What did YOU want to be when you grew up?  All kids have dreams about what they want to do and be.  Mine were, let’s say, a little unusual.  Some of them actually came true.  By now, in fact, most of them have — including some of the things I said (as a child) that I would NEVER do.

Last year I wrote about one of those dreams, and my friend LaVonne Ellis was kind enough to publish it on her blog, One Blue Berry:  So You Wanna Be A Cowgirl?  For a lot of kids whose dreams actually do come true (and this was the case for me, too) it’s never like you thought it would be.  Some of the dreams are better than you thought, and others not so much — but they’re never the same as the fantasy was.

Since I wrote that article, I’ve done some thinking about childhood plans, and reality.  And I’ve come to the conclusion that our childhood dreams and what actually happens when we grow up, have a lot in common with how we become entrepreneurs.  We start with a vision or idea that seems just so sweet.  We generate a ton of passion for it, and dig in to make it happen.

And then reality sets in.  There are more expenses than income.  There’s all that red tape and bureaucratic details required for setting up a business structure.  Then there’s that pesky thing about how you get customers to find you (and buy your widgets.)  And it all turns into a daily grind that can wear down even the most enthusiastic of us.

But where there’s a will, there’s a way.  More than one successful entrepreneur (and garage band) started with nothing more than a dream and a good idea.  When reality hits, though, you need all the rest of the components and maybe more than a little luck.  It takes grit and sweat and tears and determination, and lots of flexibility to change course when that’s what needs to happen.  Some folks can do that, and others can’t.  We are not all cut out to become entrepreneurs.

But what I see all around me?  It’s the entrepreneurs with great ideas that are thriving, even during the pits of the recession or depression or whatever the heck it is that “the economy” is doing.   The entrepreneurs are leading a recovery — or at least doing their best to thrive when conditions all around them say they can’t.  If you can make people’s lives better with your great idea or widget, people will find a way to your door.  And this is happening all over the world, wherever free enterprise is allowed — and even in places it isn’t.

It takes more than a dream to succeed, but without one you surely won’t.  I say let’s hear it for the dreamers — and the doers.  They are the ones who are making good things happen.  And they are my greater tribe now.   The dreams of childhood may not show up the same way they did in the mind of your inner child, and neither may your entrepreneurial venture.  But without them, where would we be?

I’d love to hear your thoughts about this!  Did it ring some bells for you?