This is a different kind of blog post, written by a colleague of mine, Seth Braun, from Fairfield, Iowa.
I like it because it speaks to the unintended consequences of trying an experiment.
I’m currently in the middle of running my Niching for Hippies program. The core of that program is the idea of ‘niche projects‘. Before committing yourself to a niche and getting married to it – go on a date first. Before you plant a garden, try a potted tomato plant. Start small.
My colleague Alex Baisley was the first one who really opened my eyes to the power and importance of experiments in life. He pointed out how even beginning the process of following your big dreams wasn’t a luxury. It was a doorway. That by even starting the process you discover new things.
I think about myself. I wanted to learn Scottish Gaelic. So I took five minutes to look for audio courses I could buy. I found one (which ended up being useless) but, in the process of that, I also came across the Celtic Studies program at St. FX University in Nova Scotia. Three years later, I was a student there. The next year I was a student at Sabhal Mor Ostaig, the Gaelic college on the Isle of Skye. Four years later, I co-starred in Canada’s second ever Gaelic language film. Two years later, I hosted the first ever Cape Breton Jam – a gathering for young leaders in the Cape Breton Gaelic community.
All from just taking five minutes to try to find some Gaelic learning programs.
If you’ve got an idea, just start exploring it. Don’t wait to be 100% ready. Just begin.
In Edmonton, we’re in the middle of our municipal election. And I can see how, over the course of the campaign, candidates are getting better. You’re never ready for a campaign. The campaign makes you ready.
Much of the time, the ideas you start with won’t be the ones you end with. But maybe the point of our inspirations isn’t about achieving them but about inspiring us to move to find something else that we’re unable to imagine when we begin.
In fact, for the linguistically curious, the verb ‘commit’, in Latin, means, ‘to begin’. All too often, people let the perfect be the good. I see it in niching all the time – needing to have everything figured out before even beginning to move on things. Just move. Try things. Start small. They probably won’t work out (the way you think they will). But try anyway.
There’s a power in just starting things and seeing where they take us.
And now, a beautiful story about the importance of this . . .
by Seth Braun
A long dim hallway from a store front suggesting breakfast.
The passage opens to the clink of spoons and the clank of mugs. He can barley see; the smell of strong coffee, fresh pastries – lights fade – chatting diners – speaking Icelandic – in total darkness?
Is this some strange dream?
The Icelandic Diner in the Dark wasn’t some strange dream; But a dream come true and discovery of destiny. But often our dreams require that we take the hero’s journey. That great mythic plunge into the adventure, mystery and the great unknown. Like Frodo stepping out of BagEnd, or Luke Skywalker naively stepping forward to seek Obi Wan. These great journeys mould and shape our psyche. But they are filled with terrible light and darkness. Often, the fear of the unknown we carry with us prevents us from taking the journey.
You don’t have to be afraid to follow your dreams into the unknown… even into darkness, if you bring these with you: Vision, Action, Confidence, Courage.
Let me weave a tale for you…
It started when my friend Brian Rochileau, or Rosh, came to me as a client.
“Seth – I have a crazy dream – house concerts – intimate music venues – in Iceland. I’ve already done them in the states, in Norway and Ireland… I think this is a first… I’m going to book the tour – produce the album and go buy the ticket.” It was more than a dream. Rosh had a vision! A vision he could see. A vision he could write. A vision he could speak. – “… just one thing, I need$10,000!”
I said, “Cool!, let’s do it.”
Spreadsheets. Pitches. Timelines. Strategies. Mindset….we laid the foundation and he hit the ground running… in ACTION… Rosh secured investment, got online and created a tour out of nothing, then recorded the album.
He was on his way to Iceland with consistent, persistent Action in his back pocket to keep the momentum going.
…But not without haters. You know what I am talking about… those voices from people around you, in your head…
You can’t do it…
You’ve never done it before…
Your too flaky…
You never follow through…
You are going to lose money…
The thoughts that dim the light of your enthusiasm.
Fortunately, Rosh brought confidence. CONFIDENCE – from the latin words con and fidelus – with and faithful – he was faithful to his dream. He bolstered his faith by speaking words, speaking truth, and words and the truth became his experience… Confidence… I can do this. Confidence… I am learning what I need to learn… Confidence… I believe in myself. I believe in my dreams… I can… I am… I believe.
Hitchhiking the rugged, volcanic landscape, Rosh’s confidence came through in two great shows.
Waiting for a ride to show number three, the northern solstice sun shone bright and long. Everything about the first four days was perfect… (except that fermented fish they offered him at the traditional festival, another story).
An old Toyota scooped him up at the agreed upon time and rolled to the next venue. A gothic church. Rosh doesn’t speak Icelandic. His chauffer speaks no English. Arriving at the venue, the driver unlocks the heavy doors, hops in the Range Rover and speeds off.
30 minutes before show time. Rosh nervously sets up.
15 minutes before. No host.
10 minutes. 5 minutes. No audience.
1 minute. No one.
And it happens.
All those voices came rushing into Rosh’s brain, hovering there, vultures blotting out the light of the sun, flapping their wings, skwawking, “we told you, you can’t do it, it’s not going to work, you are going to lose money, you are going to fail, you don’t have what it takes…”
It happens to all of us. Dissapointment. Frustration. We make mistakes. Our hearts break.
But this time, Rosh packed courage. He took it out of his bag with a big sheet of paper, captured the vultures, put them on paper and poured his heart out.
I am afraid.
I am angry.
I want this to work.
How can create magical experiences?
How can I have sold out crowds?
How can I connect more deeply, Heart to Heart?
Courage! – from the old French, cour, to take heart. He breathed deep and felt the emotions and poured them into a question… HOW? And then poured the energy into a show, tears streaming down his face, songs echoing into the cavernous sanctuary. His only audience was the waxing moon, passing through the stained glass windows.
He packed his guitar and bags, fell asleep on a pew, spent and hungry, saints watching over his slumber.
A storm passed over that night. A new day dawned… the pre-collapse economy of Iceland was flowing and record sales were strong and the next weeks were all hot springs, cozy living rooms with fireplaces, glasses of wine with the happiest and friendliest people on earth.
Rosh rolled into Reykjavík , the Icelandic capital on a sweet Sunday morning, hungry for a hearty breakfast – no fermented fish. Little did he know that he was stumbling into his destiny.
He made that stroll into the darkening corridor, with the smell of cinnamon rolls and French roast. Walked into that pitch-black café and bumped into a chair. Then he was pulled, almost tripping to his right.
Finding a seat… “What is this place…Who is pulling me?”
The Blind Waiter responded; “It’s a blind café, what can I start you off with…”
In those moments… on the journey of living his dreams, in Iceland, senses sharpened, immersed in the flavor and sounds, eating a rich breakfast in a Blind Cafe, a light goes in the darkness - A NEW VISION – the answer to the question… How can I connect, heart – to – heart.
Don’t be afraid to follow your dreams.
You have something that only you can give.
No one else has it. If you don’t share it with us, we’ll never get it!
Because Rosh took Vision, Action, Confidence and Courage on the volcanic journey into the darkness of the unknown, the World has the beauty of the Blind Café, music and dining in the dark, on tour in, Aspen , Austin, Boulder, Burlington VT, Cincinnati, Denver, Portland, Seattle… touching thousands of people, donating thousands more to service groups for the blind.
“The Blind Cafe seeks to support and create a deeper understanding of community, that inspires people to think differently and examine at how they relate with themselves and others. We help people develop a deeper sense of appreciation and compassion for people unlike themselves. We teach people how to listen to live music and to themselves again…. without the distraction of cell phones, social etiquette and visual conditioning. We partner with blindness organizations to provide community awareness and entertainment for the community. We provide a unique opportunity for the blind and sighted parts of our community to come together in discussion.”
Rosh took an outrageous idea and brought it to the world in over 25 live events across the U.S.
What outrageous dream have your stumbled into?
What vision has alighted upon your mind?
Is there a journey stirring your heart?
Don’t be afraid to follow your dreams, even into darkness of discouragement and defeat…but take these with you:
1. Confidence, – I am, I can I believe.
2. Courage – to face the fear and turn it into fuel,
3. Vision – see it, write it, speak it and
4. Consistent, Persistent ACTION
And if you find yourself in a totally dark place, that may be just the time that the lights go on for your destiny.
Don’t be afraid to follow your dreams!
About the Author: Seth Braun provides speaking, coaching, training and consulting services in support of individuals who want to develop their full personal and professional potential. He is also a devoted father and husband, an avid gardener, a musician, and a chocoholic. http://sethbraun.com/