In this new series, I am going to share my secrets of building a business, following the analogy of building a house. There are many similarities between these two endeavors, and many of the same factors must be considered. In actuality, you can apply the factors I’ll be laying out to either activity.
In this article, I’ll be listing out the most important factors, and briefly touching on each one. In future articles (and in the resulting ebook), we’ll be taking up each one in detail.
Any endeavor in life must begin with a clear vision of what you want to achieve. If you don’t have a definite idea of what your house should look like, inevitably others will impose their ideas of how it should appear. We know from life that many people have blindly accepted such advice, and have ended up living in houses that they didn’t like.
Blindly accepting someone else’s advice about how you should proceed can, of course, happen in many ways. For example, how many people have you been advised to bring into your life that you’re not really fond of? It even happens that someone who has only been married for a short time suddenly realizes, “I shouldn’t be married to this person!”
Everyone has their own individual vision. You might not only have a vision for a house, but for a whole city. Why not? It has certainly happened, and just as certainly become reality. A senator and copper mining magnate named William Andrews Clark had the foresight to establish a tiny desert town as a maintenance stop on the Los Angeles-Salt Lake City Railroad in 1905. Clark’s actions quite literally put Las Vegas—today a world-famous multi-billion dollar resort—on the map.
We know there are other visionaries who have built unbelievable places. The city of Dubai, arguably one of the top tourist destinations in the world for the wealthy, is also built on the shifting sands of the desert. It includes the tallest building in the world, Burj Khalifa. It was Sheikh Khalifa, Emir of Abu Dhabi, who had this amazing vision and brought it to fruition.
Don’t blindly accept others’ judgments of your vision. Likewise, don’t judge others’ visions–you never know where they’ll end up.
Not Just a Dream
If you’re going to have a vision to build something, don’t keep it as some far-off dream. Many people want to create something and end up endlessly sitting on the couch, in front of the TV, thinking about it. They talk about what they would like to build, but never actually do anything about it. A vision without action is merely a dream. To become reality, a vision requires action.
At the same time, accomplishment of that vision requires commitment. That commitment can and often does consist of many painful experiences. I know there are probably many who don’t want to hear that today but ask one Olympic champion how easy or painless it was to get there.
Take for example the champion swimmer. They rise at 4 or 5 o’clock in the morning and train for 6, 7, 8 hours a day. They do that for several years, and if they’re extremely good, they win a gold medal. But then they lose the next gold medal by a fraction of a second, so they have to become motivated to put in all that intense work all over again. It requires a tremendous amount of commitment and dedication.
When you have a vision, it takes a lot of painful experience and considerable commitment to reach it.
It’s also true that you can have the grandest vision in the world, but it requires power to bring it about, or it will never happen. Visions can be quite costly. The bigger the vision, the more it will cost. Jesus even pointed this out when he said, “For which of you, intending to build a tower, does not sit down first and count the cost, whether he has enough to finish it?”
Really pursuing a vision cannot be done without money. When you begin your endeavor, you must assess whether or not you have enough money to make it. If you yourself don’t have the funding, do you need credit or investment money from others?
Obtaining funding doesn’t mean that the risk is reduced, or that you’ll have a reduction in hard work, dedication, frustration and everything else that goes with it. But you will need proper funding to build your vision.
Sheikh Khalifa was able to accomplish his vision of the tallest building in the world because he had nearly endless financial resources, from oil. The majority of us don’t have such resources, though, and must work hard to find them.
When accomplishing your vision, time is a very important factor. In erecting a building, you’re coordinating an enormous number of tasks, all of which must be completed within certain time frames. As any contractor will tell you, delays in construction are very costly.
Another aspect of time must be regarded also—the time at which you decide to pursue your vision. For example, a great many homes were completed and ready to sell in 2008, when the market collapsed. Many of these homes were sold at prices well below what they were worth, and some of the larger ones weren’t sold at all.
There are other risk factors you must take into account. As an example, in Los Angeles, we worry about earthquakes. There’s also a risk of fire here, and if the house you’ve just built is caught right in the middle of a fire, it is now gone.
You might see the risk factor as requiring a bit of luck, which is also involved. To successfully build something, you need to be at the right place, the right time, with the right people in the right places all working together with great spirit to build something outstanding.
The Human Factor
The larger the project, the more people involved, which makes any undertaking more complex and can cause more problems. When people are involved, there will always be issues, just because of human duality—there is good and evil in all of us.
People also come and go, and the more important their role is, the more their absence is an issue. For example, what if one of your core personnel has an accident and cannot be there, and you have a deadline to build your house?
As I said earlier, there will always be critics and criticism. Constructive criticism can help, but just blatant negative criticism does not. If you know your vision is correct, you always have to reaffirm with yourself that your vision is something you can do.
There will, of course, be times you yourself will doubt your own vision. That doubt, like the negative criticism, won’t help you, either. You have to hang on, not give up, because there will certainly be moments when you want to quit and walk away.
Your vision, you will find, is the source of your inner energy, the source of your power, the fuel for your engine. If you constantly need approval from others, you will fail. Only if you believe what you have inside you, what is motivating you, will you succeed. Even the best coach and mentor cannot coach you enough if your inner vision is not strong. We come into, and go out of, this world alone. The only thing that will get you through is your own power you have within yourself. Never give in to the naysayer or the doubter, whether it’s someone else or yourself.
Remember that a vision is only impossible to accomplish if it’s not done. So hang onto it and do it!
As you are building your vision, you move through such issues, and the vision becomes more and more clear. It also becomes purer, like gold being refined.
In this series, I’m going to share how we built our house, and also share the principles we learned along the way. Stay tuned!