This is a guest post by Darrell Vesterfelt. Darrell is a the president of Prodigal Magazine and church planter in West Palm Beach, Florida who believes in the power of stories to change the world. His life’s passion is to help people to tell their story so they can see and understand the truth of God at work in their lives. You can follow him on twitter: @dvest
3 Principles of Starting New Things
I am a dreamer, through and through. Just ask my wife. She has heard me pitch about 100 new ideas to her in our first few months of our marriage. Some of those dreams have become a reality, but dozens of them haven’t.
That’s okay. Dreaming is what makes me suited as an entrepreneur and a church planter. It’s how I’m doing what God has called me to do with my life.
The thing I’m learning about dreaming is that dreaming, by itself, isn’t good enough. Starting something from nothing takes more than just a dream or a desire to make it happen. It takes a lot of time and sacrifice. Turning dreams into reality takes more time than I might want, sometimes. More sacrifice than is comfortable, but if none of my dreams ever turn into reality — then what was the point of dreaming in the first place?
Here are 3 principles I am learning as I am in a season of starting new things.
You have to do whatever it takes.
Not every dream is worth pursuing. I have lots of dreams in a day and I don’t run with all of them. I couldn’t. If I did, I wouldn’t be successful with any of them. If I want to be successful at all I have to pick a dream, and invest in it.
This selection process is important for me because it forces me to commit. When you’re forced to choose only one dream, you’re more likely to make the sacrifices needed to make that dream a reality. You are — all in. The dream that you choose is worth any and every sacrifice that you will have to make.
If your dream is going to become a reality, it is going to take every single resource you have, and then some. It will take all of your time, money, and energy. It might mean that you have to work two full-time jobs for awhile, or that you have to get creative about raising capitol. But get ready. If you want to start something new you’re going to have to do what it takes. And it takes a lot.
Don’t despise small beginnings.
If you’re anything like me, you don’t like small beginnings. Actually, you don’t like small anything. The bigger the better. As an entrepreneur (or church planter) it’s easy to get discouraged. But one of the things I’m learning is not to despise small beginnings.
It’s important to build a strong foundation now, while your dream is small, so that your business or organization can operate with integrity later, as it grows. Good things take time to build. Don’t despise the beginning.
Think of it like a building. If the structure is not sturdy when it’s small, it isn’t going to be sturdy when it’s big. In fact, if you build on a shaky foundation, your building will never survive. What you really need, in the beginning, is a strong foundation, good walls. A sturdy frame. Those things come from integrity and hard-work and patience.
Building a team of people around me isn’t just important, it’s vital.
As much as I’d like to think that I can do everything on my own, I can’t. In fact, if I try, I will for sure fail. I need people who can support me and encourage me when things get difficult. People who know me well enough that, when things get tough, or when my insecurity gets in the way, they can point me back toward reality, toward Truth.
I also need people who are good at things I’m not. I need people who are different than me, who have different skills and strengths to bring to the table. I am only part of the picture, and if I try to “chase my dream” alone it is only possible to accomplish part of the objective. I need people.
Just having people around me isn’t good enough, though. They have to be the right kind of people. If I try to fit the wrong person into the wrong role, I’m not doing anyone any favors. I’m actually denying and ignoring the truth of who God called that person to be, and using them for my own selfish ambition. That will only lead to resentment and frustration.
It won’t ever accomplish my objective.
One of the most important things I can do as I start something new is notice people for the unique set of skills and strengths they bring to my team, to celebrate those strengths, and to equip them to do what God has made them to do. That’s what it looks like to really love people; and loving people should always be my primary objective.
In the same way, I don’t allow just anyone to speak into my life and hold me accountable. Everyone has an opinion about everything and if I bent to what every person in the world thought was “right” for me I wouldn’t ever accomplish anything. There are only a few people who have the right to call me out when they think I’m wrong; and ultimately I answer to the Lord, not to them.
I go where He calls me, not where they do.
What principles have you learned about starting new things?