“Why You Should Not Wait for a Clear Vision Before You Move Forward” by Ali Brown

Whenever I’m speaking to entrepreneurs—whether they are around the country or around the world—I’m always asked to share my now famous “ATM Story”. It’s one I kept close to the vest for years, because I was too embarrassed to reveal it. But today, I know it’s important to share. And why.

You see, we always look at successful people and think their rise to the top must have happened overnight. They must have had the big vision, the perfect plan, and lined-up circumstances. But that is NEVER the truth!

I quit my last job in 1999 and launched my first little venture offering business-writing services in New York City. I literally worked from my 600-square-foot pre-war apartment in the West Village, using an old computer that sat on my folding kitchen table.

My first few years were rocky for sure. I had no clue what I was doing. I got a few clients here and there, but my new income wasn’t cutting it.

I still remember that horrible afternoon I went to the Village ATM on Sixth Avenue to get some cash before meeting my girlfriends out for drinks. I was denied. And I was only asking for $20. My balance was $18.56. I’ll never forget that number.

I walked back up my five flights of stairs to my apartment and called my friends, telling them I wouldn’t be able to make it.

For years, I didn’t share this story with anyone because I was too embarrassed to reveal how much I struggled in the beginning of my journey. Now, I understand why people NEED to hear it.

Many of us look at others’ success from the outside, and think that it happened to them overnight, almost as if by luck or magic. But nothing could be further from the truth!

Success is NEVER a straight line.

Obstacles and detours are a normal, natural part of your success and creating growth in your life.

And once I came to understand this, it became clear to me that I HAD to share my ATM story because people needed to hear the truth.

So when people ask me if I had a big vision for myself when I started out, I share NO, absolutely not! I couldn’t imagine that I’d be living on the beach in California, running a multi-million dollar business, and being blessed enough to work with women entrepreneurs worldwide. Could not even conceive of it. Far from it!

Back then, my only “vision” was to be self-sufficient. To pay my rent on time and in full every month. To not have to ever go back to a 9-to-5 job ever again. And, to not have to answer to anyone else. I didn’t know anything beyond that. So, every day, I’d wake up and take the ONE clear step that made sense for me that day. And day-by-day, step-by-step, I found my way.

I used to be mad that I was not shown a big vision. But then I realized, my only job at the time was to make decisions in my highest good each day. I was being tested.

Plus I like to joke, I’m sure God was watching, and even if he wanted to show me the big vision, he was thinking, “Jeez this poor girl can’t even take out a $20 bill! Let’s see what she can do here first.”

And I did everything I could… from where I was… with all I had.
And that’s all you have to do too.

See your next step—the one that moves you in the right direction—and take it. Now.

I promise if you keep doing that, a grand vision for you will be revealed when you least expect it. A vision to not only help you achieve your best in this lifetime, but one that will help countless others at the same time.

And wouldn’t that be amazing?

It’s worth it.

For a bit of guidance in your processes, take a look at my Millionaire Time & Productivity Secrets program. In it, I walk you through my personal approach to staying productive and focused without scheduling every minute of every day. This is how I live my life and run my business. And it works! Learn more about this jam-packed program here.

Question: Do you have a story to share where you moved forward successfully without a grand vision? I’d love to hear your insights! Please share in the comment box below.


© 2013 Ali International, LLC
WANT TO USE THIS ARTICLE IN YOUR EZINE OR WEB SITE? You can, as long as you include this complete blurb with it:
“Entrepreneur mentor Ali Brown teaches women around the world how to start and grow a profitable business that make a positive impact. Get her FREE CD “Top 10 Secrets for Entrepreneurial Women” at www.AliBrown.com

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7 Responses to “Why You Should Not Wait for a Clear Vision Before You Move Forward” by Ali Brown

  1. Cathy | The Health Coach Group says:
    May 22, 2013 at 6:22 pm

    SO TRUE! Everyone thinks if you are successful, you started out that way. It is funny, everyone knows that many actors and actresses wait a lot of tables and go on a lot of calls before they are “discovered”. They don’t hear about the years of balancing charge cards when you need to …or ideas that never sold…or flopping back and forth in focus. You just keep at it and one day…it happens and there you are! Great article Ali!

  2. Jill Porter says:
    October 29, 2013 at 10:44 pm

    I hate to one-up you but I tried to take $20 from the ATM but I only had $4! I then had to go to the bank and get them to pay me the $4 so I could get the bus home! It’s called humility!

  3. Debbie Adams says:
    October 30, 2013 at 12:09 pm

    I was a reluctant entrepreneur – but like they say “necessity is the mother of invention”. vision loss catapulted me into my first venture. Ali, I love this post – we hear so much about clarity, clarity, clarity. The reality is that sometimes the only thing we can be clear about is that next step. Thanks for your wisdom.

  4. Damaris Rodriguez says:
    November 26, 2013 at 10:46 pm

    Wow this is very uplifting. I lost my job 4 weeks ago after 17 years doing counseling. Although I do not have a license for counseling I did it successfully for all those years. Now as I wait to see if the Unemployment office goes through I’m planning on launching a home based business with general Office services as well as counseling or life coaching to people who cannot afford paying high cost therapy. Yet I feel stuck looking for the bigger vision and taking the first steps. Your article has opened my eyes and inspire me to not give up and take it one day at a time. Thank You and God Bless you.

  5. Suzanne Kallay says:
    November 26, 2013 at 11:48 pm

    I loved this article! I just picked up and moved with my 16 year old daughter to Florida…after a 23 year marriage ending and living in the same town for 51 years. So not a big deal for so many, but for me, it was literally like jumping off a cliff and hoping to land unharmed. In fact, not only uninjured, but maybe even onto a springboard of opportunity and new beginnings. And that is where I am…Not knowing why or how..but knowing Who and working with and towards what’s in my hand. I’m super creative and hope to make a living with that…Just because I can’t see it, doesn’t mean it’s not there! I’m already out of the boat, so I might as well walk…
    Thanks for the words of encouragement!

  6. Alexis Cathleen Clarke says:
    November 27, 2013 at 3:14 am

    Thank you for sharing :) What an encouragement!

  7. Angelina says:
    November 27, 2013 at 9:42 pm

    Great advice and story about your success and perseverance to get ahead Ali, and thank you for sharing…I will share my story at a later time, when I am established, but all is going exceedingly well for the time being.


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