Entrepreneurs are often attracted to the networking profession because of the dream of freedom beyond the limitations of time and money. In his newest book, Michael Gerber encourages us to dive deeper into our dream and invent our lives out of nothing other than “the most delightful, most remarkable and miraculous thing of all: your imagination.” Throughout the book, he takes us on a tour of his latest venture, the Dreaming Room, an empowerment program where he facilitates the awakening of participants’ entrepreneurial passions, helping them to turn inspiration into commitment.
In his easy, honest storytelling style, Gerber shares where the idea of the Dreaming Room was born: during a conversation with his ninety-six-year-old mother, after he reveals the rut he was in and his fears of starting something new. His mother points out that the path of new opportunity is threatening because it leads to the unknown.
“We see our normal life, and the future extension of it, as predictable,” says Gerber. “We see our epiphany, this moment of awakening, as new and unpredictable.” That’s what makes this moment in our lives rich with meaning. “Stop and savor it,” he says. “Focus your mind on what this feels like, what this means to you.”
Gerber goes on to identify the four dimensions of the entrepreneurial personality: the Dreamer, the Thinker, the Storyteller and the Leader. The Dreamer is the least known and understood, but lies at the center of the entrepreneur’s heart. It is the part of you that is so passionate about your dream that there’s no question as to whether you will accomplish it, only a question of how and when.
The Thinker is the Dreamer’s most important ally because he invents strategies for fulfilling the dream. He asks the questions essential to formulating the business model. The objective is to empower the right-brained genius of the Dreamer by melding it with the left-brained genius of the Thinker.
The Storyteller gives voice to both Dreamer and Thinker, testing out ideas by articulately and passionately sharing the story with potential stakeholders, who in turn provide critical feedback on the reality of the enterprise.
Finally, the Leader internalizes the vision and assumes accountability for fulfilling the dream, executing to the best of his abilities and beyond.
Unlike the systems-oriented E-Myth Revisited, which was about how-to’s, this book is a soul guide about finding your why. “The why of all entrepreneurs,” says Gerber, “is that they know that there is only one justifiable reason for creating a company: to serve someone else’s desire better than anyone has ever done before.”
Gerber admits that the result of developing his Dreaming Room looks more like a personal development program than the business training he intended to create. He sums it up, “Your business isn’t the start-up. The start-up is you!”
Hardcover, 268 pages, $24.95;
Harper Collins, 2008