The Year of Impossible Things: How I Dared to Follow My Scary Online Business Dream
But no one can see him. Only a couple of his accomplices knows where he is and what he is doing there. The rest of the world won’t find out until months later.
It’s not just any roof. It’s the roof of one of the two highest buildings in the world. The second building looks the same as this one and is 140 feet away. The man doesn’t know the exact distance yet. He only estimates how far it is. At this point, he only dreams an impossible dream.
It’s 1974, New York City.
The name of the building is the South Tower of the World Trade Center, the name of the man is Philippe Petit, and the name of the dream is to hang a high-wire between the Twins and – walk on it.
Philippe is a high-wire artist. This is a true story.
I find myself standing on an island floating in mid-air… at the edge of the void. And of course, I automatically look at the opposite tower. But now, I have to dare… to look… down. Now, I know what the void is. I’m a wire-walker. The void is my domain. But not this void. But somehow I gather the strength to whisper, whisper so the demons won’t hear: It’s impossible. But I’ll do it.
Philippe Petit in The Walk (2015 movie)
And he did it. As the movie trailer says, “twelve people have walked on the moon, but only one man has ever, or will ever, walk in the immense void between the World Trade Center towers.”
My grandpa told me the story of the “art crime of the century” when I was a kid. I almost forgot about it, but some time ago, it started haunting me again. And I’m glad it found me. It’s one of the most beautiful stories I’ve ever heard (and at least I know where the vertigo nightmares and the anarchist tendencies come from).
So now I’m telling the story, and you are reading my words and thinking about it. That’s the first impossible thing.
Alice laughed: “There’s no use trying,” she said; “one can’t believe impossible things.”
“I daresay you haven’t had much practice,” said the Queen. “When I was younger, I always did it for half an hour a day. Why, sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.”
Lewis Carroll, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland
You know, when I started blogging, I didn’t know if anyone would ever read my words, and I was a lot skeptical about turning my blog into a business. The online world seemed too big and loud for anyone to hear me… and I had a whole list of other rational reasons why I shouldn’t even try:
✦ I’m not a native English speaker.
✦ I have zero audience. Absolute zero. I can’t even invite my family or friends to join my email list because of the language barrier. No one knows me, and no one cares about me.
✦ I’m too shy to sell and network.
✦ I’m not an entrepreneurial type. I don’t have shoulders, I’m not competitive, and I’m too sensitive.
✦ They say most bloggers don’t make more than $100 a year.
✦ They say most businesses don’t survive the first year.
✦ They say blogging is dead.
✦ It’s impossible.
It was impossible. But I stepped into the void anyway. It was one year ago. Today, I’m still here, and my blog is my full-time job. That’s the second impossible thing.
When you’re standing at the edge of the void, your fear takes all possible forms to make you give up your dream. It gives you all the logical reasons. It speaks to you through your loved ones, your teachers, your friends.
People who have tried but failed. People who mean well. People who are “just being realistic.”
You can either give up your dream or give up listening to them – even if you love them and respect them.
You have to believe in yourself more than other people believe in you – at least before you find your accomplices who will back you up in the moments of doubt.
The fact that your dream seems impossible is no reason to give it up.Click To Tweet
Now, believing in yourself doesn’t mean that you’re sure you won’t fail. That’s arrogance. Believing in yourself means the opposite: putting the ego aside and doing the thing, knowing that you can fail.
So, here we go: I, who never believed in myself, believed in myself (impossible thing number three). And then my accomplices started gathering around me (impossible thing number four).
Accomplices are your online community – everyone who believes in you, shares your vision, and is willing to take risks in the name of the vision: your business friends, fans, mentors, and clients.
For someone, taking a risk means sharing your post or leaving a comment on the blog although they’re scared of putting themselves out there online. For someone, it means replying to your email and sharing their story. For someone, it means hiring you.
I don’t take any of it for granted. I’m grateful for each one of my accomplices because I know that without them, nothing would be possible.
And every day, I realize that I’m not just the person balancing at the edge of the void. More often and more importantly, I’m the accomplice. My job is to help others make their impossible dreams possible.
While my friends and clients are talking to their demons, I’m standing behind them, waiting for them to whisper: “It’s impossible. But I’ll do it.”
Then I say: “Impossible, yes, so let’s get to work.” And then, a few months later, I witness them walking in the clouds. That’s number five.
And what about the sixth impossible thing?
Believing I can make another person believe as many as six impossible things before breakfast.
And one more:
Believing I will be here in a year, still following my own and other people’s impossible dreams and making them a reality.
By inspiring ourselves, we inspire others. I mean, I will never forget this music, and I hope now neither will you. Please take this music with you home and start gluing feathers to your arms, and look at the world from a different perspective. And when you see mountains, remember: Mountains can be moved.
Philippe Petit, The Journey Across the High Wire (TED Talk)
✯ If you found the story inspiring, please share it with someone who needs it. Thank you!