The Art of Doing Something New

by Andy P. on June 25, 2013

Listening to a story recently from a guy who decided to quit his job and start his own business got me thinking about why some people are able to change directions and do new things while others get stuck in the same old ruts. Doing something new is definitely not a science. I don’t believe there’s one set of instructions for how to shift out of something that has become a very deep part of who you are. If you wander into the right section of any bookstore, you’ll find shelves full of different recipes for success and road maps for being the person you want to be, but that isn’t really where it’s at. There is inspiration to be found in those types of books and this type of newsletter, but the resolve to change and do something new comes from a place much deeper and more personal than that. Just like a paint-by-numbers book won’t turn you into a great painter no matter how well you stay within the lines, no one can really tell you how to turn your dreams into realities.

Come Alive Outside Event
Rutland, Vermont

The art of doing something new, like any kind of art, starts with inspiration. We all know what moments of real inspiration feel like; and it’s hard to describe except to say that you feel it way down deep in your soul. What happens right after moments of inspiration is what separates an artist from a person who just sits around wishing they were a painter or wishing they could play a guitar or daydreaming about how great it would be to own their own business. It’s the action, more than the inspiration that separates exceptional achievers from the rest of the pack. When is the last time you felt the itch to do something new? The certainty that your vision of what the future should be was worth turning into a reality? What did you do next? I don’t pretend to be an expert or even particularly good at capturing such moments of inspiration but I appreciate the people I’ve met who are examples of how to turn inspiration into action. True artists when it comes to doing something new.

– Andy Paluch

Go Do Something! 

There really is no substitute for action. You can write down an idea or talk about it and keep it fresh for a while, but even the purest of inspiration seems to spoil when it sits around for too long. That first action sets an idea into motion; it gets it out of your head and into the real world where it can start to take on a life of its own. The greatest benefit of the first action is the feedback you get from it. Whether the feedback is positive or negative doesn’t matter so much as being able to learn from it and roll it into the next action.

Come Alive Outside Event
Rutland, Vermont 

The Come Alive Outside Movement has been a great place to watch people turn inspiration into action over the last few years. If you read this newsletter, you’ve read articles about the events that have been hosted, the community spaces that have been built and the thousands of children and adults who have been encouraged and given the opportunity to enjoy the outdoors because of it. Carpenter and Costin’s latest event last weekend in Rutland, Vermont, was another huge success. Hundreds of people in the community came out to reconnect with nature and get active in all kinds of exciting ways! That’s hundreds of people who might have spent their Saturday on the couch if Russ hadn’t gone out and done something when he got inspired by the message of Come Alive Outside!

Start Small, Think Big

Jim Gibbs
Creator of Gibbs Gardens

The first small action is important, but without a clear vision of why that action is being taken and where it is all leading, it’s awfully hard to end up where you want to go. Last week we had the privilege of going to Gibbs Gardens with about 80 people who participated in Sales Jam. When we arrived in the morning, Mr. Gibbs told the story of building the 220-acre gardens over the past 30 years. It all started with his hands, but it was his vision and a dream that only he could see that kept him taking action when everyone around him thought he was crazy for pouring every bit of money and effort he could into building a world-class garden. As we literally walked through a dream that had been over three decades in the making, I was humbled by the power that a clear and consistent vision has to change the world in beautiful ways.

Expect Difficulty

Sales Jam 2013 at Gibbs Gardens

Nothing smarts quite like putting time into developing an idea, going out on a limb to try something new and then getting negative feedback from the world around you.  It seems like there is a fine line that you need to walk when dreaming big dreams and imagining the ideal future that would be real if your latest idea or project comes to fruition. On the one hand, there is great power in believing in your vision with every fiber of your being. Seeing it clearly. Expecting success and thinking of nothing else. On the other hand, however, dreaming with rose-colored glasses on doesn’t do much good when life sets in with unexpected difficulties or you just plain make a mistake. I wonder how many great new ideas have died early deaths because some dreamer wasn’t expecting things to get tough when he tried to turn his dream into a reality.

Gibbs Gardens

When I see people who have been in business for 20 or 30 years or people who have dedicated decades of their life to doing something that they really believe in, I know it must have all started with a spark of inspiration but no doubt there were a lot of times when the only thing keeping them going was the capacity for enduring difficulty. I doubt that any of our mothers told us that life was going to be easy or fair, so when we go about the turning ideas into reality, we really ought to expect difficulty and not be afraid of it when it arises.

Beware the Company you Keep

After our day at Gibbs Gardens, one of the business owners at the event stood up to share something that he had taken away from the time spent in the gardens.  This younger man said it really struck him that Mr. Gibbs was rather lonely in the pursuit of his dream all of those years. His family and business associates always thought he was a bit crazy to put all of his time and money towards building these gardens and probably didn’t start to appreciate it until they could walk through the completed dream. The thought was that even though it was amazing that Mr. Gibbs had believed so clearly and completely in his dream that he didn’t need the people around him to validate his vision, imagine how much easier it would have been if they had.

History and Hollywood are full of stories of great people who pursued their dreams alone in a world of doubters and naysayers. And, Mr. Gibbs is evidence that it really can be done this way, but we may not all have the capacity to build our dreams on an island. Having a community of like-minded people who are working and moving in the same direction that we want to go can help us get there much quicker and easier than we ever could have on our own. We may not always be able to control the people we physically encounter on a day-to-day basis, but in the world of online social networks, YouTube and e-newsletters, access to a community of positive support is usually only a click or two away. The vast amount of knowledge that we have access to and the connections that we can build and maintain these days aren’t limited in ways that they were even ten years ago. Surround yourself with the knowledge and experience that will amplify your efforts to realize your dreams!

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