Olympreneur

"Everytime you wish for something, keep your eyes wide-open, focus and know exactly what you want. No one hits the target with eyes closed."
- Paulo Coelho

Recently, I was in a friend's office and noticed on his wall, a framed picture of his tickets to the Olympics. I thought it was interesting because he is an entrepreneur and it reminded me of another friend, also an entrepreneur, who uses the idea of becoming an Olympic athlete as a metaphor for entrepreneurship.

I love entrepreneurship. I love entrepreneurs. And, when I was an entrepreneur, I loved the experience of being an entrepreneur.

The one thing that stands clear in my mind about entrepreneurship, is that the primary intention of entrepreneurship has very little to do with the practical issues of building a business and everything to do with living out your purpose and creating a life of meaning. It's about passion and purpose and honoring your Personal Legend.

In my experience of being an entrepreneur, I have discovered a formula for entrepreneurial success... and perhpaps it's a formula for Olympic success, too.

My simple formula for entrepreneurial success requires three steps:
1. Dream
2. Focus
3. Discipline

These three steps need to experienced in this order and the cycle is never complete.

Dream
Essential to living large is dreaming big. Consider the Olympic skater -- they must have the dream, the idea, the vision and the heartfelt desire to become an Olympic skater. Can you imagine an athlete achieving Olympic success without a passionate dream?

Yet, most people rarely have the courage to dream big. Instead, they are practical. They use duties and obligations to justify a smaller, realistic dream. You can recognize the dreamless by their words. Can't and but are sprinkled throughout their conversations-- especially when the conversation inches close to topics about passion, purpose and living a life of meaning. Some of these people may even be successful by objective measures of success. Their bank account and personal balance sheet may be full, but they are forever searching for something greater, their passionate dream having been sacrificed along the practical path to success.

Focus
Focusing can only happen after dreaming and it, too is a continual process. Imagine the Olympic skater. That skater may have dreams of being an speed skater or a free-style skater or part of an ice dancing pair. At some point, when they decide they want to become the best, they make the choice to focus.

The misconception about focus is that it is a one-time event. Instead, focusing is a continual process. After the Olympic skater decides what kind of skater they are going to become, there are many opportunities along the path of becoming an Olympic skater to change their mind and become a different type of skater. This is especially true when they face an obstacle or failure; an inevitability for anyone on the path to something great. Faced with an obstacle or failure, they may be seduced by another possibility and drift off-focus. It takes great strength to remain focused on the original dream.

Many years ago, I co-founded a poster publishing business. One of the reasons we were successful and became profitable quickly is that we were focused on our mission. People would say, "why don't you do t-shirts?" or "how about doing framed prints?", and I would say, "Posters! We do posters!"

T-shirts? Nope! Doesn't fit!

Art prints? Nope! Doesn't fit!

By eliminating the ideas that didn't fit our mission, we freed-up mind-space and were able to get closer to realizing our dream.

Discipline
While dreaming and focusing are mostly activities of the mind, discipline is revealed in actions and acts as announcement to the world that you are serious. The Olympic skater may dream about becoming an Olympic skater and focus their mind on becoming a specific type of skater, but until they take action, their mission cannot be realized.

I used to teach a class on entrepreneurship to aspiring entrepreneurs. I started to notice that these entrepreneurs would rarely share their business idea and dream to the class at the start of the class. At first, I thought this was because they thought someone would steal their idea. Over time, I learned that people were genuinely afraid to make a public committment about their business idea for fear that then they'd have to actually do something about it.

In business, we are frequently faced with challenge and failure. Only by facing these challenges and failures, do we emerge as a success. Often, when we see the Olympic athelete, we only see their success. They make it look simple. Yet, we only see three minutes of success-- we don't see the lifetime it took to get there. We don't see the first time they put on skates and wobbled around on the ice. We don't see the effort they put into their dreams of greatness. We don't see the choices they had to make along the way-- passing up opportunites that may have looked great, but didn't fit their focus. We don't see all of the competitions that they lost. We don't feel their defeat and we don't hear their mind-chatter of self-doubt.

The path to entrepreneurial success is no different than the path to Olympic success. Do you take the time to refresh your dream, adding new texture along the way?

Do you have the courage to eliminate all of the opportunities that don't fit your focus?

And, when you face defeat, can you muster up the strength to try agin?

******
p.s. I wrote this nearly 12 years ago and found it in a stack of stuff today. My writing-style from this time seems a little bit stilted to me and it needs some work, but the underlying message is as true today as it was then and it seemed a timely topic with the Olympics. Dream. Focus. Discipline.

I think I'll go lie on my bed now, and focus on the discipline of dreaming. ;-)


Links Topics : https://news.c10mt.com/2010/02/olympreneur.html