The Dream is Free, The Journey’s Not

Why is it that we get in our own way as entrepreneurs? We have the ambition, the drive, we’re highly motivated to accomplish the goal. So what is it that holds people back?

I recently had the opportunity to meet with the leadership-great John C. Maxwell. John’s taught and authored over 60 books on leadership, including the bestseller, The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership I posed the question to him–what prevents us from following through on our dreams?

“I think that when we don’t follow through, we lack enough valid reasons to follow that dream,” he responded simply.  “If I don’t have a lot of valid reasons to pursue my dream, I’m likely to give it up because the journey to accomplish it is very difficult.”

John went on to articulate the difference between dream and doing in a way I’d never heard–the reason we like dreams is because they’re free. They don’t cost us anything, there’s no sacrifice involved. Dreaming is the easy part. Making it happen?

“We can sit around the table imagining all these great things, ‘Wow! Wouldn’t be great if I did this? Bought that?’ Well, the dream’s free–the journey’s not,” John emphasized. “When we start the journey, that’s when we begin to realize there’s a cost. And every time we have to pay another price, or experience another set-back, the troubles and trials try to pull our hand off of the dream we’ve been clutching.”

Unless we have a lot of good, valid reasons to continue pursuing our dream, more than one or two, we’re likely to give it up.

“Entrepreneurship has a lot of uncertainty,” John affirmed.  “The more valid reasons we have for why we want to be what we want to be, and why we want to accomplish what we want to accomplish, gives us the tenacity and holding power to stay true to that dream and not let go of it so quickly or easily.”



Watch the video version of my chat with John C. Maxwell below:

Mark Accepts JFKU Lifetime Leadership Award

I am extremely honored to be receiving the Chuck H. Smith Lifetime Leadership Award from JFK University’s Institute of Entrepreneurial Leadership today. They will also be awarding the distinguished columnist and economic advisor Tapan Munroe in recognition of lifelong dedication to entrepreneurship, innovation, and leadership.

Wahid Tadros, President of California Engineering Contractors Inc., and Jeff Gray, CEO of Glue Networks will be presented with inaugural Entrepreneur of the Year Awards. They are two leading California entrepreneurs who exemplify business entrepreneurship with a social conscience.

JFK University’s Institute of Entrepreneurial Leadership offers a powerful program designed for today’s entrepreneurs, who are at the heart of future business growth and job creation in the Bay Area. They’re a wonderful institution and it’s a great honor to receive this recognition from them!


Richard Branson Selects Mark Thompson as One of 5 Judges in the World

Sir Richard Branson has selected me to join him as one of only 5 entrepreneurship expert judges in the world for the Virgin Global SBAU Entrepreneurship Competition.

The panel of judges also includes Jane Tewson (Igniting Change), Creel Price (Co-founder of Blueprint Management Group), Peter Boyd (COO, Carbon War Room), and Tony Banks (CEO, Balhousie Care Group).

 The Screw Business As Usual competition, launched in November 2011, was designed to find ideas from around the world that are truly screwing business as usual and making the world a better place. They have had a wealth of brilliant ideas, ranging from an ethical football Soccket that harnesses and stores energy from play for use as a power source in resource-poor areas to Rapanui, an eco-fashion brand that makes casual wear in line with the latest trends from sustainable materials, to an idea to introduce a ‘Thinking Class’ for air and train passengers to opt into, where passengers can donate their time and generate ideas through a virtual community platform.

 Sir Richard Branson and this great group of entrepreneurs will be responsible for judging the Top 10 ideas, as voted by the public. The winning idea will be announced on 14th May 2012. The lucky winner will join Richard on a money-can’t-buy Connection Trip to South Africa with Virgin foundation, Virgin Unite. As part of the prize, the winner will get to meet frontline leaders who are making a difference, share ideas with young entrepreneurs at the Branson Centre of Entrepreneurship and get to spend several days with Richard and the rest of the group, experiencing the beautiful wildlife of South Africa at Ulusaba, Sir Richard’s private game reserve.

The contest is open until April 17th 2012, so there is still time to vote for your favorite idea to help find the winner of the 2012 Screw Business as Usual competition.

Read more about it here.