How do you think the story of Princess Jasmine and Aladdin from 1001 Arabian Nights would have ended had she agreed to wed Prince Ahmed and not run off from the palace and bump into Aladdin in the market and fall in love with him?
Most likely the story would have ended something like this: "And so Princess Jasmine and Prince Ahmed got married, and Aladdin still lives on a roof dreaming of living in the Royal Palace one day." The story would also probably be a couple of pages long and not turned into one of Disney's most popular movies.
Instead the author portrayed Jasmine as a curious young lady who wanted to know if there was more to life than the palace's walls. She was adventurous and a risk-taker and did not agree to follow a life path drawn for her before she was even born. Jasmine's spirit is no different than that of an entrepreneur. I am not kidding. I promise.
Just like Jasmine, entrepreneurs have an intense hunger for adventure, and following a path that no one set foot on before. A path that is not necessarily predictable or safe. In fact, they know that there is risk involved, and that they could lose whatever they put into this. Entrepreneurs have the courage to make their own choices, and not wait for approvals from those around them. In the story, Jasmine was determined in what she wanted in life, and that is why even after hearing advice from her father that her current life as a princess and marrying Prince Ahmed was the best choice, she still made up her own mind.
This is no different when it comes to managing a business. Seeking advice from financial advisers and experienced friends is great, do not take me wrong, but their roles are to "advise", and not impose their opinions on you. At the end you are the only person who should take the final decision when it boils down to your business.
This takes us to finding your own path, or calling in life. In the story of Aladdin, Jasmine knew she wanted to fall in love before getting married. She wanted to explore the real world, and that is the path she followed as she ran away from her father's palace that night. But do you know what you want to do? If you are planning to start your own business do you have an image of how it will be? How your life will be affected by it? And if you do have an established business, what are your future goals? Are you willing to expand?
If you belong in the first category and you are about to launch your business, now is the time to start visualising how it will be. Create a visual in your mind of how you see it. Where will your office be located? Will you have staff? How much do you want to earn every year? Include as many details in that visual as possible. Once you have all the particulars, you will know exactly where you are standing now, and what you need to do to reach your goal, and how much effort you need to put in to reach that goal.
If you belong in the second category and you do have an established business but you are still do not see yourself where you desire to be, then you need to assess the reasons that are holding you back from reaching your goals. Are you afraid of taking risks? Or did you get too comfortable at how things are working out and are not putting as much effort in as you used to? When you have those questions answered it is important to set new short-term goals every once in a while to reach your desired long-term goals faster. Keep reviewing your objectives once a week, so that you do not get too comfortable or forget about them.
Last but not least, stay focused on your goals and do not be distracted by the opinions and negativities of those around you. Take time to evaluate if their opinions/advice aligns with your goals. Or will they steer you off track?
Anything is possible if you set your mind to it. All it takes is a little extra effort and a pinch of patience.
Manar Al Hinai is an award-winning Emirati writer and fashion designer based in Abu Dhabi. Follow her on Twitter:@manar_alhinai