On the surface, it seems there are four questions you might ask before starting any new venture:
- Is it feasible i.e. is it within the realm of reality?
- Can I do it, i.e. feasible for me?
- Is it worth doing? Will there be a market for what I want to sell; is there potential to turn a profit; will people appreciate what I am trying to do? In other words, does it make sense to put in all this effort?) And finally
- Do I want to do it?
But it is this last question that is the one that really matters: Do you want to create it?
Why? Either the venture is something that you want, or it’s something that leads to something you want. If it is neither of these, there’s no reason to act or to answer the other three questions.
There is simply no way you are going to give it your full effort if your heart isn’t in it at least to some degree.
Once you want to do something, everything gets reframed. The negative emotional response to all the unknowns is reduced. The reality hasn’t changed. You still don’t know what is out there, but you’ll find a way around the problem, because you care about what you are trying to do.
Let’ say you work for a farm machinery manufacturer, and your boss gives you the assignment of figuring out how to sell the company’s products in Eastovia.
Here’s how our four questions play out:
Is it doable? You haven’t a clue how to set up a distribution and service network in an underdeveloped country or whether your equipment is suitable to their hilly terrain.
Can you do it? Maybe. Maybe not. You’ve never done anything like this before.
Is it worth doing? Who knows the size of the market and whether it will be profitable?
Do you want to do it? Well, no. It’s the boss’s idea.
Situation #2 is exactly the same, but you are the one who wants to sell farm equipment in Eastovia. You think there is a huge opportunity and you have a compelling desire to give it a try, in no small part because your wife’s family lives there.
What’s the likely result in both cases? It isn’t a hard question.
In the first situation, where desire is not part of the equation, you aren’t in any hurry to do anything because the situation is so uncertain and unknown. You will keep thinking about what you are up against and search for more data. After all, it’s better to study carefully and make sure all the bases are covered than to launch, have it not work out and then have everyone say “you didn’t think it through.” At best you will take a lot of time and at worst you will put it at the very bottom of your “to do” pile, never taking any real action and hoping your boss never follows up, even though the opportunity might have been real.
But the presence of desire alters all of that. Because you want to do it, you are much more likely to take a first, small smart step toward solving the challenge. For example, the next time you and your wife are visiting her family, you stop in and see some local distributors and set up an exploratory meeting with the Minister of Agriculture’s staff. And as we see later (in Chapter 6), your passion for creating something new will make it far easier to get others to come along with you as either investors or employees.
Here’s one last reason that “want to” is so important. Nobody will be committed to what you’re doing if they don’t see your Desire, your belief in your idea, and your willingness to try to accomplish it.
So, before beginning anything new, ask yourself this: Is this something I really want to do. If it isn’t you are likely to be happier and more productive spending your time on something else.