I was approached by a group of undergraduate students this week. They told me that they had decided to start a consulting firm to help small businesses implement social media into their marketing plans. I told them that I thought that that was wonderful. They looked at each other with a look that revealed that there was more to the story.
These students were working together on a project for a marketing class, and they decided to write the business plan for their new business as part of this class. When they shared this idea with their professor, he told them that he is investing in another firm made up of past students, one a recent MBA, who are doing precisely the same thing. He discouraged them from starting a competing business.
Then he did the unthinkable. He asked them what made them think that they were qualified to start a social media consulting practice.
They asked me what I thought. I won’t write the words I used here. But I reminded them that they never need wait for anyone’s permission to follow their dreams, and that I personally expect them to chase their dream with all of their might, come what may. That is what their lives are for.
I know people that make their living in social media. Many of them have no marketing degree. Some of them have no college degree. All of them have the qualifications to be social media consultants. Here’s what makes them qualified:
First, they are immensely knowledgeable about the subject. They read, write, think, and speak about social media. They know their subject inside and out. You are immensely knowledgeable about your dream, too.
Second, they are passionate about it. They are all practitioners. They live it, and they walk their talk. They produce results, and they know how to help others do the same. You are passionate about your dream, too, even though you might think it’s silly to pursue it.
Which brings us to the third qualification: value creation. All of the people that I know in social media (and I know lots) create value for their clients. They help their clients produce better results and move their business forward. There is something that you can do that others will value, and they are waiting for you to shine.
But my friends in social media have one more thing in common. They didn’t wait for anyone to give them permission. They made a decision and they started. That’s it. They took action, and taking action is what it takes.
You are qualified already.
On Gene Simmons and Your Dreams
When I was a kid I saw the band Kiss twice. At the end of both of the concerts, Gene Simmons ended the show and left the stage with this statement: “Don’t take shit from anybody.” It sounds like something a rock star might say, doesn’t it? I thought it was cool at the time, and that was decades ago for both the God of Thunder and me.
As it turns out, it’s good advice.
It’s wrong to stomp on someone else’s dream. But it’s even worse to allow someone else to stomp out whatever passionate flame burns in your heart. You have to believe and you have to fight for your dream. No one has the right to tell you that you can’t pursue your dreams, and you have no right to give up on your dream because others don’t believe or support it.
You aren’t here to live half a life.
If you are going to bring you’re A-game, if you are going to bring your rock star performance, you are qualified for whatever it is you aspire to.
You never have to wait for a permission slip. You give yourself permission.
Now go and take action, and don’t take shit from anybody.
What makes you qualified for whatever it is that you want to do?
Who gives you permission to live your dream, as crazy as it might seem to others?
What’s your dream?
Who has tried to tell you not to live yours?