I was talking to a friend the other night. She works in a job that she really doesn’t like, making relatively little money. But she has a dream; something she’d really like to spend her time doing.
“I want to design fashion”, she told me. ”That’s what I really want to do”.
I asked her, “why don’t you?”. Her response had to do with not abandoning her current job–and therefore her income stream–to pursue fashion design.
I sense that, even though this was a deep and heartfelt longing of hers, she really did not know how to make her dream a reality. Instantly my mind went to work. I want my friends and loved ones to be happy and successful in their endeavors. What’s something I could do to help her out?
“How about this”, I said. ”How many hours per week do you work?”
“Forty hours per week”, she said.
“Forty hours per week, perfect”. I replied. I had an idea for her.
“There’s 168 hours in a week, and you work 40 of those. You need another 56, let’s say, to sleep and rest. Of course, you need time to commute to and from work, go grocery shopping, etc. We’ll say that takes 10 hours per week on average. If you do the math, that means you have about 62 hours per week of uncommitted time. Does that sound right to you?”
“Yeah, that sounds pretty close”, she said, somewhat skeptical of where I was going with this.
“So you have 62 hours per week you could spend doing anything; anything you want. In theory, you could spend all of that time designing your patterns, designing your business, and marketing yourself. But you have other things to do with your time too. How about this? Spend two hours per weekday getting your fashion company ready: an hour at lunch, and another hour in the evening. If, after a month or two, things are taking off, quit your job and do your fashion work. If it’s not going anywhere, the only thing you lost was time.”
Do you think I convinced her to pursue her dream of having a fashion design company? No, I was unsuccessful. Actually, I was told that I “talk too much” after I shared that with her. The idea of finding time during her day–and rearranging social events to find time to pursue a passion–was something she would not consider.
Do you see the wisdom in what I told her? My point was simple- more likely than not, we definitely have time in our days to work towards accomplishing our goals. It’s a matter of mindset (the ongoing theme here). Because she valued spending time with friends, relaxing and partying more than starting her business, she never even tried.
But think long and hard about how she could have made her dream a reality, while still maintaining her income from her job and while essentially taking no risks.
You might think this sounds obvious. It is pretty obvious. But in my experience, very, very few people understand the concept! I can’t even begin to count the number of time I have heard people complaining about their work situation and how they want things to be better…only to next talk about what show on MTV they were going to watch when they go home.
I’m not saying don’t have fun, and spend all of those 62 hours working. Even I couldn’t do that. But the point I am making still stands: if you want to, and if you’re driven, you can integrate your goals or your mission (e.g. going to school, starting a business, etc.) into your schedule.
Let’s say you are like my friend and want to start a business. Why not spend 10 hours a week this month doing market research? Why not spend your lunchtime, instead of gossiping with coworkers, making calls and holding informational interviews with contacts in the industry? And if you think, after your research, that your idea is a no-go, then just stop working on it! All you lost was time, and you gained a lot of knowledge and experience.