So there’s a difference between collecting information and actually building a business. A yarn about the pitfalls of achieving success on adrenalin alone with a worksheet on how a little preparation can make all the difference.

Just after my 30th birthday, I decided I was going to publish a magazine. I had always loved writing, debating and politics and my idea was to combine the three and provide a modern, exciting new platform for Australians to discuss the country and its ills. The mere thought of having my own publication energised me from the moment I woke up, and everyday I couldn’t wait to ‘get at it’ in my dining room slash office. My head overflowed with visions of people submitting their articles and me, the Editor, wielding my power to determine who was printed to page and who wasn’t.

In those first few months, it never entered my mind that my dream would not come to fruition. I was blinded by fervor. I spent full days at the library [no publicly accessible internet back then, just the Dewey Decimal System] researching the components of a magazine, the intricacies of publishing, and floating on the motivational experiences of Nene King, Ita Buttrose and Lisa Wilkinson. When a new ‘action’ presented itself, it was added to my To Do List. Initially an A5 index book with a picture on the front of me superimposed next to Lisa .. which quickly turned into a coloured ringbinder with alphabet and by-the-month inserts. Working part-time as a Cleaner, the hours flew by as my plans evolved in my head.

Looking back now, I was merely collecting information. Generating a guide of how to become a Publisher, rather than carrying out any of its contents. I was at the very bottom of the middle class ladder, unable some weeks to fund my rent let alone the expenses of a printing press. Tasks quickly got out of hand, particularly when I started inviting people to submit articles. The binder had reached plague proportions. Desktop publishing had become the industry tool of choice and I had barely mastered Word Perfect. Some Authors had experienced the true platform of publishing, and I was clearly a rookie with more ego than money.

Three months in, I was accepted into a Psychology degree and it was very easy to convince myself, and everyone around me, that the magazine would just have to be put on hold, for this far more pressing, far more noble and important consumer of my time. ‘Explore Reality’ [yes that was the title] would simply have to wait. And with many ‘good effort’ pats on the back, the dream folded.

Twenty years later, as Counsellor, I wonder if I really wanted to be a Publisher or if I just liked the idea of people thinking I was one. I come across many ‘would be’ Publishers [or Songwriters, or Business Owners or Yachtsmen etc] who have built up a vision of the goal that excludes the boring stuff, the hard stuff, the challenging stuff. Without a true representation of what to expect, they stop the journey when it all seems too much. For those Clients, I take them through what I call the Big Five: Objective – Actions – Tools – Skills – Motivation. Elements that help break down dreams into tangible actions.

I’m not saying that you must stumble to be successful, but when I look at my own experience, maybe if I had analysed the vocation from an objective angle, I would have known what was involved and prepared myself to advance further. Or at the very least, realised earlier that it wasn’t the career for me.

Objective  Actions  Tools  Skills  Motivation

Would the Big Five have made me into a Publisher? Who knows, but I certainly would have been more prepared. Pushing forward is great in theory but action without a direction can only get us so far. Very few of us have ample time, money and resources to support growth, so when we stumble, it is easy to stop. The best we can do is work out the impact of taking on something new and plan ahead for the challenges that may or may not happen. Download the worksheet to make something happen. For more information on Narrative Practice or bookings, click the FAQs or send me a message.