watch a video with the "5 Marks of the Perfect Dad," title, we will somehow be able to handle all the stresses and frustrations that come along with it. It takes study, application, intuition, persistence over a long period of time in order to be able to become a good husband and father. If I am willing to make small, incremental changes and continue to strive to give 100% effort, I will begin to realize the truthfulness of the Emerson quote that I shared at the beginning of this post.
I believe it all starts with a vision. Whatever we want to become, whether it be a perfect father, a successful entrepreneur, or better in a skill or hobby, we have to be able to imagine a world in which we have perfected that skill. We will then, mentally, be able to recognize if the effort to get there is worth it in the first place. If it is, we will have the why behind it all, ready to assist us when we are met with resistance and struggle to move forward. It will allow us to persist for years, because we've seen the end, even if only in our minds.
My name is Brian and I have a voice and something valuable to say. I'm on a quest to discover myself and the world around me. Join me and together we can do good in the world.