SBM 058 : Dreams, Inaction & Entrepreneur Depression with Idahosa Ness

Today’s Guest

Idahossa Ness  joins the 58th session of Smart Brand Marketing.

I’ve known Idahossa for a few years now. He was one of the business people I interviewed in the Your Own Way Out Documentary.



  • Being a dreamer
  • Struggling with execution
  • The consciousness journal
  • External vs internal motivation
  • Suppressing creativity
  • Anxiety and depression
  • Mindfullness



Having the Right Mentality to Remain Competitive in the Market

Regardless of how cheesy this might sound, but it’s actually all in the mind especially when it comes to Business. Even the best laid plans out there are not going to be sustainable if the one that made them does not have the motivation nor the focus.

So how important is it to have the right kind of attitude/mentality when it comes to running a business. The short answer is “very important”. The long answer? Just read on and find out.

Should You Be a Dreamer to be Successful?

They say that a dream is just a goal without a set end date and that might be true depending on who you ask. However, it’s also said that a dream is the first thing to die in business when you get acquainted with this pesky little thing called Reality.

Plans can get delayed (or derailed), partnerships can go awry, and you can face setback after setback until your original vision for the business is gone. Becoming cynical after many years in the business is an easy pitfall but there are reasons why you should maintain a dreamer’s perspective in all things. Here are a few:

  • 1. What You Think, You Become

    You might have heard this phrase somewhere before but you might be surprised just how perception can hold power and sway over you. Why? Because your thoughts are simply things that have yet to be realized by nobody else but you. Simply put, your dreams are just a prelude to reality.

    There is no shortage of examples in history where a person with a single dream was able to turn that dream into reality. From an engine propped on two wings that managed to lift itself off the ground in Kitty Haw to a cartoon mouse that launched one of the biggest companies of the 21s century, all of these started out as mere thoughts that eventually became real objects.

    If you need further convincing, just look at the tactics used by car salesmen and real estate agents. They know that a person has a dream and the best way that they can sell anything to that person is if they lend a hand in making that dream into reality. This is why test drives and on-site tours are effective in closing a deal. Once that person knows that their dream is about to be realized, the deal is good as done.

  • 2. Focus Alters Your Perspective

    Dreams gives you a certain focus which can change the way you view things in your business. For example, if you focus too much on the more tiresome aspects of your business, your opinion at the end of the day is that running your business is a chore that borders on masochism.

    However, if you focus on your dreams for your business, you will see opportunities where none have noticed. You can even see a vision of what your business can become a few years from now (metaphorically, of course).

    The point is that a dream can give you focus which, in turn, gives you direction. Of course, nothing in business is ever easy. However, dreamers tend to achieve bigger goals than those who are not.

  • 3. The Word “Impossible” No Longer Applies

    You might have also heard this but there is no such thing as “impossible” in the dreamer’s vocabulary. The nearest one is the term “I’m possible”. Dreamers do not consider the impediments on the road as the goal is all worth it.

    Since everything is possible for a dreamer, then it means that they tend to recover quickly from setbacks compared to non-dreamers. For them, problems on the business are not the end but just the opportunity to discover an alternate road towards success. It doesn’t matter how long it takes them to achieve their goals for the business so as long as they make it there,

    These are just a few things that make dreamers stand out in any field they take part on. In business, such perspectives can be a great asset. After all, the road to achieving success in your business is fraught with problems and setbacks. Without an owner who has the right perspective on things, no business will be able to last long in any market.

How to Turn Dreams into Reality?

As of now, we have just been talking about dreams as focus for your efforts. The hard part with this comes when you have to turn those dreams into strategies.
There are a number of reasons why people struggle with the execution of their plans but the truth of the matter is that it does not have to be that difficult for you. Here’s a few tips how:

  • 1. Simplify

    The reason why dreams turn to impossible goals is because you take everything in at once. Of course, achieving something like, say, building your own fast food franchise is going to look daunting at first sight because it is.

    If you want to achieve your dreams, you need to divide it into segments. So, if you want to set up a fast food franchise, you need to identify the phases of your plans. The first part is setting up your first restaurant and running it right, the second part is acquiring assets to set up another restaurant and then running that properly, and so on and so forth.

    Let’s look at the world of movies right now for another example. The reason why Marvel succeeded where other studios failed with their cinematic universes is that Marvel already had a goal of setting up a franchise already since 2006 but focused on getting their first movie, Iron Man, right.

    As for the rest? They had it backwards, setting up a franchise first before getting the first movie done right. Just look at Universal’s Dark Universe franchise which was killed off after the first entry.

  • 2. Set it In Writing

    This might be mind-numbingly simple but you can be surprised how effective writing your goals can be in turning them into reality. The reason for this is simple: when you write things down, you subconsciously tell your brain to never, if possible, forget this information.

    Of course, how you write your goals down will affect how your brain interprets it. Use assertive words like “I Will”, “I Must”, and “I Shall” as they have this rather commanding tone. Words like “I would like to”, on the other hand, lack passion and determination. As such, it’s best that you opt for the former.

    Lastly, always use positive tones. For instance, if you want your business to last longer than 5 years, write your goals like “I shall form a 5-year plan for my business” and not “I don’t want to be bankrupt in 5 years”. Once everything has been written down, put your goals into places where you can easily see them like on your office wall or your personal mirror.

  • 3. Make Contingencies

    The variables and unforeseen circumstances on any plan tend to have a negative side psychological effect. It tends to make you cynical and less passionate about plans since you don’t have much control over every aspect of your project.

    However, you can easily remedy this by planning for contingencies in case something goes wrong in the middle of your operations. Think of the worst case scenarios that might happen in your business and gradually come up with solutions as you go through each phase of the plan. This way, you subconsciously convince yourself that you are in control over everything and, in case something does go wrong, you have the means to address them.

  • 4. Stick to the Plan!

    Now, all of your efforts would be in vain if not everyone involved in the business sticks to what everybody agreed would do. This is exactly what happened in the old World of Warcraft story of how an entire party of players who had a well-crafted plan for a dungeon raid where wiped out when a certain player charged headfirst, screaming “Leeroy Jenkins!” and without listening to the strategy. What we got from that incident is:

    a.) One of the earliest known Internet Memes; and
    b.) A great example of what NOT to do when you have agreed to a plan.

    Always remember that setting goals for your business is not just a means for which you can achieve your purpose. You have to keep everyone reminded of what they are supposed to do, what phase the plan currently is, and what has been achieved so far. This way, everybody is one the same page and will be reminded as to what they are supposed to do next.

    If you do this right, you will slowly see that you are actually stacking up on achievements until every part of the goal has been achieved. Your overall strategy might change as time passes but what you have set for your goals will be achieved in one way or another.

Dealing with Anxiety, Depression, and other Negative Thoughts

More often than not, anxiety and depression can kill a business because it does not hit the business itself but the ones running it. You’ll find out that, when you get depressed and anxious, you can’t run any of your projects properly.

However, there are a few things about these negative states of minds that you have to know. First, they can’t be eliminated as if they’re weeds that can pulled out from your garden. They have to be dealt with on a long period of time through a series of process.

Next, is as much as you think it is so, such negative thinking does not have to run your entire business for you. It’s all up to you whether you run your thoughts or you let your thoughts run you and, in turn, run every project you handle.

Ignoring the fact that this isn’t a medical/psychological piece, there are still ways that any business owner can deal with things like depression and anxiety to prevent the same from negatively affecting their projects. Here’s how.

  • 1. Accept that the Problem Exists

    The first step to recovery is knowing that there is something wrong and it needs to be addressed properly. Fortunately for you, depression and anxiety are not known for their subtlety as they manifest in quite obvious ways. Ask yourself these questions:

    • Have you found yourself constantly worrying about the things that you can’t control?
    • Have you had thoughts that kept you awake at certain nights?
    • Have you had problems focusing on tasks at hand because you are worrying about an event that might come in the future?

    If the answer to all of these are yes, then you are experiencing the first stages of anxiety and depression. That means that you need to see a psychological specialist for a proper diagnosis as soon as possible. After all, they are more capable of helping you go through these thoughts than any self-proclaimed self-help guru out there.

  • 2. Give Yourself a Break

    When you feel that such thoughts are closing in on you, it’s best that you stop and walk out instead of plowing through. This might look counterproductive from a businessman’s perspective but the point here is to give your mind the space it needs so it won’t get overwhelmed.

    You don’t even need to get out of the office to do this. You can just stop whatever you are doing, let your mind relax, and then go back to whatever you are doing once you have allowed yourself time to rest.

In Conclusion

It can’t be denied that making your business ventures or projects successful is going to take a toll on you psychologically and emotionally. The trick in keeping your state of mind healthy as a businessman lies in your perspective on things.

Focus on the right kind of thoughts and you should remain upbeat and energetic for as long as possible. If not, then there is no shame to admit that something is wrong and that you need help.
Have you struggled with maintaining a positive outlook while running your business? What other strategies do you know of to keep yourself optimistic and driven? Let us know in the comments below!




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If you enjoyed this episode you may also love listening to:

Part 1: Buying Back Time

Part 2: Multiple Income Streams

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