Dreams don’t work unless you do

Every single one of us has dreams we want to achieve. Some are big and some are small but inside us we crave to that success or break to get ahead. People often look at successful people and think they are lucky or have had a break to get where they are but the truth couldn’t be further from that as anyone who is successful has put in the work, driven by their dreams to get those opportunities and I guarantee it was not a straight road they took.

Throughout my career I have had the opportunity to work with very talented people, some a lot more talented than me. The most frustrating thing I saw though is when this talent was not matched with the effort to take these individuals where they could go in their career.

Personally I never looked at the individuals in my office or the country I was working in at the time, but rather I would look at the very best in my industry and aimed to be as good as them. Knowing that these people were world class creative or strategist I knew I had to work twice as hard to get anywhere near them in my career. So that is what I have always done.

So whatever dreams you have in your career or life it’s time to stop waiting for it to happen and start putting the effort in that will carry you through the a better life. Don’t get caught up in the small things that happen in your home, your office or with your friends. Don’t even be put off if things don’t go the direction you want either. Sometimes your road will lead you to a better place where more opportunities lay ahead.

You are the only person that can create change in your life and if you want it enough you will have to put that extra effort in to get it. Try thinking and visualizing of that moment when you have achieved a dream and then ask yourself, ‘what am I willing to do to make this happen, to have this feeling and to experience that incredible joy of achieving your dream.’ It’s okay to daydream about these moments; in fact I recommend it as it helps build that drive.

No matter where you are in life, no matter how many things have not gone your way, you can still start on that journey today to achieving your dreams. I have had more than my fair share of bad luck, wrong choices and missed opportunities along my journey but this hasn’t dulled my ambition one single bit, in fact I’m just getting started…And so should you!

 

Grip that steering wheel of life, put on your seat belt and push down the accelerator pedal, hard!

Have you ever had the feeling that your life could be compared to sitting in a car driving at top speed going round bends, over bumps and squeezing between other cars yet you don’t feel you even have control of the steering wheel?

This is a feeling that I think we all go through at times. Sometimes the drive is exhilarating, enjoyable and fun, a roof down, and wind in your hair dream drive. Other times, it can be terrifying, painful and you are just waiting for a mighty thump of everything to come crashing down around you.

Almost every person I meet seems to have this look that they are hanging on by their fingernails and if just one thing would work out everything would be okay, it would give them a pause to breath, to possibly enjoy the ride.

The journey we all take is never a single straight road and can be compared to a long distance journey filled with country lanes, motorways and busy city streets. Not forgetting that along this journey there are always bumps in the road, bends that are hard to navigate and more than once you will end up going down a dead end street and have to turn back and start a section all over again.

All these mishaps and challenges often feel like the end of the world or that you feel the road is just doing everything it can to make the journey as difficult as possible. But once we get past those various obstacles we realise there is a difference in how we approach the next challenge, and the next and so on. Looking back down the road we usually tell stories about the bumps in the road and the near misses as anecdotal snippets amongst friends.

Most of the time they will bring a smile to your face as you realise how much you’ve grown, learned and developed. Not always, but sometimes! So take heart where you are on this journey and see how much you’ve travelled as a person. One way or another you have grown so much and no matter what life hurled at you, you just kept moving forward.

So grip that steering wheel of life, put on your seat belt and push down the accelerator pedal, hard! Take on the next challenge with confidence and give it everything you’ve got. Nothing has stopped you, no matter what you have faced, you are here right now in life a better person, so fear nothing, and look down the road to a better, happier you because great things could be waiting just around the corner.

 

 

The road to success is always under construction

How many dreams have you let slip through your fingers because you were waiting for the perfect moment? Or are still waiting to be ‘ready’ to start something you want? In my home I have many sketchpads full of ideas, brands, business ideas and things I wanted to do all sketched out. Once in particular I remember once having an entire corporation drawn out from top to bottom with about seven or eight different product lines and revenue streams. All I needed to do was start with one of them in some shape or form. But I didn’t.

There isn’t a single month that goes by where at least one idea doesn’t come to my mind, most are just none starters but occasionally one shines amongst the rest and things just flow from that idea about how, why, where and which audience the idea would appeal to. But every time days stretch into weeks and months stretch into months before the idea is destined to sit on the book shelve forever. I would over think my ideas so much that I would either convince myself that it was never going to work or that I wasn’t ready or that I just couldn’t afford to do this at that moment.

Don’t get me wrong I have tried my own businesses before, more than once, and failed. The second time cost me practically everything I had ever worked for. It happened when the financial crash happened around the world. Yes it was probably one of the hardest things I ever went through. But I don’t believe in giving up. When I look back now at all of the things that didn’t work there are certain things each one helped in teaching me about myself as well as how not to make a business. I know now where my shortcomings are and I also know where my strengths are.

I have since started another business and I am looking at doing other things because if I have learned anything from my experiences there is no perfect time to start, there is no perfect way to begin a company. I started a social media community for collectors last year called Squirrol.com (after the most natural collector) I knew when I launched that it wasn’t perfect and things were not working the way I wanted but the best thing to do is to start. You don’t have to be great to start, but you do have to start to be great.

I have seen in the six months a community form and begin to grow. I have already had investors offering to partner with Squirrol which is amazing. The funny thing is when I look at the website all I see are the things I want to change or improve and realize if I had followed that train of thought I would still be working on the initial design. Whether Squirrol becomes a success or not is no longer important for me as I have learned so much in the process of starting this that it has been invaluable. Don’t get me wrong though I will do everything I can to make it work as I am very passionate about this community and giving collectors a place to meet, share, blog, and more things over the coming year.

So please don’t wait for the chance to start something, Take a chance on starting something whilst making changes on the journey ahead. Remember, the road to success is always under construction.

Everyone needs a hero

No matter who you are, where you live or what you do, there is always someone who can influence you. A heroic figure that, for any reason, makes you smile, makes you feel good about yourself or at the very least makes you want to be a better person. It gives us something to aim at, something to strive for on a daily basis and breaks that monotony of being in a rut which can so easily happen when we are just going through the motions of life.

My father has always been a hero of mine. I always thought that if I could be half the father to my kids that he was to my brother and I, they would be very lucky. Another hero of mine is Steve Jobs, predictable I know but the man’s ambition, drive and insight into what drives (drove) Apple to it’s lofty heights is nothing short of remarkable. Another hero would be Richard Branson, I do not have the words to describe my respect for this man and I am sure if he went into politics he would be living in number 10 Downing Street! Such is the love for the man by the real people of England who want it to return to greatness, or at least instill some long lost pride!

I have other hero’s from photography, design, typography, advertising and so on. In fact my life is full of hero’s that in everything I do I try to be the best I can be. It is something that my first hero, my father, instilled into my brother and I, as children. A real superman who put others before himself and gave us everything we ever wanted. Of course he couldn’t have done it alone and a super woman behind him, my mother. Who is your hero?

Why social media can be more real than the real world

Social media has been taking a real battering all over the world during the past year. From Iran, Egypt, Bahrain and even places like London questioning whether social media should be allowed to maintains it’s place in our lives has shocked many people to their core. When Iran closed Twitter and facebook there was uproar around the world as it showed a so called oppressive state in action. Equally, when Hosni Mubarak did the same in Egypt, every corner of the globe condemned the dictatorship and rallied with the protestors. So was London any different?

Well London was fueled by people who just wanted to cause trouble and steal. This had nothing to do with a person being shot, it had nothing to do with anything other than mindless fools trying to make the most out of a difficult situation. But surely the answer is not to turn off the power, especially in a country that prides itself on freedom of speech and respect for all. Surely Social Media, although a place where people can arrange things, is also a place where authorities can monitor the trouble makers and make arrests where necessary? So rather than being a problem for the police, it actually, if they use it right, will be an added area of security.

To shut down social media anywhere will take away from people who have truly found a voice in a world where they have felt alienated, lonely and separated from a chance to connect with people on a daily basis. It is no exaggeration to say that for some people the social media ecosystem is the only place that they really feel happy, comfortable and part of a community. And surely, isn’t that something we should all fight for?

Maybe, the only limits are in your mind

Do you believe that some people are lucky and others are not? Do you think that no matter what you do in your life you will never achieve your dreams? Then you are the one that is holding you back. You are the barrier that is stopping you move ahead in life and you are the pushing away all the wonderful things that your life could be. And I have been the worst culprit at this in times of my life, but it taught me valuable lessons I keep with me today.

Life happens! Things go wrong, financial crises appear only two months after you start a business (Yes this happened to me!) and you se other people seemingly float through life whilst you are stuck in the quagmire of doubt. The power of the mind is something we are still far from truly understanding, but stop for a minute, and just look around. Take Steven Hawkings, A man whose body is literally wasting away before his eyes due to motor neurone disease. But the man is a giant due to the power of his mind.

Steven Hawkings, a man who seems to have more letters after his name than actually in it, continues to amaze the world with his insights and his determination that no obstacle will come into his way as he makes the most out of his life. We can’t all be as clever as Steven, But we are not all faced with his difficulties, so whatever is in the way of you right now, you have to believe you can over come it and achieve everything you want. You have to reach for the stars and try to reach the unreachable, you may surprise yourself along the way. Good luck!

Have the confidence to walk through any negativity

No matter what you do in life, personal or professional, there will be people who have negative thoughts or actions towards you. Most of the time it is not even something conscious by them, but rather something that just stems from their personality or situation they are in at the time. The confidence you have in yourself will be half the battle, your actions in putting your plan into action, will do the rest.

Self doubt is one of the main reasons for failure in life. There are, of course, many situations that are just impossible to avoid, such as the recent financial crises, but confidence in yourself can help you overcome anything that comes in your path. You can, for example, imagine your confidence being like your health, if you do not exercise and eat correctly your health will suffer.

It is the same thing with confidence, it’s a constant process of building up your self esteem, giving yourself a pat on the back and making sure, on top of the big goals you have, have smaller goals that are attainable and reward yourself along the way. This helps immensely in gaining the momentum you need to succeed.

Very soon you will realize that you don’t even see or feel the negativity any more, because your focus is on the positive aspects of what you are doing and where you are going. So as you walk forward today, do so with confidence; and nothing will get in your way.

Life is not always about finding the answer

I doubt there are many people in this world who do not have a million questions rolling around their mind on any given day. Why doesn’t she love me? Why is he mean? When will I get a pay rise? Why do the children not listen? And even the big ones like; Why are we here?

Many of these questions could be answered very simply, yet I am sure that in most cases, even the other party cold not answer them. But the big questions in life keep us searching and guessing year after year. Religion and science play a ping pong game with the question leaving every one a little bemused by the entire question. But maybe we are not supposed to know the answer?

We are a curious species that always searches for more answers to everything in our lives. The hardest one of all would probably understanding ourselves, yet alone the other people we spend our time with. I have lost count the amount of times I have sat after an incident, once the initial anger subsided, lost in why I reacted the way I did. I have often not liked what the answer was as it showed my insecurities and worries, a defense mechanism because I didn’t like what was in front of me or what that said about me.

So the real question is could we really handle the truth anyway?  Whatever the truth and real story is about why why we are here and what we are supposed to be doing, we will obviously find out one way or another so whats the rush. Remember Einstein always used to say, “If I had one hour to solve a problem, I would spend 55 minutes finding out what the question is.” Maybe we are all just asking the the wrong questions?

The hardest thing to face is yourself

Life is full of obstacles and difficulties. This is a fact of life that we all accept as part of growing up. But there is nothing in life we will face that can have as a destructive, demoralizing and negative influence on our lives than ourselves. We are the toughest critic, the sternest of judges and the one person who can decide in life whether we accept or ignore the negative forces around us.

The easiest trick in the book is to blame someone else for the tough times we face or when things go wrong. But at the end of the day, we are the biggest obstacle we need to overcome, and if we could just understand that if we overcome this hurdle, face the demons inside of us all we would realize that the only thing stopping us reaching our dreams; is us.

I have looked long and hard onto the mirror on many occasions and asked myself who is really to blame for the failings in my life or for the things that went wrong. It is not easy to admit, that it was mostly, me. But to move forward, to learn from all the mistakes you have to accept responsibility for what went wrong. It will be the hardest thing you ever do, but when you do, you will see a clearer path ahead of you where the possibilities are endless and any obstacles seems passable.

You are supposed to be part of your conversation

When you hear the statement, “Voices in my head,” it usually brings up thoughts of crazy people right? Well I believe that we all have at least one voice in our heads.

I spend a lot of time watching people. I have always preferred to be on the periphery and let others be centre stage, just so that I could see how people act. I guess that is why I decided to work in advertising because watching how people react, buy, shop or do not is part of knowing how to communicate a product or service in a way a consumer wants to purchase it. I actually enjoy going shopping with my wife because it gives me a chance to see people in all different kinds of shops. Now we have kids it I have quite the catalogue in my mind of people arguing, discussing, enjoying and so on.

But what I notice a lot is the fact that most people, especially when they are alone, are in deep thought. But if you look very closely you can see a conversation going on right under the surface. Most people seem to hide it very well and know one would ever guess the conversational dual going on behind the eyes. But some are not so good at hiding this aspect of human nature. Only yesterday I was waiting for the bank ATM machine to be free which meant I was waiting around. A man passed me deep in conversation, in fact the guy was having quite a disagreement with himself! I searched the man, not literally obviously, rather scanned him for headphones or bluetooth, but no, he was talking to himself.

Society has made us ashamed of this aspect that we all do to some level. Without t we would not understand who we are, why we acted a certain way in a situation. It can be destructive or constructive, depending on our personalities. Personally I think it’s healthy, to a point. If it helps you understand the world you live in, doesn’t harm another person and helps you see things clearly; then join in the conversation that is going on inside your head, after all if your clever; who will will know?