By Patrick McFadden
Thinking about our future is easy. We all think, all the time. We spend time thinking about starting a business, thinking about writing that book, thinking about speaking to a group, thinking about having that meeting or thinking about the wonderful things our cause-based organisation can do. Thinking isn’t so hard. But taking action on what feels like a risk is hard and fearful. Taking action on our dreams is what’s fearful and it’s fearful because we are entering unknown territory and with unknown results. One of my favorite quotations is by Grace Hansen who once said:
“Don’t be afraid your life will end; be afraid that it will never begin.”
There are typically 3 reasons we never act on our dreams:
- Fear of failure. Let’s talk about the first part fear. Fear is the natural reaction to taking a risk. While risk is real and external, fear exists only in our imagination. Fear is the exercise you give your mind, thinking about what will happen if things don’t work out. Failure, on the other hard, the second part is “an event not a person.” All of us fail. The people we view as successful fail often, and, worth noting, learn more from that failure than everyone else. The secret of failing isn’t to avoid it – it’s to recognize that failing is not fatal! They are necessary stepping-stones on our path to success.
- Lack of knowledge. Creative, nontraditional, or pioneering skills are not just things we come across. We have to learn how to invest, how to deal in real estate, how to evaluate business opportunities, or perhaps how to manage employees and an organisation. But these are all things that can be learnt and should never prevent us from exploring new options to do work that matters, is meaningful, and purposeful.
- Perceived lack of money. Money is not really what’s holding us back. We think we don’t have enough money to take the first steps toward our dreams, but the problem usually comes back to fear of failure or lack of knowledge. I know not for profits wanting to find start-up money for new programs. And, yes, capital is difficult to find—especially for cause-based organisations. Does that mean it’s impossible to launch an initiative without start-up capital? Absolutely not!
Question: What’s holding you back from taking that first step of acting on your dreams?