I started to notice the messages coming into my inbox. My email account kept announcing message after message being sent to me from Linkedin. Wondering what was happening, I logged in to Linkedin to see what all the fuss was about.
It turns out hundreds of people were sending me messages, congratulating me on celebrating 16 years of working at Initiate Media (or more to the point, 16 years since founding the company). My first thought was that I didn’t even realize that it had been that long since my wife of five months at the time and I unintentionally ventured into Christian media. She left her fulltime wage behind as we stepped into the unknown.
As I reflected back, mostly what I thought of was all the bills I have been responsible for ensuring were paid to keep the company solvent! I also thought about the many people who have worked with us over this time. But honestly, when I look back, I am surprised by how far we have come.
But really, we have just turned up, day after day and worked hard. We have put one foot in front of the other, and while reaching for a big vision, we have ensured each day’s activities have been attended to. Sometimes it’s boring things like ensuring company tax returns are lodged, and other days it’s been exciting things like joint ventures and acquisitions.
The one main takeaway I have though is just doing life – and shooting for your dream – one day and one step at a time.
I love the saying ‘most people overestimate what they can achieve in one year and underestimate what they can achieve in five years’. Yes, we live in an Instagram world, where people appear to have it all, but I can assure you that all good things take time. What goes up must come down, and often, the faster something comes up, that is the same pace in which it declines.
I am reading a book leisurely that we are about to publish and this section about foundations caught my attention.
I am sure you have seen a construction site before. I always find it exciting when large fences go up around a piece of vacant land or an old building. You know that something new and fresh is coming to that part of town. I am always surprised, though, at how much time passes before you can actually see anything start to happen. Sure, there are trucks and cranes and workmen around, but weeks, sometimes months, go by before any construction becomes visible. What are the crews working on during this time? Are they just sitting around refining the plans and working out where to start? Not at all. The work they are doing in those first few weeks might not look very impressive, but it is vital to the success of the whole project. They are building the foundation!
Foundations are important for two reasons. First of all, they determine how big the building that follows can become. The larger the building, the deeper the foundation needs to be. Secondly, they determine how long the building will stand. The stronger the foundation, the longer the building will remain intact, standing strong and secure despite shifts in the Earth around it.
Even as I sit and type this now, age has taught me to enjoy the journey and not just be focused on the destination. I spent my thirties doing nothing but raising young children and working, but now I realize that, while it’s great to have a dream, you have to enjoy the process along the way.
So never let go of that dream that is deep inside, but maybe just lengthen out the amount of time it might take to attain it. Yes, if you want to be a top model or a professional footballer, you need to be seeing serious success at a young age, but for the rest of us, there is still time on your side.
Matt Danswan is the CEO of Initiate Media, publishers of Entrepreneur Daily. He also blogs at www.mattdanswan.com and is the author of NOT Business As Usual.