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Go Big, Part II

By Chuck Violand

December 4, 2017

The list of precepts I was given continued, but instead of getting simpler they seemed to be deeper and more involved.

Dream more than others think is possible. Before starting our companies, most of us probably had lots of time and energy to dream. We may have spent hours imagining our glorious futures. But that’s one of the paradoxes of owning a business. Once our companies are launched we can get so caught up in the daily grind of growing sales, making profits, meeting payrolls, and handling customer and employee demands that we find ourselves wondering when we’ll ever find the time, much less the mental or physical energy, to dream again.

If you’re bold enough to risk sharing your dreams with others, don’t let anyone tell you they can’t be accomplished. They are your dreams, not theirs. And don’t let their lack of enthusiasm or their inability to visualize your dreams diminish your enthusiasm. Every great dream must weather naysayers. They aren’t placed in our paths to undermine our dreams. They’re placed there to test our resolve.

Focus more than others think is reasonable.
It’s amazing what can be accomplished with a little focus. Take our sun, for example. Except for a few really cold and really hot places on Earth, our sun keeps us within a reasonable range of temperatures—just right for all the living creatures who inhabit its surface. But if you focus the sun’s energy through a magnifying glass you can ignite a fire or light cities. With focus in business, we can ignite people’s passions or light our companies on fire.

Being focused for three days is one thing; being focused for three years is better. Staying focused on a goal for an extended period can help us to achieve remarkable things. So, while focusing is the starting point, sustaining our focus is the key.

It took 185 years to build Paris’ Notre Dame Cathedral. Both the Bishop who authorized it and the architect who designed it were gone long before it was finished. Yet, 850 years later it stands as a testament to the amazing power of sustained focus.

When we maintain sustained focus in business, despite the blinding pace or shifting priorities, the lives and the businesses we build will serve as the cathedrals to our achievements.

Trust more than others think is practical. Trust is a fragile gift; one many entrepreneurs struggle with both giving and receiving. Many of us have controlling personalities. We like being in charge, and we’d rather “do” than delegate. While these are noble characteristics and will serve us well at various times, at some point we learn that if we’re serious about growing our businesses we’ll have to get serious about trusting other people. Occasional disappointments are the norm, not the exception. And we should never withhold our trust for fear of what others might think or say about our decisions.

These precepts are in a constant state of flux as we and our businesses mature. Some will rise in importance while others will recede, but they will continue to offer solid guidance as we move our companies forward.