Dreams Like Strings of Lights


Whatever it is you’re dreaming of, take the next step.

It has long been my goal to work for myself, but in my early years, I had been trained that a person got up before the sun, went to work for eight or nine hours and came home beat. For this, you got a paycheck at the end of the week. All the fathers on our street did the same. When our growing family needed more income, my mother traded her night hours tor work in a thankless factory.

All my life, one model: Trade your hours for money.

Then my dad lost his job. After two years he found another job that would pay the bills, but he began dreaming about owning his own business. After a few years, he partnered with my brother and launched. The business did alright for many years, but he didn’t foresee desktop publishing. The business dwindled and found himself again trading hours for dollars, working with my brother in another industry.

Along the way, the mega companies and corporations began to buckle and fold. The idea of being totally loyal to one entity began to sound like putting all your eggs in one basket. You could give a lifetime to a company and instead of retiring fully funded, you might lose your pension, retirement benefits and health coverage.

My dad often spoke about another business model, one I had not really seen up-close. Multiple streams of income. Creatives are largely familiar with this model as they pursue their artistic endeavors. Office jobs, food service, collections, or those other jobs that pay a tiny hourly because they receive tips or commissions. Pursue your painting, crafting, dancing or talent until it financially overshadows the main source of income. Teach your craft to someone not as far along as you are.

There are pros and cons of each, to be sure. As a hustler, you are responsible for everything including taxes paperwork and the next paying gig. As a creative, not wanting to be defined by hourly work, I always had a side hustle and occasionally, the side hustle carried us through between hourly jobs.

How to develop three streams of income? Or four? Or more? There are far more forward thinkers than me. Lots of great people to read, learn from to help you gather steam while stoking your own fire. Ideally, income streams that could be checked on every now and then and earn money without constant attention. In essence, making money while doing other things,  these things allowed you to multiply your efforts.

My goals were simple. I wanted to help others in some way, double my income and stop trading hours for dollars, working by the project for a pre-named chunk of money. Right now, my writing pays for my (part) of the bills. My next stream of income will not only pay for itself but pay me.

It comes down to this: Just start. Start something somewhere. Begin. Take the next step and then figure out the next step. My dad went on to other dreams and started other businesses. He and my brother launched a second business and my brother runs it to this day, nearly 10 years after my dad passed away. His products have traveled the globe. After a few false starts with various enterprises, my intellectual property has graced four countries. I’m pleased with the progress. It seems one leads to another, dreams like strings of lights.

Write down all that you dream of doing. What can become an income stream. Choose one. It doesn’t have to be the easiest, but maybe the one you’re most excited about. What’s your next step?

I’m listening if you want to share. I will cheer you on.

Learning to fly

Kites rise highest against the wind.

Right now, in this moment, what is one thing you hope to accomplish? I don’t mean winning the lottery, or some other effortless, chance-laden fortune. Consider something that would make proud to have accomplished it.

  • Write a book? Create a movie? Start a business?
  • What do you think your chances are of succeeding?
  • Why?

Most people do not bring into reality their biggest dreams. Things like fear of what people would say or think can hold us back. Sometimes we don’t have time, don’t know where to start or who to ask. Often if we give voice to that dreams or idea, some people around are all too quick to fire upon our ideas. So we don’t make the effort.

It’s plenty difficult for us to believe that we have what it takes to accomplish a goal. The first time we hit a bump or it doesn’t go as we hoped, we may want to quit. In the back of our minds, we might think successful people have it easier than us.

But, can you imagine for a moment, what it would be like if you succeeded? What would it feel like to hold your first book in your hands? To smell the pages, see your name on the cover?

Imagine seeing people sitting before a screen watching a movie you developed.  Or, having started a new business, imagine how excited you will be with that first sale.

You can do it. Imagine it. Imagine the next step. Whatever that spark is that you’ve let languish in the shadows of your mind, maybe it’s time to pull out all the stops and see what happens. I picture new ideas like the kites of my youth. I put them together, tie the tail on and make sure to secure the string.  I go outside and I start running to see how high the kite will go. My dad took me to a park with a very high hill and the wind there took my kite. The kite went higher and higher until I was at the end of my string.

What I remembered was how much I wanted to fly a kite again after that. I took it to my aunt’s house one day. I ran all over her yard trying to work up enough wind to take my kite up. But the yard was peppered with trees and utility lines, a less than ideal environment. I wanted to go back to that high hill, with even more string, and see how high that kite would fly.

Dream big. Dream about what it would be like to accomplish that goal. There’s a reason why it’s in your heart. It might not yet be the perfect environment, but at least put the kite together, then maybe you’ll find that high hill, too.