15 Mar Be grateful that going after big dreams… isn’t a cakewalk!
Recently, a woman reached out to me because she was discouraged. She had a big dream… and she was working on going after it… but she had just had a conversation with a concerned relative who tried to shoot down her ideas… and she was feeling beat up. So I offered a story, a revelation and some ideas, and I thought I’d share them with you here…
Way back in 2001, when I was thinking about going after one of my big dreams of becoming a life coach… I mentioned it to a friend.That’s me on #10
Now, he’s one of those “friends.” You know the type.
They are the kind of person who feels that it is their duty to “protect you” from making mistakes by shooting holes in your ideas.
Well, I’ll never forget the conversation.
He asked me what I was up to and I let him know that I was investigating life coaching because I wanted to have more of an impact on the world and because I wanted to own my own business some day.
Then he said it…
He said, “Well, that’s no cakewalk.”
I think he was trying to warn me that what I was thinking about doing was going to take hard work, but his tone had a little “Do YOU think you could really do that?” to it.
That stuck with me.
And I have to say that at the time, even though I didn’t want to admit it, his “It’s no cakewalk” phrase placed a seed of doubt in me on whether I could actually start my own coaching practice.
But… by the grace of God and a whole lot of chutzba… I wound up going to training and eventually launching my own coaching practice. And 10 years later I’m excited to say I’m living my dream by helping others to live theirs.
HERE’S THE FUNNY THING:
Recently, I attended a carnival at our youngest son’s elementary school and I participated in an actual cakewalk.
And guess what?
That experience proved my friend right!
Can you believe it?
Well, as my son and I stood in line to participate in the cake walk, I started to watch how an actual cakewalk works.
For those of you who don’t know… let me explain.
Basically, there were a circle of numbers. And everyone who was going to participate in the cakewalk started the process by standing on a number. In our case, there were 12 numbers, so when we were ready to start… there were 12 people standing on the 12 numbers. Then, organizers started the music and the participants began to walk in a circle. Eventually, at a random time the music stopped and everyone wound up standing on a different number. Finally… someone pulled a number out of a hat and the person who was standing on that number won a cake.
It was fun and simple.
Now, you might be wondering how my friend was proven right… after hearing about the logistics of the cakewalk… but when the epiphany hit me… I literally laughed out loud.
The “A-ha” struck me as I walked away from the cakewalk… having not won a cake.
Here’s the thing.
The cakewalk is random. It’s easy… yes. But it really comes down to luck.
You start in a random place. Then you walk in circles. Finally… someone else stops the music and based on where you land… you either win or loose.
Interestingly enough, that’s what a lot of people think going after a dream is going to look like… (my friend included).
They think… a person has a big dream. Then they start to go after it… and if they are “lucky,” it will all work out. If they aren’t “lucky,” it won’t.
If this were true… a person might get an idea for launching a business and then… like the cakewalk… they would start in a random place. Then the person might just walk in circles (cakewalk style) because they aren’t sure how to market their business. Finally, they fret and stew because they think that the music will stop and they will either get or not get clients… sell their product or not sell their product… or make a profit or not make a profit… because of luck.
CAN YOU IDENTIFY?
Now… here’s the deal. It CAN happen like that. But it doesn’t have to.
Well… as a person launches a dream… they need a system.
A good system.
And if they have a solid system… the “cakewalk experience” can totally be avoided!
You can’t just “fall into a dream.” You have to find a system… and then work the system.
Now, I’ll admit that when I first got started coaching… I took the “cakewalk” approach because the coach training I received didn’t involve any business training.
So, when I got certified in 2002, I started my coaching practice in a “random place.” I thought I could help everyone… so I tried to help everyone. But… we all know that when you try to help everyone… you wind up helping no one!
WALKING IN CIRCLES
But that lead to the next part of the cakewalk experience in that I started to move in circles. I made the same mistakes over and over. I wasn’t sure how to market myself so I ran around trying everything. I got frustrated. I got tired. I got scared.
Then… when I finally got a new client… I wasn’t sure how I got them… so I started to think it was luck. Kind of like the “cakewalk,” I just started to think I got lucky! Sure it was sweet to have a new client… but it was also a bit scary because I wasn’t sure if I could do it again and continue to grow my practice.
Now, you might be saying… “Wait! I thought you said going after a big dream isn’t like a cakewalk!”
Well… that’s true… now.
See… over time… I started to build “systems.”
For example, one of my own systems involves my “AVATAR.” (This is something we teach in our Coach Mindset – Elite Life Coach Training… but the basic concepts can be applied to ANY business!)
STEP 1: I started to get clear on my “AVATAR.” In other words, I started to get clear on my ideal client… the person I do my best work with.
STEP 2: I started to figure out how I could connect with this type of person… over and over. In fact, I started to even figure out ways that my AVATAR (my ideal client) would tell their friends about me (because their friends often looked just like they did!)… so spreading the word about my coaching practice became easier and easier.
STEP 3: I started to have a process for connecting with potential clients in a way where I knew they were a good fit for me and that I was a good fit for them. So it became less and less about “luck,” and more and more about systematically building a successful and sustainable coaching practice.
Yes… having a system like this was still as sweet as something you would win on a cakewalk… AND it took away a lot of the worry and the anxiousness.
What was amazing was that once I figured out this system and started to implement it… I was able to leave my job that had been a bad fit for me… and launch my full time coaching practice! (And I was able to do it a year earlier than I’d expected to!)
That’s just one example of a system.
Now… I’m addicted to researching SYSTEMSThe Lean Start Up
For example, I love to find systems that work for people launching businesses and non-profits. One of my recent favorites is Eric Ries’ “The Lean Start Up.” It offers some of the most refreshingly applicable strategies I’ve seen for launching new ideas and products. (Although many of them will offend your business professor’s ideas from college!)
There are also great systems for time management like The99Percent.com, or… lean manufacturing like Throughput Solutions, or… systems for improving your mindset like Shawn Achor’s research at Goodthinkinc.com.
Get addicted to finding systems.
Then… pick one to help you launch your dream… and go after it!
SO… MY FRIEND WAS RIGHT!
In the end… after actually participating in an actual cakewalk… I realized that my friend was right.
It’s not about starting randomly. It’s not about walking in circles. It’s not about winning based on luck!
It’s about having systems in place so you can build your dream… step by step. Because it’s not about random chance or luck.
When you have systems in place… it’s no cakewalk… and that’s a good thing!
Join in the convo
Join in the conversation. What are some of your favorite systems? Are they books on time management? Are they strategies you’ve found on a favorite blog? Where have you founds systems that have worked for you? Click on comments and join the convo! We’d love to hear from you!
One last thought on luck…
You might be still wondering… is there “cakewalk” style luck involved when it comes to going after your big dreams?
But I’ll leave you with this quote from the wildly successful movie producer Samuel Goldwyn. He once said…
“The harder I work, the luckier I seem to get.”
I like that.
Plus, I know I have personally benefited from a whole lot of Divine intervention in our BIG Dream journey as well. But again… even when it comes to Divine intervention… you still need to take an active role in the process!
So… be grateful it’s not a “cakewalk!”
Find a system that works for you… and get after that BIG Dream!
Keep dreaming BIG and helping others to do the same,
PS – If you’re needing a system to get clear on your big dreams and start to put a plan in place… you might also want to check out our book… “IGNITE – A little book to spark your big dreams!”
PS2 – If you’d like to find out more about some of the simple strategies and systems that we teach life coaches about… please check out our other blog. (www.trainingtobealifecoach.com) We’re writing about these types of things all the time! And we’d love to have you join in the conversation!