Turning your dream into a reality starts with a simple idea

You Are The Magic

My daughter Layyah is a keen creator – drawing, fashion, sculptures, you name it. So, for her seventh birthday earlier this year I bought her a little sewing machine and gave her money, a hundred rand to be exact, to go buy some supplies. She bought a piece of pastel paisley stretchy fabric, one metre by one metre of pink mesh, a couple of blue shimmery buttons and a strip of yellow lace.

She has been coming up with all sorts of ways to drape me in this fabric and even forces me to model from time to time. Of course, I indulge her. I don’t want to kill the child’s creative spirit. Okay, I admit, it also feels good hearing “wow, you look amazing, mama… gorgeous! Stunning!” even if it is coming from the little human I gave birth to. I digress, I digress…

The other day it was her turn to get all dressed up in the fabric. True to form, it wouldn’t be Layyah without some drama. Enter: role-play. She is the star designer wearing one of her creations and I am the interviewer. She takes a seat on the bench, crosses her legs and rests her hands on her knees. Mid-mascara application, I turn to face her with the mic (my brush) in hand.

The line of questioning goes a little something like this:

Mama: Good morning, Miss Layyah, and welcome to our show.

Layyah: Good morning, thank you for having me (I’m not making this up)

Mama: Thank you for joining us. I’d like to chat a little about the creation you’re wearing. It is rather unique. Can you tell me what your creative process is?

Layyah: Mum, I’m not going to tell them I got the idea off YouTube.

I realise this is a teaching moment.

Mama: You don’t need to be embarrassed that you got an idea off YouTube; they can’t steal your creativity. Great ideas can be sparked anywhere. Any successful creative will tell you that. Any successful business person will tell you that. You may have seen the first idea on YouTube, but what you have turned it into is all your own and what I am looking at is superb.

The poor kid already has imposter syndrome. She didn’t entirely get what I was trying to teach her, but that’s alright. I’ll keep repeating the message until it eventually lands. Her generation is growing up in the time of YouTube. It will deliver a lot of people to their destinies if they don’t shy away from it but own it instead. That’s not much different for the entrepreneur of today.

You may be wondering what on earth this has to do with entrepreneurship or starting your own small business. Only everything! Every thought, every emotion, every idea, the lifetime of experiences shaped the person starting up. Everything in your life has conspired to deliver you to this moment. The sustainability of what happens next will be determined by how you use everything that makes you uniquely you, to shape your business to attract customers.

Have you ever watched a biopic and thought, for example, “Idris Elba was a better version of Nelson Mandela than the man himself?” I didn’t think so. That’s because authenticity cannot be faked. I mean, Idris did a pretty good rendition, but could he ever one hundred percent encapsulate the man who changed our country? Never! Every thought, every emotion, every idea, the lifetime of experiences shaped Madiba. Every journey is unique. Therein lies the beauty, you see… therein lies the magic. You are the magic!

Then there’s also the other side of the coin. In the words of one of my employers “the ship has sailed on the pursuit of profit only. There needs to be purpose.”

I grew up in a coloured township south of Johannesburg called Eldorado Park where unemployment is rife; just moving out of the area is considered an achievement. Going back to visit family who still live in the area gives rise to a level of frustration in me that is tangible. It took me a minute to conclude that this very frustration will be the source of solutions if I let it be.

Much as I have tried (in my immaturity) to separate myself from the woes of my childhood community, I now feel a greater sense of responsibility towards it. In fact, when I am done writing this blog, I will be making a call to my high school to see how I can use every thought, every emotion, every idea, the lifetime of experiences that have shaped me thus far, to act on it.

My 5 tips on how to find inspiration to turn your ideas into a reality:

  1. Look online: Jot down a couple of subjects of interest and trawl social media, google, YouTube, websites… More than likely once inspiration is sparked, it will evolve and you’ll make it your own.
  2. Look around: Your environment or immediate surroundings has all sorts of sensory activators – colours, shapes, sounds, compositions, tools, textures, smells, etc. When you’re looking for inspiration, inspiration will reveal itself in the most interesting ways.
  3. Look at people you admire: There must be someone whose success you admire… read more available materials, or, if you’re lucky enough, get in touch with them to find out how they have achieved success. Such people usually share the view that there is enough space in the sun for all of us
  4. Look inside: What are you good at? What have you always been interested in? What would you do for free? I’m not suggesting you do, I’m suggesting you detach yourself from the financial gain aspect for a moment to get a clearer view of what you could do / make / be that would be authentically you. The imagination is a wonderful place to visit!
  5. Look up: I’m a big believer that we all have a purpose and, personally, I regularly keep in touch with my Creator to check that I’m on the right path.

I don’t know what works for you, but I find journalism helps me structure random ideas into a more translatable thought process. And that’s that start.

My name is Cindy-Lee Minnaar. I am an impACTor and I am Layyah’s incredibly proud mama.