“The way to get started is to quit talking and begin doing.”
– Walt Disney
When I was a kid, the networks would play reruns of popular sitcoms in the afternoon, so to avoid the summer swelter for a few hours my friends and I would watch the likes of Gilligan’s Island and Green Acres. For those of you who are young, Green Acres was about a New York lawyer, Oliver Wendell Douglas (played by Eddie Albert), who longs for a simpler way of life on a rural farm. So, he buys a homestead, sight unseen, and moves there to pursue his dream, much to the chagrin of his socialite wife, Lisa, played by the gorgeous Eva Gabor.
It was a collision on multiple levels. Lisa always appeared in stunning evening gowns and flamboyant jewelry, much like Ginger did as a castaway on Gilligan’s Isle. How they pulled that off, or why Oliver did his farm chores in three-piece tailored suits, no one ever asked.
What struck me was how the show often flashed back to Oliver in his office in a Manhattan skyscraper. When he was alone in his corner suite, he would open one of the file drawers in his desk where there was a tray full of seedlings he was nursing along. He was transfixed … until interrupted by his next appointment.
Entrepreneurs, or the entrepreneur in all of us, are like that. There is always a dream drawer where ideas are germinated, tweaked and eventually grab our imagination and force us to turn our dreams into actions.
Resistance Is Not Futile
Walt Disney once said, “The way to get started is to quit talking and begin doing.” If we want to turn our dreams into reality, verses something, somewhere over the rainbow, we have to act.
To move the vision from the 12” x 14” drawer and into a place where it has room to grow and multiply, we have to reconcile the gap between the future state of where we want to go and our current reality. In that journey, there is a great lesson to learn from the Saturn V moon rocket. I visited the Space Center recently with relatives from Minnesota and was again transfixed by the magnitude of that achievement, not to mention the magnitude of the Saturn V’s size.
Two important points were reinforced to me. First, almost 90 percent of the rocket was needed just to get the lunar vehicle out of earth’s orbit and on its way to the moon. The old cliché, “If it was easy everyone would be doing it,” is nowhere clearer than in the beginning of a noble effort. Though I have heard, “I wouldn’t trade that startup experience for anything,” or “That was my graduate school,” I have never heard, “That was easy.”
The second amazing fact was that for the first 200,000 miles of the 240,000-mile journey, the force pulling the ship back was greater than the force pulling it towards its goal. The gravity of the earth pulled on that small exploratory lifeboat in space, slowing it down every mile from an escape velocity of some 20,000 mph to less than 5,000 mph.
What kept it going? The vision and the extensive planning on what it would require to safely get the astronauts there and bring them back, along with the momentum they started with.
The same is true for what is in our dream drawer.