How does a pragmatist survive in a world full of dreamers? In the era of startups, ideas are often valued more than their execution. Yet, we know from reality shows on television and interviews in startup magazines that execution is the only thing that truly matters.
This world needs dreamers. We need optimism. We need hope.
But we also need reality. We need pragmatism. We need boundaries to break.
We need the clouds and the dirt as Gary Vaynerchuk says.
“What doesn’t matter is basically everything in between the overall vision and strategy and the real knowledge of it.” Gary Vaynerchuk
A World of Dreamers
Yes, I believe in dreams. Well, that’s not entirely true. I try to believe in dreams. Disappointment and I have been too acquainted for way too long. I’m am distancing myself from cynicism.
More accurate is that I want to believe in dreams. This means that my desire is to not kill a dream; rather, to help make it possible.
We need Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak – the dreamer and the implementer. The ideal and the practical.
You need the imagination and the infrastructure.
“Google has built an infrastructure that makes a lot of dreams closer to reality.” John Battelle
“The dreams we have [for the digital future] can only be realized if we not only build secure approaches that make those easy to administer.” Bill Gates
Is Pragmatism Negativity?
I’ve had some interesting conversations lately — in the world of WordPress especially — where realism is equated with negative energy.
I’d like to address this concern.
I don’t believe that just by speaking, you create reality. That is to say, that if you speak something aloud, it happens. That by looking down the road, diverged in the yellow wood, and having to make a choice, by weighing the options, you’re a dream killer.
“Hey, you! Get off of my cloud.” Mick Jagger and Keith Richards
We need dreamers. And we need the people who see how to build the dream. We need the realists. We need the pessimists. They even fuel the dreamers to overcome. We need those pragmatic people who say, “Yes, I love that dream. Here’s out we are going to build it.”
I love the concept of fairness — of intellectual honesty. I’ve always made a mental exercise to view and consider all perspectives of an issue. And I’ve learned over the years that not everyone can be objective — especially about their own business.
Many of my peers own businesses. I was the wife of an entrepreneur. I worked in the inside of businesses for years — in accounting and office management. Though those positions are rarely regarded, secretaries know everything and accountants know more. In that position, they are the proverbial fly on the wall. Because of all of this experience, I understand the questions that need to be asked to achieve those dreams.
So my friends will call me up,
“Hey Bridget,” they say, “I was talking to so-and-so the other day and was thinking of [details the dream]. What do you think?”
I’ll just ask them questions.
What about x? What about y? Who will do z?
Recently, six months after a series of conversations and a business decision, my friend turned to me and said, “Whoa. Bridget, you just saved me $13,000.”
It’s important for freelancers to bounce ideas off of people who will give them real things to think about — not yes men.
“There is no dream without the work.” Me.
Yes. I’m quoting myself.
In my presentation about how I changed careers, I talked about how it seems like I was an overnight success. I wasn’t. I’d been doing content marketing since 2009. It’s 2015 when people noticed it. It’s 2016 where I started to travel. 2017 people seemed to know me. It was not overnight.
It’s work to dream. It’s work to build the dream.
Let’s do it together.