Entrepreneurial journeys start with a dream. Carving a niche in a corporate environment starts with a dream. Anything worthwhile does. What a gift to be reminded of this and to be inspired with real talk by real people who’ve realized, or are on track to realize, their dreams.
At the Marketers’ Community and Twin Cities Collective event: Real Talk Conversations: How to Start Your Dream, host Laura King shared how this topic rose to the top and needed to be addressed. Unafraid to ask deep questions of her network, she cut right to the chase in her research. “Do you have a dream you’re pursuing?” While some could answer readily, others paused in answering almost as if a lightbulb came on even with being given permission to talk about this subject. Verbalize it with someone. With those that did share their dream, but weren’t actively pursuing it, she pressed further, “Why aren’t you doing it?”…lots of excuses, folks…
The reasons to not dream or not pursue bringing a dream to fruition are common and a bit unwieldy. But it is critical for each of us to reconnect to that drive and spirit of seeking what fulfils us. Our guides in helping us dissect the pursuit of a dream included the esteemed panel of Nancy Korsah, CEO of Black Business Enterprises LLC; Constantina Watters, CEO of Sproute Creative; Kurt Schmidt, President of Foundry and Host of the Schmidt List; and David Edgerton Jr, Founder and CEO of The DEJ Group, and moderator: Laura King, Founder of Marketers’ Community.
Permission + Self-reflection
One of the first elements to acknowledge about dreams, or a vision to pursue what you love and what brings you joy, is that they can change over time. To understand these shifts or identify a new dream, time for self-reflection is needed. Often we don’t exhale enough to freely step back and assess what we’re doing in our daily lives or work. This panel encouraged that, giving everyone permission – to dream and to reflect. And then because dreams can feel lofty, we got right into the wide range of approaches, tools, and mindsets to reverse engineer the dream.
Planning + Process
Laura kicked off this next topic with the obvious question many in the room likely had, “What if you don’t know what your dream is? Is there a process to figuring out what you want to do?” Constantina noted that there is a process that includes looking at the intersection of what you want for your future and what you’re naturally good at. It involves practical planning of your resources like time and money to ensure reaching your dream has a sustainable path. There’s a very large psychological component to it too. You have to be your own cheerleader and discern what’s reality when something stops you in your tracks. Is it a foolish move to pursue your dream, or is it fear in the best way possible that leads to growth?
How do Goals Factor in?
Realizing a dream needs details. If you can create imagery and specifics about what it looks and feels like living in your dream, you can create goals that represent more of a target than something finite, noted Kurt. In sharing his 10 years, 10 months, 10 weeks framework for breaking down the dream into actionable items and goals that build, the audience could take away a usable tool and apply it to their own scenario. His handy realized example was the writing of his book, The Little Book of Networking. A 10-month steppingstone to a 10-year dream of traveling and speaking on the topic.
Alignment + Agility
As all the panelists wove in personal experiences and story to the conversation, it was evident that they pondered some very tough, soul-searching questions. Often the questions came at a crossroads as David described when he got serious about finding a more connected career. Pulling out the Ikigai Venn diagram as a framework, he looked at his passions and skill sets in four circles (what you’re good at, what you get paid to do, what you love to do, what the world needs) and studied the surprising intersectionality it pointed to: recruiter. This learning guided his shift while he also leaned into agile methodology (apply yourself, get results, alter what’s not working to improve, then do it again).
Failure + Fearlessnesss
In a panel of personalities, the audience could find relatable styles from visionary to activator to planner to doer. Nancy encouraged, if you have a dream just go. Know that its okay to fail and that failure doesn’t define you. What does define you is despite how hard realizing your dream may be, you fearlessly pick it back up. And don’t overlook digging into the failure as it is full of ways to turn it into a win!
After an hour into these topics and stories that illustrated compelling paths from dream start to realization, Laura brought it back top level. She shared a story about what it’s like to witness and support someone in their dream. It can be inconvenient and messy, but when you see the impact of their dreams on others, that’s validating. It should be for all of us as our soul’s purpose is to find and do the work that is the solution for someone on this planet.
Throughout the journey to dream realization, we’re supported by community (Nancy), fueled by passion side hustles (David), living in our own definition of success (Constantina), and free of waiting for permission from someone else (Kurt). The panel also collectively provided tips from the importance of building relationships outside of your existing network, avoiding comparison, and channeling any negative voice into action to find joy.
As the event wrapped, attention was drawn to Heather Willems of Two Line Studios’ masterful capture of the conversation in a one-board visual with her graphic illustration. The inspirational visuals and words there to prompt an answer to Laura’s closing ask: “What’s the ONE thing you’re going to do today to move things forward? Follow up this conversation with action. Get quiet, get answers.”
Marketers’ Community and Twin Cities Collective hosted this lively event filled with insights and networking opportunities at Brick X Mortar, a work and social space with an uplifting vibe for conversation and connection. The event was sponsored by Sproute Creative, Two Line Studios, Brandpoint, Skywater, Lake One, and Zero Proof Collective, who provide the nonalcoholic bar for the evening.
— Event recap provided by Jen Gilhoi of Sparktrack, who covers events so event hosts and attendees can continue the event inspiration beyond the event itself. Find her on LinkedIn @jengilhoi or online at sparktrack.com. The summary captures the spirit of sharing and the themes of the event in a quick, digestible way so that attendees can refer back to it and take action; it also allows the host to archive what was shared and build on that for future events and use in marketing promotions.