Back in his tender youth, Tim was dead-set on going to university in New Zealand. His application was en route to the post office when his sweet mom offhandedly said “well, this is THIS week’s dream.” He was crushed– what do you mean, THIS WEEK? This is the only path for me! I’m becoming a Kiwi and that’s final!
He ended up going to school in New York. Because dreams shift, goals change.
And his mom was right. The two of us are both Dream of the Week kind of people: one moment we’re convinced that moving to Manhattan is the only logical next step for us, the next moment, we’re land-hunting to build our dream wedding venue in the rolling hills of eastern Washington. A lot of the joy in our lives comes from digging up the deep and sometimes silly ideas in our heart and discussing endless ways to turn them into reality. Do we know that we probably won’t have a loft in Soho and revamp an abandoned sugar mill within the next decade? OF COURSE WE KNOW THAT… mostly. But the consistent habit of dreaming wildly keeps our brains in a space where the possibilities seem just around the corner. All we have to do is be ready.
Meanwhile, the dreaming half of our brain needs to eat. Which means we need to keep our businesses running. Which means we need to heed Steve Job’s immortal advice:
Real artists ship.
Real artists (and real business owners) don’t have the luxury of spending 24 hours a day drawing up floor plans for their imaginary kitten adoption emporium or NYC loft. They have to write a business plan, contact investors, run the numbers, and operate in reality. They have to deliver and dream in near-equal measure. It’s a fine balance, and it’s the only way real things ever happen. Dreams are not enough; you must ship.
This is both macro and micro in scale. When we were first daydreaming about creating Moveable Feast Retreats, our vision of renting a castle in the south of France felt so ridiculous and out of reach that I kept wanting to push the launch back by a year. But Tim finally said “fuck it, we’ve got a solid plan — we’re doing it right now,” put our life savings down on the deposit, and just like that– we shipped. If to no one but ourselves. But once you take real action, the universe (and your future clients) take notice. And we got more done out of sheer panic in the six months that followed than we ever would have had we kept delaying until the time was right.
I have a simple strategy for keeping us on track: I tell our clients our internal deadlines. “Thirty days after your wedding, your wedding photos will be in your hands.” “By April 30, your branding suite will be ready to show to your clients.” “You’ll have your new website by Friday night.”
Sure, you can always use more time– just 24 more hours to deliver to clients always feels like exactly what we need. But you know what? We get big ass projects done on time, every time, because your reputation is all you have. Real artists ship; and I’d addend that to say “real business owners ship faster.” You have to be bold enough to start, finish, and deliver an idea– otherwise you’ll remain forever trapped in a loop of “this isn’t good enough.” And then you’ll never improve. Never move incrementally towards those ideas that keep you awake at 3 am.
Waiting for perfection is deadly for creativity, murderous for ideas, and will slowly kill your dreams. Be brave enough to ship. The world is waiting.