“Everything you can imagine is real.” – Pablo Picasso
The dictionary definition of realism is “the attitude or practice of accepting a situation as it is and being prepared to deal with it accordingly.” Certainly we need to understand and be honest with ourselves about whatever situation we’re in. That’s not a bad thing.
The problem is that ‘accepting a situation as it is’ too often is code for ‘it’s this way and nothing can change it’. I’m in meetings on a regular basis with clients who talk about what they’d like their business to be, and they get really excited about it and start listing all the positives of that picture in their heads – and then they say something about how it’s not very realistic. All the air goes out of the room, all that energy is gone, and I guess we’ll just trudge along as best we can.
Don’t let being realistic get in the way of what you want. We’re trained from a young age to think that we have to aim low. How many kids say what they want to be when they grow up and immediately all the adults in the room tell them that’s not realistic? Or argue about why that probably isn’t going to happen? We learn that our dreams are too big so we better just settle for something less.
If you believe the vision you have for your business is impossible or unrealistic, then your behavior will reflect that belief. You won’t do the things you’d need to do to make it happen, because why bother, it’s not realistic.
On the other hand, if you believe the vision you have for your business can happen, you behavior will reflect that as well. You’ll start doing the things you need to do to make that vision a reality. You’ll start taking the steps you need to take – scary though they may be – to get what you want.
Yes, you need to accurately understand the situation you’re in, and yes, some visions are extremely difficult to execute, and yes, it may be a lot of work and take years to come to fruition. But the reality is that most people aren’t even trying. At least take the shot. Better to spend your career aiming for what you want than settling for what’s ‘realistic’. Make your dream real.