|A Conversation with My Mother Leads to the Dreaming Room||p. 3|
|The Five Realities of the Entrepreneur||p. 9|
|The Four Dimensions of the Entrepreneurial Personality||p. 15|
|The Dreamer and the Dream|
|The Awakening||p. 23|
|The Realization||p. 31|
|The Negative Reaction||p. 37|
|The Personal Dream||p. 45|
|The Impersonal Dream||p. 49|
|The Sudden Shock||p. 57|
|The Dream Is Born||p. 63|
|The Thinker and the Vision|
|Taking the Dream Apart||p. 73|
|Taking the Dream Apart Again||p. 83|
|The Vision Begins to Take Form||p. 87|
|The Vision Continues to Take Form||p. 95|
|Coming to Grips with the Business Model||p. 103|
|The Storyteller and the Purpose|
|Defining Purpose to Capture Your Imagination||p. 121|
|Pursuing Your Story||p. 135|
|And the Story Grows from Within||p. 145|
|The Leader and the Mission|
|The Leader||p. 155|
|The Leader Goes to Work||p. 171|
|The Wisdom of Process||p. 177|
|Beginning the Strategy; Beginning the Plan||p. 201|
|The Mission Is Under Way||p. 209|
|The Mission Reveals Itself||p. 219|
|We Suddenly Understand||p. 229|
|The Mission Is Being Realized||p. 237|
|The Revelation of the Golden Pyramid||p. 243|
|Epilogue: All Systems Go!||p. 261|
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A Conversation with My Mother Leads to the Dreaming Room
All the influences were lined up waiting for me. I was born and there they were to form me, which is why I tell you more of them than of myself.
—Saul Bellow, The Adventures of Augie March
My mother is ninety-six, lives an active life, looks to be no more than sixty, and has a wonderful sense of humor about it all. "One day I won't be here," she says with a twinkle in her eye, "but don't give me up for dead yet!"
My mother loves to talk, and she loves it even more when I talk. She loves it when I visit her and share my life with her. She eats up all my stories when I tell them, which I usually don't because I can't bear to hear them since I'm living them. She has read every one of my seven books, which amazes me since she has no interest in business.
She puts it this way: "Your books are you, Michael, and I get to experience you when I read what you've written. I love your books," she says, her eyes going deep when she says it, "because I love you. You're a remarkable man, Michael. I know I'm your mother, and that's what mothers are supposed to say and feel, but, please know that I mean it; even if I weren't your mother, you are a remarkable man." It's always difficult for me to hear that when my mother says that because I don't feel like a remarkable man. I just feel like me, which is not remarkable. But don't we all feel that way?
So, in 2005, my mother asked me, "So, what's going on in your life, Michael?"
"I'm feeling lost, Mom," I said. "I'm sixty-nine years old and I'm feeling like I used to feel when I was a kid. I don't know who I am anymore, or where I'm going. I feel disconnected from my company and disconnected from myself. I want to do something new but I don't know what. I feel at a loss, disconnected from the past and the future, and not doing very well in the present, either. I don't even know how to say it."
My mother smiled, "Michael, if there's one thing I know about you, you're never at a loss for words! Tell me what you would tell me if you did know how to say it." She sat there with that lovely enigmatic smile of hers.
"It's just that, for the past twenty-nine years, I have been so immersed in creating my life, my books, my company, the world I live in, the speaking—all of it. It's been my passion. And while it's been difficult at times, it's also been extraordinary beyond belief. I have been someone, have done something that few people have ever done, have come to this place in my life knowing that I've had a positive impact on millions of people in the world, and yet . . ."
I paused, feeling that I was missing the point somehow, but continued to push through it.
"Oh, God, that's not really it, Mom; it's something much less obvious. It's that, yes, all that is true, but at the heart of it something is missing in all of it. I have been so consumed with the path I was on I stopped looking at where it was taking me. It's like the path became the purpose. But the path I was on . . . still am on . . . is simply that, one path among many. And it could have been a million different paths, had I paid attention somewhere along the way; it could have been anything. I could have done anything, other than what I have done. And I'm feeling the loss of the many paths not chosen because of the one I did take. I have committed myself to becoming 'Mr. E-Myth' and I don't know how to disengage from him now that he's become such a reality to so many people, and to me. I guess what I'm saying is that I need to find a new path, and, at sixty-nine, I feel foolish and lost because I don't know how, or even why, I want to do it."
My mother said, "Michael, pardon me if I don't take what you've said seriously. You've never been at a loss for ideas. You're one of the most imaginative people I know. So, we both know it's not that you can't figure out what to do. It's that somehow you're not really dealing with the problem. Somehow you're avoiding what's really eating at you. What is it? What's making you feel so off?"
I suddenly knew what it was. It came to me so quickly, so immediately, so sharply, and clearly, that I was amazed I hadn't seen it until that minute.
"I'm afraid, Mom. I'm afraid to start something brand-new. I'm afraid that I won't have what it took me to start E-Myth all those years ago. That I could actually create something new that is as powerful as E-Myth has been. I'm afraid I'm too old, too used up, too stuck in my E-Myth rut. And, at the same time, I'm afraid to let go of E-Myth for fear that all the work I've done, all the life I've put in it, will simply lose force and die a slow and ugly death. I'm afraid that the people I've left it to won't cherish it as I do. Won't respect it as I respect it. Won't honor it the way it deserves to be honored. And, if that happens, then none of what I've done will really matter. It will end up being just a book. One book among millions of books, but what it has done for tens of thousands of people will stop. And I would hate that."
My mother had not stopped smiling during my rant, but her smile softened to a sadness, which was reflected in her pale eyes as she looked at me.Awakening the Entrepreneur Within
Excerpted from Awakening the Entrepreneur Within: How Ordinary People Can Create Extraordinary Companies by Michael E. Gerber
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