Do not spoil what you have by desiring what you have not; remember that what you now have was once among the things you only hoped for. Epicurus
Last week I wrote an article on my experiences taking the Google designed SIYLI course. Part of the course incorporated a great exercise to start the building your future and developing a plan by Writing and Imaging Your Future.
Try it right now. Write down what you feel is the best possible version of yourself in your future. Maybe it’s becoming a yoga instructor or owning and running a food truck. Your personal future goals start now in the present.
During the course I imaged my future was running a creative design and experiential media business. I pictured a situation where I was in an inspiring office environment surrounded by drawings, sketches and prototypes of projects I was working on.
Since that day when I recognized my future path and focused on the goal, situations have presented themselves daily. I’ve worked on multiple corporate video shoots, two web series, two feature films and two shorts. I’m expanding my sound library, developing my immersive interactive kiosk and visual display prototypes.
I’m creating the brand of a new startup venture, designing interiors of a retail store, conversion of a massive old mill and finishing my first book.
Lately I’m attempting to declutter my life by selling off old things that are no longer inspiring. Since recognizing my future my mind is constantly focused on structuring my thoughts and situations that expand upon my vision.
If you’ve followed my advice you should be able to look down at your paper and see your future. It’s hopefully there in black and white. Maybe you thought about it before, talked about it with your friends yet nothing materialized. But I’m going to give you the secret to how to start that startup.
The Power of Now
There isn’t any better time to do anything than right now. It doesn’t have to be a huge step. Take one small step once a day for a week and see where you are in a week, in a month.
24 days ago I was a reader on Medium. I’d read 4–5 articles a day and think to myself one day I’ll write an article of my own. And then I did. My first article yielded about 35 views on its first day. Not bad for starting at zero. Second article 82 views in one day. Now I’ve got 700 views, I’m a paid writer for The Startup and developing a following. Incremental steps that honestly I never would have taken if I hadn’t decided to just start now.
A good plan violently executed now is better than a perfect plan executed next week. General George Patton
Okay so maybe I’m not the best writer you’ve ever read, however the best thing I ever wrote was the plan for my future.
Lacking in funding, tools, abilities is not an excuse for not starting. It’s the best recipe for success. Money and a room full of equipment won’t build an amazing product. Your ingenuity will.
Write down your top five favorite products and the companies that produce them that you use daily. Here’s mine:
- iPad, iPhone, MacBook Pro- Apple
- Oatmilk- Oatly
- Silencer/ Convertible Pants- Kuhl
- MOAH 2- Merrell
- Polo Shirts- Orvis
Now as I analyze my list I can’t help but think of each companies products design, taste and feel.
Apple products have a form and function that I absolutely can’t live without. As tools of my trades I need a product that will just work. My creativity and workflow is rarely hindered by Apple products as they just function well. An important feature modeled into the fabric of the Brand and subsequently the company.
My lattes have never tasted better than after my discovery of Oatly. Reading the product labels I find a company with humor and foresight. With an importance on the ingredients and sourcing I know Oatly is out for both of our best interests.
Staring at a blank piece of paper in which I had written my future vision. And here I am doing it, building my future. Writing my first article it started with one word, then a title, then a sentence, paragraph and then I published it. Was it perfect? Hardly. Did I do it. Absolutely I did. Would I do it again. Yes. Everyday.
Every minute of my day I’m designing. Products, interiors, articles and sounds. I spend zero time dwelling on time I wasted in the past and only what I can do right now to move my business forward. And that’s by just starting something new right now.
Honestly assessing our favorite daily products and brands allows us to analyze why we use them and why we love them. And now the next lesson for today…
The Power of Why
Why do I absolutely love the products I use daily? Some reasons are technical, some reasons are ethical, some reasons are practical however none of them are based on price. I honestly don’t care about price. Now having said that I know what your thinking.
Not quite. I’ve evaluated each of the products I know I love and need to be happy. I enjoy the way I feel and function daily while using these products and brands. There is no way I can put a monetary value on my happiness.
So how does this help your startup?
Build the company of which you’d buy the products from. Don’t worry about profit margins, marketing tactics or distribution chains. Worry about building a great Brand. A brand that cares about quality of its ingredients and that the user experience is unforgettable.
As you look back down at your paper that states your Imagined Future, ask yourself WHY?
- Why am I starting this company
- Why am I designing this product
- Why is my service the best
- Why do customers trust my brand
My favorite things in life don’t cost any money. It’s really clear that the most precious resource we all have is time. Steve Jobs
Answer why, and if you say it’s for money, your probably in it for the wrong reasons. A lot of my services I give away for free. Know why? The return on investment is often huge. More doors open and more opportunities present themselves, and money always comes. But on my terms as I’ve decided to control my future.
Why… for me.