“The River”

This blog entry has less to do with business than with life in general. You see, I spent 15 years of my life trying to blend someone else’s dream with my own and it didn’t work out very well. Then, like a dummy I spent seven months trying to do it again with a different person. It was after the second attempt that I realized it was a bad concept in the first place. Luckily it hasn’t happened three times and I’m now living my own dream and the adventure that comes with it.

With this in mind, I’d like to share why it’s so important to me that people have dreams and then go off and live them. God only gave us one life (or a couple depending who you believe), and it’s generally a good idea to make the best of it. Of course we all need to develop a good moral makeup, treat people right, and so on. But then there’s the consideration for ourselves and the life that’s limited. How do we deal with that?

Well, my mom would two-step to Jim Reeves or Marty Robbins till the cows come home. My grandma would crochet a blanket for everyone she knows and most people she doesn’t know. My great grandpa would grow a jalapeno pepper for every person in Texas, maybe even two of them if they were nice.

What I’m saying is that everyone should have a dream, and then go out and make it reality. We all should figure out what we’d like to do in life and then go make it a beautiful thing.

Here’s an example at risk of offending a couple of people I really care about. One of them is a dreamer. I taught her to be a dreamer, not that it took much teaching. She’s really firm about her dreams and has turned them into goals. She’s like me because she’s got dreams and she has no fear of making them come true. She graduated from LCC last week with a big 4.0 average toward her dream, and a celebratory steak courtesy of her biggest fan. Her sister isn’t much different and I don’t mean to slight her, but she isn’t part of this story.

The other person that is part of this story is an opposite, equally as smart, but without a dream of her own at all. She’s floundering in life and having a hard time. She follows everyone else’s dreams, gives her energy to other people, and doesn’t seem to understand that she has all of life’s cards in her hand if she’d only take a risk, give a little effort, and play them.

Ironically, these people are the same age and have pretty much the same potential. So what’s the difference? Garth Brooks…simple as that. This isn’t a a political statement. Both of them have the same “disadvantages,” and yet one of them is kicking butt while the other is struggling at best.

Where I’m going with this is that America was built on dreams. People of courage come here, become part of society, and prove their worth based on a dream. Who cares where they come from, but they’re the meat of this country. This country was built by entrepreneurs, people with dreams and the ambition to make them come true. Most entrepreneurs live “average” lives in the course of fulfilling their dreams, and others fulfill dreams they didn’t even have, like Bill Gates or Warren Buffet.

So what does “The River” have to do with this? I think that if you have a dream and you’re not actively doing something to make it happen, then you need to change your perspective on life. In the old days Garth Brooks sang a song called “The River,” and it has been a motivator of sorts for me ever since. It’s an anthem for dreamers and entrepreneurs around the world. It’s a testament that you shouldn’t be afraid of the dream and just go out and embrace it. That’s what the world of small business is all about!

Over the last couple of months you’ve seen me discuss “What the data says,” and “What it doesn’t say,” and so on. This really just an annual checkup to see if the data supports the dream. I’m happy to report that this year’s data does support the dream and pretty much nothing else. My dream is to solve customers’ problems while welding my way through life. The data really doesn’t support anything different, and so I’ll work to find ways to keep the dream alive and follow the river where it takes me.

In case you don’t remember “The River,” I’ll leave you with a little taste:

Too many times we stand aside
And let the waters slip away
‘Til what we put off ’til tomorrow
Has now become today
So don’t you sit upon the shoreline
And say you’re satisfied
Choose to chance the rapids
And dare to dance the tide….
While you’re having fun over Memorial Day weekend, please take a pause for those who’ve made it possible. They sacrified their own dreams so you can have yours.