Five years ago I would have never imagined I would be where I am today. Not only were we broke, behind on all sorts of payments, but we also had almost 25k in high interest credit card debt. I didn’t have consistent work and needed to find a way to provide for my family and dig out of the hole we were in.. After talking with some friends of mine, they encouraged me to just take a step forward and try something that I loved. That day I started to buy and sell things on Craigslist. Then I started a blog to record the crazy venture. Not long after that I started buying, selling and repairing appliances and have gone on to sell and deliver thousands of appliances over the years. The blog ended up being much more successful that I thought and eventually led to teaching people how to get into the appliance business and eventually the creation of ApplianceSchool.com Now that has turned into a very successful venture and just keeps on growing. Our debt has also been paid off. All because someone was willing to take the time to sit me down and encourage me to move forward.
Have you ever looked at someone that has achieved a good amount of success and found yourself muttering to yourself that they are nothing special? You see where you are at, then you see where they are at and it just blows you away that they have become more successful than you. Here’s the thing. Those that accomplish great things aren’t always the most talented, or the smartest or even the ones that work the hardest. Most of the time the thing that sets them apart from everyone else is that they were willing to get moving. They act on ideas instead of just talking about them. My goal with this post is to encourage you to focus on a course of action and get moving, and to just take a step.
What sort of ideas are you talking about?
I’m talking about starting a business, building something, inventing something, writing a book, improving an existing product or anything else that you’ve always wanted to do, but for some reason have never done. I’m talking about taking risks and doing things you’ve always wanted to but for one reason or ten, have never tried.
What if my idea doesn’t work out?
That’s ok, most ideas don’t work out. You can’t spend your entire life trying to get really good at coming up with good ideas without ever trying, and failing. Learning what doesn’t work is almost as important as learning what does. Everytime you try something and it doesn’t work out, you learn from it and move on. As time goes on you become wiser and your ideas begin to get better. You begin to recognize that maybe your first idea wasn’t so bad and you discover an even better idea along the same path. The best ideas are almost always discovered while you are moving.
There is a lion in the streets!
There will always be a lion in the streets, and a thousand other irrational reasons why you shouldn’t try to accomplish your goals. Here are some examples of where the lions come from.
1. Parents. Some of the lions come from our parents who only know how to give advice and encouragement if it involves us doing things exactly the way they did. This can be an especially hard one as we have built in such a strong desire to please our parents.
2. Snipers. Snipers are good at accomplishing nothing in life except discouraging others from accomplishing anything. They sit back and and try to snipe anyone that is trying to move. You can recognize and ignore a sniper by noticing that they are lightening quick to criticize your ideas, and extremely slow to ever encourage you in anything. Best not to associate with snipers.
3. Family members and old friends. God bless them, but sometimes those that were closest to us when we were young can be the most discouraging to us as we grow older. They tend to have the hardest time accepting that people grow up, mature, become wiser and can accomplish great things. It’s just too easy to remember our weaknesses and shortcomings and to imagine that those could be overcome. If this is one of your biggest source of lions, it’s often better to move out of the town or city that you grew up in and get a fresh start and a blank slate.
4. Depression. When we are depressed the world is by default half empty at all times. The odds are against us, there is no hope and we feel like there is no reason to even try. I’ve dealt with depression occasionally over the years. It will kill your ambition and at times gives birth to more lions than you can count. You have to focus on dealing with the depression before a right view of the world will be restored. I’ve found a few things very helpful.
A. First, eat healthy foods. Cut out junk food, soda, too much beer, eat smaller portions, eat more vegetables etc.
B. Exercise regularly. This is a huge one. It gives you more energy, helps keep us in shape, keeps us at a more healthy weight, you will have more energy and you feel better about yourself.
C. Spend more time outside. The more time you spend outside the better, especially if there is sun. If you need to, for your own well being, move somewhere that has more sun. Or take vitamin D supplements.
D. Spend more time with people. Depression has a close friend, and his name is isolation. Force yourself to get together with friends even if you don’t feel like it. It will help you take your mind off yourself.
The hard part is that there are legitimate reasons why it might not be wise to pursue a particular idea. Which leads me to the next question.
Who should you be listening to then?
Seek out other people and friends that have taken risks, lived life slightly unconventionally and that will listen and encourage you. Some of the most encouraging people in my life over these past number of years have been those that have also been laboring hard to start their own business. They understand what I have been going through and have experienced the ups and downs of trying new things or ideas. They aren’t always going down the same path, but they are moving, they aren’t on the sidelines. An ounce of experience is often worth more than a ton of theory. Find other people that are moving and listen to them, especially if they have found some level of success.
I would recommend following your skill. Often times that which we are best at is what we really enjoy the most. If you are good at writing, it’s most likely because you’ve spent a good bit of time working at it. Make a list of ideas and then put them in order or circle the top idea that you can’t seem to shake. Then, take steps towards accomplishing it, today. Keep working on it until you achieve it or it morphs into something else.
When I started, I had no idea what I wanted to specifically do. I knew what I wanted my life to be like, and I really liked business and buying and selling things. When my friends Chris and Jason put me to it and asked what idea I wanted to run with, I told them buying and selling items on Craigslist. I started later that day, and the rest is history.
It’s time to get moving
It makes me sad to see people with so much talent, skill and abilities sit on the sidelines for so long without taking action. So many ideas, plans and dreams lie dormant without a bit of effort to make them happen. But it doesn’t have to be that way. Everything can change in a moment by simply taking a step and beginning to move. If you have someone in your life that you can get together with, share your plan with and have them keep you focused and accountable on your plan, awesome! If you don’t, let me and this post be that person. Find the thing that you want or need to do and just do it. Work at it today, even if it’s just a little bit. Make some progress towards your goal and then tomorrow work some more. Learn as you go and always be keeping your eyes open for opportunity. Be stubborn to never give up your long term dreams and goals, but be flexible about the details and path that will get you there. I would have never imagined I would get into the appliance industry, but that’s where my steps have led and I couldn’t be happier.
What do you want to run with? What are you going to do? I’d love to hear your ideas, dreams and goals!