I have made no secret as to how I started out. Thirty-six years ago, I was a man in need of a job, desperate for a paycheck, and not sure where I would find my next meal. A suggestion offered by my dear friend, Vicente Wolf, to do flowers for his clients followed by a “why not?” led me to my first wedding, which led me to my second, and well, the rest, as they say is history. When I am asked about my path to success, I often find myself at a loss for words. The fact is, I am humbled by the opportunities that have found their ways to me and wake up every day grateful to have the chance to do what I love for some of the biggest days in my clients’ lives.
There are a number of books on the topic of following your dreams and finding success and while I am no expert on the subject, I have made my fair share of mistakes along the way while also picking up a few lessons. Today, I would like to address an email from a young man who wanted to know what I thought one had to stop doing to realize his dreams.
Toss The “Overnight Success” Ideal: When we look at successful people, we are able to look at their timeline and it can look a whole lot easier (and seem to have come into fruition a lot faster) than it actually did. Lasting success is a series of steps and stumbles – for everyone. There is a big different between a spark and a flame and while we can all have our 15 minute moments, the truth is, “overnight” usually takes a few years.
Be Realistic: We are in the business of turning dreams into reality, but reality is where we live so it’s essential to have a strong understanding of where you are, right now, and what you need to learn, polish, and prepare for in order to move further down your path. Confidence is an essential component to success, but it’s important to meet that confidence with capability. If you don’t know something, that’s OK! Try it, ask questions, take notes, and do better each time. That’s how we learn and as I always say, if you make enough mistakes, eventually you’ll become an expert.
Stay Focused: Trying to be a Jack or Jane of all trades is commendable, but it’s idealistic and self-defeating most of the time. Stay focused on the task at hand, be it learning all you can about a specific topic or area or setting up the business side of your company, and move on to the next thing only when you’re ready.
Remember That Motion-Creates-Motion: Whether it’s taking a course, brainstorming on a notepad, scouring for hidden gems for your clients, or one of the hundreds of other ways to explore, grow, and develop, it’s essential that we do something each and every day to propel us forward. Remember, even if we “fail,” we have moved forward because we have learned something. Don’t give up, give it another go.
Know That Fear Is a Liar: Isn’t it strange how so many of us anticipate the unknown to be negative? Yet, think about all of the firsts in your life – the first hello that led to a great love or friendship, the anxious question that led to a better understanding of a topic, the moment you nervously shared your dream with someone and they enthusiastically supported you. It’s one thing to be cautious, but facing fear, though difficult, is the only way we will ever get from A to B.
Finally, Keep Dreaming: Call them dreams or goals, whatever they are to you, keep them close to your heart and allow them to change as you learn, grow, and challenge yourself. They will shrink and expand according to the energy you put into them.