Do you need permission to do the impossible?
Last year I took on what seemed like an impossible task. But it came off, and I learned a lot about myself in the process.
2015 was a year that forced me to reconsider my options as an entrepreneur. At the time I was a chef with a business that was doing well. That business got most of its credibility and advertising from a podcast which had achieved a lot of accolades. Most of the friends and entrepreneurs I associated with were relationships built through that podcast.
So when I was looking to make my next business move, it made sense that it would involve podcasting in some way. I saw so much potential in the medium.
After breakfasting with a mentor of mine one day, the seed was planted. I’d organise the first ever podcasting conference in the Southern Hemisphere. It was a pretty ambitious move – one that seemed impossible at the start. But long story short, the event happened, the attendees had a great time learning more about podcasting as a medium and for the most part, it was mission accomplished.
So today I wanted to share with you the main things I learned from moving so quickly from seed of an ‘impossible’ idea, to execution … and beyond. It wasn’t all giggles – but I got there in the end with a lot of help from my friends.
"The important thing is not the success or failure of the event. The important thing is the person you become as a result of attempting something like this."
1. Perfection schmerfection
My initial vision for the event was that I wanted it to be best of the best. And I didn’t want to compromise on things that wouldn’t match my perceived expectations. And if I’d been stubborn enough to keep to that perceived standard, the event would have never happened.
As it was, my stubbornness delayed the marketing of the event quite drastically. It was only very late on, a few months before the actual event date that I came to understand that when you take on something so huge, the iterations matter.
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The more iterations, the more you learn. The more you learn, the closer you can get to your initial expectations. In the future I want to give the speakers and the attendees better service and better experiences, and I will. But it wasn’t something we could have tackled on our first go (especially as this was the first event I’d ever run).
2. The process outweighs the outcome
Through my journey the prevailing thought was “Is this escapade going to be a failure?” And the more I thought about it, the more crippling the feeling got. Once again, a mentor of mine came to the rescue. He said: “Ronsley, the important thing is not the success or failure of the event. The important thing is the person you become as a result of attempting something like this.” That single line changed my perspective on the whole expedition. And it totally was an expedition.
3. You are your own worst enemy
You need to know that however successful you become as an entrepreneur, business owner, artist or athlete, your self-talk is always going to be your worst enemy. It isn’t the circumstances, it isn’t the people that don’t believe in you, and it isn’t the weather not playing nice. These are all temporary setbacks and they don’t count. So long as you can master the noise between your ears, you can master any adversity that comes your way.
Why would I do next time to better master the negative chatter in my head? I would meditate, journal and exercise more. All of these things would have kept the noise quiet for longer last year!
4. Lying in the foetal position on some days helps
There was this one day during the eight-month journey where my wife Rochelle came home from work and found me on the floor with my mind racing. The noise in my head had gotten too much and had taken control of my body. As counter-intuitive as it seems, those are the times that you need to just sit with the discomfort because that is (unfortunately … or fortunately) the part where you grow the most.
And when the time comes where you get asked ‘Is this all you got?’, sitting with that discomfort is what gives you the strength to say ‘No. I’ve got more.’
5. The right people around you matter
Through the last few paragraphs, I mentioned some people who kept me in check through the whole expedition: my team, mentors, wife and friends. They kept me sane. They helped immeasurably when it came to dealing with the noise between my ears.
In the end the biggest lesson I’d like you to take from the above is this: you need to go out and make your big idea happen. However difficult, however seemingly impossible. While articles like mine can (hopefully) help quieten the voice between your ears, at the end of the day, your persistence and courage is key.
And, I promise you the rewards are gratifying.