You’ve got dreams that the world needs.
The good news about we Americans is that we have strong entrepreneurial DNA. If you can do it better, go start it. But you’ve also got things that drag you down and make your dreams seem impossible. So much in life is optional, yet all of us at one time or another have felt like our options are limited. We find ourselves just trying to cope with reality, much less launch out into some new realm. And we can become cynical about ever seeing our dreams live.
If this is you, how do you begin to invest in your dream?
My recommendation is to find someone else’s dream to work on before starting to work on your own. I say this for four reasons.
1. Mentoring. We benefit from having someone more experienced than ourselves showing us the ropes. We need to see how things work. We need to understand how customers think. It is much cheaper to learn from someone else’s mistake as opposed to making your own mistakes. Jesus showed us how this was done, saying to his Father, “Not my will, but yours be done.”
2. Connections. If the person you’re working for has a network, chances are you may be introduced to some part of it. One of the best things about serving another person’s dream is that you have the chance to connect with others who might help you make it a reality in the future.
3. Humility. Serving another person requires that you subordinate your desires. But a season of that can actually be good – it will humble you and teach you to remember others as you climb your way to success. I remember how insufferable I could be when I was in my 20’s and working for others. My attitude needed an adjustment. Being brought low as I worked for others was a good thing.
4. Practice. Let’s say your dream is to start a nonprofit organization. Think about the different pieces of the value chain in most enterprises: Design, marketing, sales, staffing, operations, finance, and accounting for starters. You can’t learn enough about how they work in the area you want to address in a book or a school, and it’s expensive to learn it in the school of hard knocks. The best way is to practice while working on someone else’s dream.
God made us to dream and loves it when we take risks to build his kingdom. So, dream away. And when you settle on a dream worth your energy and life, I suggest you work on someone else’s similar dream first. Offer your services to someone you respect and and share your dream with them. If they’re working in a related field, ask them about how you can help them make their dream a reality. Tell them how long you’d like to commit to that effort. If after further conversation they accept your offer, then determine in advance how you will evaluate your future together.