Entrepreneurs sometimes face the question “Are you a doer or dreamer?” This issue also surfaces in the “ideas vs. execution” debate. Ideally you’re are both, but whatever happens, to succeed you must always execute.
While it’s true that it is much harder to execute than dream, it’s the visions and dreams that inspire entrepreneurs to create and build. A world without dreamers would be dull and inspiring. As Henry Ford once said
“I do not believe a man can ever leave his business. He ought to think of it by day and dream of it by night.”
Why Some Entrepreneurs Only Dream
There are several reasons why so many entrepreneurs remain dreamers and never do. The most common ones include:
1. Fear. This is usually a fear of failure, but it is sometimes a fear of success as well. In order to succeed, entrepreneurs must embrace failure as part of the natural learning curve.
Almost every successful entrepreneur has at least one failure, many several. Failure is often a necessary step on the path to success. As Michael Jordan said, “I have failed over and over and over again in my life and that is why I succeed.”
2. Perfectionism. Some entrepreneurs are not willing to create or launch until their idea or product is perfect. They get stuck in a cycle of pre-launch iterations or endless research.
As an attorney, perfectionism was something I strived for. As an entrepreneur and Peak Performance Coach to entrepreneurs, it’s something I quickly recognized I needed to leave behind.
Perfectionism is the enemy of entrepreneurs.
Linkedin Founder, Reid Hoffman took this sentiment to the next level when he said, “If you are not ashamed of your product when you launch it, you launched too late.”
3. Lack of Focus – Most entrepreneurs have a strong creative streak running through them. This is usually an asset, except when it is distracting. There you are, in the middle of trying to launch your product and you suddenly spot another great opportunity.
To succeed as an entrepreneur, you must develop the discipline of focusing on the task at hand. You can return to the other “opportunity” after you have made the present dream a reality.
Tony Robbins summed up the price of a lack of focus when he said
“One reason so few of us achieve what we truly want is that we never direct our focus; we never concentrate our power. Most people dabble their way through life, never deciding to master anything in particular.”
4. Not Hungry. Entrepreneurs who succeed are always hungry. They have the “eye of the tiger.” Sometimes the hunger stems from unhappiness and frustration with their present circumstances, which is transformed into the drive necessary to create a successful business. Sometimes it’s simply a hunger and burning determination to make their idea happen.
An entrepreneur who is “comfortable” and who does not feel that they “must” make their dream a reality is unlikely to do and succeed. “Nice to have” is the wrong fuel for the entrepreneurial journey.
The last word on this goes to Mark Twain who said, “Hunger is the handmaid of genius.”
From Dreamer to Doer
When you analyze the reasons that many entrepreneurs never do, it’s clear that in most cases the cause is not a lack of skills, but rather the maintenance of a set of disempowering beliefs and an unfit psychology.
As life frequently shows us, strongly held beliefs can change in an instant (the world was once believed to be flat and no one would walk on the moon). And like muscles, an unfit psychology can become super fit with the right exercises.
So if you decide to remain a dreamer, then own it as something you have decided to do, rather than hide behind paper thin excuses. At least to that limited extent, you will be able to say you have done something.