Is there something you’ve always wanted to do in life, something you feel deep down is right at the very heart of everything you want to be and experience? How much have you ignored that or let other people tell you it’s a pipe dream?
Today’s Breakthrough Experience comes from one of our very own – Tom ‘Hound’ Hasker. His is a story I’m sure we can all relate to about having a dream in danger of being forgotten or buried because of not knowing how ‘little old me’ can make it happen and actually bring it to life. Sound familiar?
Keep an eye out for the two fundamental lessons from Tom’s experience and remember to read an elaboration of these lessons at the end on:
1. How gaining clarity through a self-assessment process can help you find the confidence and belief you need to make your dreams happen.
2. The importance of a good mentor to catalyse your progress.
My Dream to Build a Business – Tom Hasker
It’s now over a decade since I first met with my mentor Warren. Realising this has given me cause to reflect upon that day in 2009 when I broke through a limiting belief about what was actually possible to achieve in my life.
As some may know, and as you can read on our website, for as long as I can recall I’ve wanted to start an engineering company. Initially this was because I like inventing things but it’s also because, as I grew up, I realised the influence science and engineering has on our lives. However, there was always a problem with this dream. I could never possibly be the one to make it happen. I was always told this by whoever I spoke with about it, maybe not directly, but every little, ‘yes Tom’, ‘oh really, you want to do what?!’, ‘yes, but being practical that’s not going to happen is it?’ and ‘so you want to start a company like GE, but smaller?’ I took as another nail in the coffin of that dream.
At the time I met Warren, I worked as a technical writer for a boat-building magazine, and although loosely related to my ultimate aims, I was doing 8 hours of work a day that didn’t inspire me and I knew – ultimately in my heart – that it didn’t make a difference to anyone and only really served to line the pockets of someone else.
The dream was very precious and fragile at this point because it was something very personal and having tried once already to make it work and having failed spectacularly, it felt further away from me than Pluto.
Today that dream is now a vision. It is clear what needs to happen in order to make it work, who I need to build relationships with, why and when. Although there is still a large amount of discovery, planning and acting to do to make it all work beautifully, I am doing what I want to do with my life and it is coming together now.
So what’s the difference between now and then?
Love, care, belief, understanding, validation, encouragement, reassurance, motivation and a million other feelings I’m still learning to describe. These are the feelings that I was left with after meeting someone who extended themselves enough to meet me halfway. To bracket any disbelief he may have had and to listen; to give me psychological air, to put himself in my shoes and see the world as I see it, to literally ’step into my world’. When someone does that for you they give you permission to be yourself and drop the defences you hold up against the world, against the cynicism and cutting remarks that others throw at you because they are too scared to believe in themselves as you are doing. That is what cynics do, because they are too insecure in themselves to even be in your presence when you are leading yourself well and working towards a vision that you believe in.
My breakthrough started at that point, in that meeting. That’s when I started to believe that I was really capable of doing what needs to be done to build something of great worth. For me that’s a multi-billion pound engineering company, but for someone else that may be a promotion or to change the school system for the better. It started when someone truly cared and believed in what I am doing enough to want to help. I’ve learnt that it is this connection that everyone is actually searching for and the stronger these connections are, the more possible and indeed certain that dream, now a vision, is.
So what? (the age old journalist question!) What does this mean practically for you the reader and how can you turn that dream you have and are afraid to share with someone into a vision that will work and bring you the happiness you’re most probably looking for?
There are, as I see it, a few options;
1- Do Nothing
The easiest option perhaps on the surface, but I bet it is the most painful in the long run. Nothing burns as deep as the regret of what you could have achieved if you just backed yourself, believed in yourself and sought out people to help you.
2- Do Something
This is the one that everyone tells you to do in the popular social world. I’ve forgotten how many times I was advised; ‘you should go on Dragon’s Den’. Yes, but tell them what? ‘I’d like you to invest in me, but I’ve not invested anything in myself yet, so I’m asking you to take the risk for me.’ Be careful with ‘just do it’ advice, because how do you know you’re doing the right thing?
3- Seek Advice, Help and Support
This is what happened and caused my breakthrough. When I knew there were other people also building their lives, their businesses, going for their promotions and building relationships with their family, then I knew I was in the right place and that the help I needed would be right there. In a word it’s called community. Something that few people really have and even fewer know how to build.
Thank you very much for reading!
Defining Tom’s Breakthrough Lessons
– by Kris Deichler, Associate Partner, Mentor & Coach, Lighthouse International
So what are some of the things we can learn from Tom’s experience?
1. Clarity Breeds Confidence & Belief – You can see that Tom has learnt a lot and through that gained greater and growing confidence, certainty and most importantly – self belief. Tom is now getting clearer both in terms of what he wants, but also in terms of what he NEEDS in order to achieve what he wants – in this case his own engineering company. That is exactly why assessing our wants and needs, as well as the gap between us and acquiring those things is such a powerful starting point for everyone. Having that clarity empowers us and with that, the things we want to achieve – our dreams, start to become more and more of a formality. It’s a simple case of learning how to close our gaps to acquire enough of what we need to achieve what we want. That process is what Tom’s been going through and it’s what anyone who wants to be truly successful in anything needs to do, whether that’s starting their own company or even building the kind of relationship and family they really want as well.
2. Find Yourself a Good Mentor – Tom’s story shows just how much difference it’s made having someone in his life who can guide him and help him to believe in himself, to see the things that he couldn’t see and learn things he didn’t know he didn’t know. That is the power of having a mentor – someone who has the experience and the wisdom to pass on to us so we can learn faster and more effectively.
Whoever we might be, no matter how successful we are, when it comes to assessing ourselves we only have the one perspective, we can only see things based on what we know and what we have experienced, which will always be limited. That’s why so many successful people seek out mentors, people who can cast a wise, experienced and higher-level perspective on things. A mentor isn’t just a teacher, they have walked the path we want to travel ahead of us and can therefore help us to avoid unnecessary mistakes and learn lessons more effectively than we would have done ourselves. This often starts with the very simple step of helping us to see the potential we have in ourselves that we didn’t see before and that is exactly what Tom experienced here when first spoke to Warren.
If you’d like to learn more about being mentored to achieve your own goals and overcome your challenges you can learn more and register on this page…
Rocket image courtesy of Nan Palmero @ Flikr
Journal image courtesy of Joel Montes de Oca @ Flikr
What an inspiring example of what is possible Tom, and very best wishes for the fruition of your vision through the discovery planning and then action phases you spoke about. I see that the relationships that need to be built with people who you trust that have your best interests at heart, and are constantly supportive is of great importance here, and how you found that through mentorship. To step out of mediocrity is so hard when the people around you are negative and unsupportive; and often to boost themselves do not want others to succeed where they have not had the courage to step out of their comfort zone and grow and develop. How you have through mentorship been able to seek out and then close the gaps of what you needed to see and learn. I have found that the first seeking and learning firstly needed to be about myself, and the discovery and amending of my self-sabotaging behaviour. Thank you Tom.
I really took a lot from what you shared in relation to starting your engineering business. I have had so many friends with so much potential who took a lifelong dream or a job they loved and tried to turn it into a business, and failed, because they didn’t know anything about business and didn’t have anyone to guide them. I was about to embark on the same process myself!! I loved the way you spoke about turning a dream into a vision, a well thought out structured vision. Seeing the gaps within yourself, your own personal vision and addressing them first, choosing to work with people who had your best interests in their heart rather than listening to cynical people who would want you to fail out of jealousy and bad spiritedness. It helped me to see how real the connection is between life and business.
You and I have a few things in common. I’ve always had ideas but then a massive gap between my current reality and making those ideas become a reality myself. Most of which I always put down to self esteem. It’s amazing how much you saw in yourself and the need to become what you needed to be, before jumping into the ‘doing’ and asking for Dragon’s Den investors to invest in your idea when you haven’t invested in yourself to be able to run the show! Having a mentor there who’s walked a path already which was so crucial for you to adopt in your own life is priceless. I’m always inspired by the wisdom of those whose eyes have seen what mine haven’t, no matter which walk of life it may be.
Tom, I had the exact same experience about ten years ago when I shared an idea with an “advisor” who actually laughed and asked me why on earth I would want to carry out this idea. Thank goodness I did not give up because once I met my current mentor, he actually helped me to look at what I was really trying to do and build that dream beyond anything I could even have imagined. We ABSOLUTELY need the help of people who believe in us, our dreams and will support us, through progressive challenge, honesty and that arm round the shoulder when needed. Thanks Tom
Some really crucial points made here Tom which I can really resonate with! The importance of having someone who believes in me rather than looking to put me down is something that I really have appreciated too. Especially when sharing my goals with “friends” that don’t actually want me to succeed. Also your point in having the right support with someone who can see what we can’t see is absolutely critical. If I could turn back time I would have made so many different decisions and spent so much more time planning my business rather than hitting and hoping that it would succeed! The benefit of hindsight eh!