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Dreams of Childhood
by Mark Albion

"There are people who put their dreams in a little box
and say, 'Yes, I've got dreams, of course. I've got dreams.'
Then they put the box away and bring it out once in a while
to look in it, and yep, they're still there. These are
great dreams, but they never even get out of the box…"
– Erma Bombeck

Another call for career advice. We meet. Janet (pseudonym) has a problem at work. Mostly with the politics. Maybe she should work in a smaller company, I suggest. She responds that she loves cabarets – to sing, to direct, to market the productions. She does it in her spare time.

But…Janet went to Harvard then Wharton. She has worked at Fortune 100 companies before and after business school. Well into her 30s, she is single with no debt. Her response to some suggested job changes: "I like going to parties and telling people I work at a brand name company. And if I did this [cabaret] full-time, I would probably make $20-30,000 less. Hmmm. (I raised my eyebrows.) I guess I need to work on this stuff, huh Mark?"

Janet has not let her dreams out of the box.

Another student just graduated from Columbia. Michael (pseudonym) has a dozen years of finance experience. He sends me his business school master's thesis, a book on life guidelines. It is entertaining, witty and promising.

I meet Michael in New York. Single, financially solid and talented, he clearly can do just about anything he wants. I comment positively on his writing. I mention that I know work for him right now writing columns. He loves to write, but "no one has supported me and writing my whole life. How could I do it?"

"How could you not let your dreams out of the box?" I think to myself.

"…It takes an uncommon amount of guts to put your dreams
on the line, to hold them up and say, 'How good or bad am I?'
That's where the courage comes in."
– Erma Bombeck

I can feel my head nod as I listen to Michael. I too loved to write as a child. At 8 years old, I sold my stories door-to-door: 3¢ for a one-page story, 5¢ for a two-page story. My substitute for a paper route. What neighbor would not buy these adventure stories from a little boy?

But the word out was: "Your stories are great, Mark. Now, what are you going to do to make a living when you grow up? You should know that it's almost impossible to make a good living as a writer."

And I listened too well. Not until I was 45 years old did I recall my passion for writing and get the support from a heroine of mine to "use your gift and make a difference."

"For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also."
– Matthew 6:21

Dozens of MBAs each year tell me about their desires to work in the arts, launch a venture fund, open a restaurant. It is not a discussion of Internet start-ups – the current path to riches, today's digging for gold in the Wild West. No, it's a monologue from the heart.

Work from the heart is for those who can remember what they really wanted to do when they grew up, before the world told them to grow up and do what they are expected to do with those pedigrees and marketable analytical skills.

Most other MBAs are not sure what their passion is. It lies buried beneath years of growing up, conformity in school, following the socially expected unitary path to the top.

"Dreams can come true.
You know you've got to have them.
You know you've got to be strong.
Whisper them in my ear –
Will they stay?"
– Song lyrics

"It was the most amazing sensory experience. What a feeling! Better than aromatherapy. There we were in Buffalo, New York, mixing 600 gallons of spring water with 100 pounds of peppermint to make the first commercial batch of Honest Tea’s First Nation Organic Peppermint Herbal Tea.

"The whole room was just tingling. I felt it in my skin. George [the brewmaster] couldn't even look into the tank as his eyes were burning with the peppermint.

"I wanted it to work for so many reasons. Not just because it was an organic, satisfying tea with a great taste, but because of all it meant to me. It came from our partnership with the Crow Native Americans, who believe that peppermint aligns your spirit with the world's spirit. The creation of this product did that for me: it was in harmony with what I always wanted to do – to be – as a child, and how I wanted to use my talents to make a difference in the world."

"Whatever you can do or dream you can, begin it:
Boldness has genius, power and magic in it."
– Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe

Seth Goldman went to Harvard College and Yale school of management. He had brand name jobs. But he somehow was able to bring his dreams to market, so to speak, in his early 30s through his company called Honest Tea.

How did Seth do it when many of us find it so difficult to do? Consider four tips, introduced by four sequential quotes from Nelson Mandela's 1994 Inaugural speech (words from "A Return to Love," by Marianne Williamson):

1. Believe in the Brilliance of the Child
"Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.
Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.
It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us.
We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant,
Gorgeous, talented and fabulous?
Actually, who are you not to be?
You are a child of God..."

"It's critical as an entrepreneur to feel you can do anything," Seth comments.

Couldn't you do anything as a child? Seth carried that confidence with him to his company, Honest Tea. One of his most interesting self-deprecating lessons is: If a sign says 8-foot clearance, it means 8 foot, not 10. (Seth learned this lesson trying to drive the Honest Tea 10-foot truck under an 8-foot clearance – "We'll make it!" He got crunched.)

He grew up with high parental expectations of what he could do and learned the importance of giving back to others. He never forgot the expectations or the responsibility. And throughout his nonlinear career path, they gave him the support he needed to use his gifts in his own way – beginning with his own lemonade stand and a passion for mixing up all types of concoctions.

2. Dream Big
"…Your playing small doesn't serve the world.
There is nothing enlightened about shrinking
So that other people won't feel insecure around you..."

Famed psychologist William James argued that "the great use of life is to spend it for something that will outlast it." That is, go for big dreams, big causes, big transformations that span generations. Like Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s dream.

Seth wanted it all. He first wanted to be an artist, always had an interest in politics, traveled the Russias and Chinas, saw the importance of management, and looked for a way he could combine all his interests with the opportunity to have an impact on others through business.

There was never a this OR that attitude; it was always this AND that. If you have a dream, why should you need to give anything up to go for it? His material needs had become patterned more after the peoples he spent so much time with overseas, so that made it easier for him to reach for what he really wanted, being content with fewer material comforts (like a portable tape player as his home sound system).

3. Focus on What Resonates for You
"…We are born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us.
It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone..."

What bothers me about the stampede to the Internet is that many are doing it for the financial opportunity, not because it is what they feel passionate about.

In business school, Seth and a classmate developed a biotech product. He was excited about writing the business plan, wining venture competitions, and even getting financial backing to launch the enterprise. But when it came down to it, the product – for senior citizens – while socially useful, did not get Seth personally excited. "You gotta love your product, personally." He moved on.

A few years later, after creating their first teas with leaves from around the world, he was making that American, pre-Revolutionary war tea in Buffalo, New York. It was not only the "not-too-sweet" product he and his friends wanted to drink themselves, but also it is sourced and developed with an economically disadvantaged Native American people.

Like a little kid, Seth tingled. We should all be blessed with these moments – it's the stuff of a life worth living.

4. You Make the World Around You
"…And as we let our own light shine,
We unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.
As we are liberated from our own fear,
Our presence automatically liberates others."

A friend of mine used to say, "Mark, be careful what watering holes you hang around. They will become you, and you they." Whether we spread our light as a candle in our world or reflect it as its mirror, I believe we are surrounded by much of what is in us.

Throughout his career, Seth surrounded himself with people whose values he resonated with and people who could teach him. He gave and they gave back. When Seth needed a seasoned brewmaster, he found George, who was still recovering from a divorce. George got the job and found a much needed home in Seth's house for those first six months.

Do you think he is loyal to Seth and the company?

When you do what aligns with your energy, that inner harmony seems to attract others who can help you as you help them. That's how dreams come true. Just as they did when you were a child. Remember?

"Destiny is what you have always wanted to accomplish.
Everyone, when they are young, knows what their destiny is...
everything is clear and everything is possible. They are not afraid
to dream, and to yearn for everything they would like to see happen
to them in their lives. But, as time passes, a mysterious force begins
to convince them that it will be impossible for them to realize their
destiny.... To realize one’s destiny is a person’s only real obligation."
– Paulo Coelho,
The Alchemist

Dr. Mark S. Albion © Copyright September 1999. All Rights Reserved.

Article was written for Cruel World (formerly Career Central), a unique free job lead and career management service that helps members easily and effectively find the job of their dreams. Become a member @ http://www.makingalife.com/partners/careercentral.cfm.

Past articles found at http://www.makingalife.com/hearthunting/index.cfm. If you are interested in learning more about Seth Goldman or Honest Tea, please go to http://www.honesttea.com.

Mark Albion, New York Times Best-Selling author of "Making a Life, Making a Living" (2000, Warner books and audiobooks), spent nearly twenty years at Harvard University and its business school. In 1993, he helped launch Students for Responsible Business (now Net Impact), an international not-for-profit network of MBAs committed to a better world. More information on Mark's activities can be found at http://www.makingalife.com/drmark/drmark_press.cfm.

Encouraged personally by Mother Teresa in 1996, he began the ML2 E-newsletter, which as of December 1999 had over 2.5 million subscribers in 87 countries. Mark also writes a monthly career e-column for Cruel World and Fast Company. Mark's writings, online seminar with University Access, coaching network, and free job profiling/placement can be found at http://www.makingalife.com.

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