THE MASH-UP: THE THINKING OF THE BEGGING MAN IS THE SAME AS THE ADULT DREAMER.
IT DOESN’T MATTER IF YOU HAVE A GREAT IDEA! I just wanted to open with that statement. Because I really do believe that… an idea means very little to me. Billions of people have tons of fabulous possibly life changing ideas everyday BUT SO WHAT!!!
The Background: This morning as I walked into CVS near my office in Pasadena, a man asked me for money. There’s not much unusual about that (and definitely not in the Los Angeles area- where all LA folks should be ashamed at the level of homelessness in the City- but that’s for another blog- UGHH).
“I’m a minister,” he said.
“Huh?” I thought. Being a woman of faith myself, I had to hear his words, accept his previous request, and not judge… whoa.
“I don’t have cash going in and I wont have cash coming out,” was my response.
“Actually I really just need a 3-pack of cigars.”
“I’m not getting you any Cigars.”
People can ask for what they want when they make requests on the street. I don’t care and it’s not my place to judge you. In fact, sometimes the ask can be so honest that I do give it even though it’s not for food. But this morning, as I’m trying to be more frugal and set financial boundaries for myself, was not the morning to ask me to spend my money on CIGARS.
On the way out when he noticed I didnt have any cigars he asked, “excuse me… what do you do?”
“I work for (pause oh no)… I do community outreach.” The irony!
This is the part of the story that triggered this blog, “Do you use lawyers?”
“Yes we do.”
“Because I’m a lawyer too. Do you have any jobs available for me?”
Uhhhhh…. “I’m sorry, excuse me” was all I thought to myself.
“No not here. Our lawyers are in DC.” And so I hopped in my car.
I know somebody might be judging me right now… criticizing that I don’t know he could have been a lawyer.
And to those people I say, “Suck salt, you are probably a dreamer too.”
I didnt for a minute doubt that he was a lawyer, a minister, and a begger all wrapped up in one. It doesnt matter at all. The astonishment comes from the presentation. And at that very moment he reminded me of my frustration with dreamers. Dreamers think that having a dream is some kind of accomplishment, like this gentleman thought that being a lawyer positioned him for a job.
At some point that dream has to translate into an action plan on which one actually ACTS. It should be a plan that properly packages who you are and speaks to the needs of the people from whom you are trying to solicit some positive action or response. A dreamer believes that just because she has dreamed of a brilliant idea that can be the panacea for all the worlds problems that she should have an audience with the President or the Banker or whomever else in power she needs to help make their idea a reality. HOGWASH!
Your idea could be all that but in it’s idea form IT IS ONLY IMPORTANT TO YOU. In order to get the banker or the President to listen to you, you first have to do your homework. That banker wants something too and as great as your idea might be, if your idea doesnt get him or her what they want IT’S GOING NOWHERE.
DO YOUR HOMEWORK. Learn to speak to me in a language that well- speaks to me. Learn who I am, what I want, how I want it, and from whom I want it. Then take your “idea” develop a plan that speaks to who I am, what I want, in the way that I want it, and lastly make yourself into the person I want to hear it from. If I’m a banker giving funding, I need a fiscally responsible and good manager with a viable plan to lend money to— be that.
See when I heard the begger minister lawyer ask me for a job as a lawyer after begging me for cigars, I thought didnt he look at himself before he asked that. But then I thought he’s no different from a lot of other people asking for things on the strength of their idea but who have failed to position themselves to succeed.
P.S… this particular blog is not about the dreamer in children. Children need to dream, and do so wildly without logic or reason. That’s ok- even healthy. This is about grown people placing 90% emphasis on dreaming and 10% on making the ask. Instead of 20% dreaming, 79% planning, and 1% making the ask (because that’s probably all the time you’ll get with the power players you might need).