Breaking Down Your Big Picture

Imagine a mosaic.

A mosaic is a picture or pattern that is built, piece by piece, from small broken pieces of material like glass or tile which are set in mortar.  Historical records and restored ancient architecture usually show mosaics were mainly used in decorating walls, floors, and ceilings — although mosaics today aren’t just restricted to those areas, or those materials.

Helpful examples:

Now, what do mosaics have to do with running a business?

Stay with me here. Usually, when we think of goals, it’s like, “Hey, today I am at point A. Point Z is my goal.” Then you task yourself to figure it out. “How do I get to my goal?”

Zoom! Your mind immediately spins  numerous story-ideas on getting there, each one creating a chain of imaginary points towards Point Z. Some points can get you there one way or another, depending on how far Z is, time-wise and actions-wise, or what it will take you to get there.

Some points won’t actually get you there. They can be exciting and tempting, but they just won’t get you there. Imagination can work that way sometimes, jumping at a victory scenario without fully fleshing out what it takes for you to actually position yourself to get what you want.

To help you get a more visceral example, one that hits you right in the gut, picture yourself living the life you’ll have after you reached your most important goals. Take a snapshot with your mind and describe the image in excruciatingly perfect detail.

A little help: Begin With The End In Mind

Think of your choices today that will lead you to completing that picture. How close are you, right now? How well are your daily choices driving you towards reaching that life? How have the events in your life affected your progress? Looking at the choices you’ve been making, can you say you’re on the way?

It’s a sobering look, isn’t it? We say we really, really, really want one thing, but our actions show that we aren’t doing and haven’t done anything to prepare ourselve to go after and get that thing.

Life is unpredictable. Inasmuch as we strive to attain and keep stability in our lives, it’s a mistake to think we’re immune to how random life can be, and to ignore how much of it is beyond our ability to influence somehow. “Man plans, God laughs.” But then again, you bet on yourself and took charge of your circumstances.

You made it so you created your own business, and carved out a position from where you have the responsibility and the freedom of making a living on your own. And, like everyone else, there is only so much you can prepare for.

Life can leave us with shattered plans and broken dreams not because it has it in for you, but because it doesn’t care for you on a personal level. In trying to make sense of such an enormous concept, we tend to humanize it and put a human face to something that was and has never been anything close to human.

It isn’t a conspiracy. Life is what we have while we’re here. Living is what we do while we’re alive.  Making a living by building your own business is what you chose to invest yourself in.

You have to put the meaning in your whole life by yourself, and if things happens and what is important to you gets broken or shattered –plans, dreams, hopes, and beliefs– you have to decide what to do with what remains. That, and find out what you can use to move forward with completing the big picture from the pieces of what you have.

Do you see where we’re going with this now?

And just because the term “Big picture” itself can put you into a funk because you “just can’t dream that big,” go back to the creation of mosaics. Small things make big things over time. You focus on the small things, and after a while, you get a small picture — a small victory.

The more you keep going, you’ll be leaving a trail of small wins like milestones in your wake, and that matters as much as any ‘Big Picture’ deal that’s blown up Hollywood-style.

You have an image in your head of how things are going to be once you have this business up and running. Looking at where you are now, is it close to being what you wanted?

See, with being  always-connected and the internet of things, people are bombarded with all sorts of data, and yet many are starving for some sort of authenticity. A ‘being true-to-your-self-ness’ kind of resonance.

And that’s a quality you can’t fake. Not really, and not for long. So if you want a business that serves people, that serves a purpose, that jives with you, then you have to work on that authenticity from the inside out.  As hackneyed as it may seem to say it, you have to be true to yourself. And for that to happen, you have to know yourself.

And for that to happen, you have to live; Be willing to make mistakes, and even more determined to learn from them.

But again, what does this have to do with mosaics?

“Be stubborn about your goals, but flexible about your methods.”

We don’t always have a choice in what we get, or what happens to us, but we can make a choice in how we turn things around and handle the life that comes after.

Look around at the internal mosaic of your life — you, in your life, have made it through some good times and some bad times, and have all the associated stuff that comes with the living through it. These things, whether physical and therefore tangible, or intangible and yet still very much part of you, make up the internal world-view that you call your life. Are you happy with this mosaic?

How much time do you think you have left to complete the picture or the panorama of your life? What do you have that you are not using? What do you have that would change the picture for the worse or not to your liking? Where do you think you can get what you need and want to make the picture better? What do you need to do to get those things? What are you willing to give up?

By now this is no longer  streamlining but a careful shake-up of how you think things should be, how things are for you, and jiggling the two images to see if they’re aligned or not. Take a look if the mosaic forming from all of your choices, big and small, is creating the life you want.

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