No worthwhile venture can be started without a clear and compelling Dream.
A venture that tries to start without one most often peters out for lack of purpose and an emptiness--a lack of soul--that inspires no one to stick with it for very long. Not employees, not customers, and not even the owners themselves.
Contrary to popular belief, however, a true entrepreneur's Dream is not personal. It's impersonal. It's not about the Dreamer; it's about the consumer.
I understand that this premise might seem counterintuitive, and perhaps even a bit distasteful.
How can one be passionate about his or her business enterprise and bring the requisite energy and commitment to it if it's all about the "other"?
To the true entrepreneur, however, there's an inextricable link between his or her own passion and building a business that brings unique value to the consumer.
The creation of something that serves the consumer in a new, better, or unparalleled way feeds the true entrepreneur like nothing else.
So, if it doesn't originate from within, how does one discover such a Dream?
Well, first, it isn't easy to discover a Dream worthy of the overwhelming amount of energy and capital--physical, emotional, and monetary--you're going to invest in it.
And, second, it doesn't start out how you might think, with a sudden flash of realization or some bright light pointing the way like we see in the movies. No choir of angelic voices or bolts of lightening bursting overhead.
The Dream I'm talking about starts with nothing, rather than with something.
It's the absence of something that most often gives rise to the Dream, in fact, rather the presence of something.
That's why I say in my latest book, Beyond The E-Myth--The Evolution of an Enterprise: From a Company of One to a Company of 1,000!, that the process of discovering your Dream starts with "a blank piece of paper and beginner's mind."
What exactly does that mean?
It means that you're open, empty, interested, and curious. And you love being that way, so that as things happen all around you, you're able to see new possibilities with fresh eyes--with your beginner's mind--and then capture your discoveries, your ideas, your solutions on a blank piece of paper so you can reflect back on them, nurture them, and synthesize them into a Dream worth pursuing.
It means you're a clear channel, an open door, in the present moment.
In this sense, "a blank piece of paper and beginner's mind" is the antidote to the blind, desensitized relationship most people have with the world around them.
Most of us have lost our ability to be open doors.
Associations form; one thought triggers another thought; your automated program of "things to do" kicks into high gear.
All the things that entrap us in our "day-to-day"--all of those conflicting thoughts and feelings, those spiraling chains of distractions, those assumptions and reservations--must be put away to allow the process of Dreaming to take place.
Because it's the "day-to-day" that has defined our past and will, if we allow it, predict our future.
To awaken our inner entrepreneur and discover the unknown, it's the "day-to-day" that must be annihilated.
"A blank piece of paper and beginner's mind" is the means of annihilating our "day-to-day."
And in that annihilation, a door opens.
The door to a Dream worth dreaming and a venture worth pursuing.