Most of us are born to a great cheering section! We come squalling into the world to shouts of joy and tender kisses; words of encouragement continue as we grow. Someone is there to marvel over our little ears and count our fingers and toes; it’s a miracle when we reach for someone’s hand; the world stops when we put our own toes in our mouth! And when we start to walk? Well, we might as well have parted the Red Sea!
I’m not sure at what point it is that we collectively decide that we no longer need to cheer the individual on in their endeavors, or if that’s even what happens. It’s just as likely that we grow up thinking that encouragement is for “babies” and we stop hearing it. Whatever the situation, we find ourselves all grown up looking at the glass of our lives and asking “Is it half full? Or is it half empty?”
Some folks are perennially optimistic; they’re usually characters on bad sitcoms.
Real life experience dictates that we all have ups and downs, or as Jim Rohn talks about, seasons. Roughly paraphrasing, Mr. Rohn teaches that in life and in business there are four season and they can happen in quarters as they do in a calendar year, or they can happen within a quarter: in Spring, we plant, in Summer we tend and begin to harvest, in Autumn we reap and in Winter, it seems that the soil lies fallow, and so we lose faith.
But it is in Winter that we must truly walk by faith and not by sight, for there is much going on. At some point or other, we have all suffered through our own personal “winter”; if you happen to be going through “winter” right now, take heart, for it is a certainty that Spring follows Winter, no matter what. It has always been so and so it will always be.
Jim Rohn is one of my favorite mentors and I’m botching his training here; it’s worth finding and learning, for there’s so much more to it than what I’m laying out for you. My point is that we all go through times when we need someone to blow a little wind into our sails.
Unfortunately, particularly if you’re someone who doesn’t walk a common path (read: entrepreneur, homeschooler, add your own unconventional “tag,”) it can be difficult to find encouragement and inspiration because more likely than not, the folks you spend the most time with are threatened by your “unconventionality,” and they’re worried about you; they don’t want you to get “hurt,” emotionally, financially or otherwise. And, of course, they don’t want to get hurt, either, when you realize your dreams and they realize that they should have followed theirs. That’s another post.
So, what’s an entrepreneur to do?
Keep your eyes and ears open! There’s inspiration all OVER the place! It’s around every corner! In every nook and cranny. When you start looking for it, you’ll find it and all of a sudden you’ll come to see with startling clarity what “your attitude is your gratitude” means! Not only are there easily googled groups of like-minded people that you can connect with online (forums, etc.), but you’ll find that when you’re looking for it, inspiration is in the words of songs, the lines of books, billboards, T-shirt sayings and street signs.
Here’s a perfect example. My husband is an avid outdoorsman. Lately, he’s been all over any- and everything done by Ray Jardine. If you’re of like mind, you can check Ray and Jenny Jardine out at their website http://www.rayjardine.com You’ll get lost in there for weeks; it’s pretty fantastic stuff. But I digress!
In the chapter on Long-Distance Hiking in his book
Trail Life: Ray Jardine’s Lightweight BackpackingRay Jardine writes about dreams:
“Dispersed campfire coals extinguish themselves. But scooped together they can ignite the kindling to produce a heartening blaze. And so it is with dreams. Scoop them carefully and purposefully together, fan some life into them, and they can engender a blaze of resolve and purpose. And scoop together the disparate but glowing fragments of our lives – the innate talents, abilities and courage within us all, and we become far more capable.”
I don’t know about you, but that image is one that I immediately tucked into my “inspiration” ditty bag. I keep it there with the other gems I’ve collected, and continue to collect every day. When I need them, I take them out, squeeze a dollop into my hand and apply liberally. I encourage you to do the same. Let me know how you make out!