Web ExclusiveJust like everyone else, small business owners (and safety and health managers) get caught up in their personal economic successes and woes. They’re trying to find more time; trying to deal with the exigencies of life; trying to just survive.

The latter is both the cause and result of the broken and failed businesses we see in such large numbers. I know, because I’ve been helping entrepreneurs fix their businesses for 40 years.

In that time, I’ve also found a few creators who have discovered the secret of what I call “going beyond.”  They go beyond the ordinary. They go beyond the seeming limits of their personal economy and the barriers that keep so many others consumed with just getting by.

Early in my career, the driving question became: What’s the difference between the survivors and the thrivers? What’s the difference between entrepreneurs like Steve Jobs and the Murray Smiths who were my clients?

With only $5,000, Jobs and his partner and an unlikely idea they called the personal computer created what would become the most valuable enterprise on the planet: Apple, Inc.

Murray Smith, meanwhile, creates a job for himself, works it and works it and … ends up with  little more than what he had starting out.


Most people suffer a lack of what Steve Jobs possessed. Was he so out of the ordinary that it would be virtually impossible to awaken the Steve Jobs within every one of us?

Here’s the key: Steve Jobs was a Dreamer, a Thinker, a Storyteller and a Leader.

The Dreamer in Steve Jobs had a Dream. The Thinker in Steve Jobs had a Vision. The Storyteller in Steve Jobs had a Purpose. And The Leader in Steve Jobs had a Mission.

His Dream drove him. His Vision gave him clarity. His Purpose told him who was the most important person in his life – his customer.  And his Mission told him exactly how to put the wheels on his wagon.

Once I understood that, I immediately saw the way. If I could help Murray learn to do what came naturally to Steve Jobs, I could help Murray thrive. And so, I did! 

The difference it made was huge. Murray no longer went to work IN his business, he learned instead how to go to work ON his business. As a result, Murray’s business grew and grew and grew and grew.

Then I had a second, even more important, epiphany: There was absolutely no difference between Murray the small business owner ( or safety and health manager), and Murray the underemployed, or Murray the unemployed, or Murray the self-employed, or Murray the loser.  Anyone stuck in their form of survival needs to awaken the Dreamer, the Thinker, the Storyteller and the Leader within them, and they can accomplish what my small business clients have accomplished. 

That’s what I told Pastor Rick Warren of Saddleback Church when I first met him. And Pastor Rick said, “Go do it. Go do it in the Saddleback community.”

And so began The Dreaming Room™, the only entrepreneurial incubator in the world. There, I teach people how to apply the formula for thriving so they can re-create their lives – to learn more, to earn more, to grow more, to give more, to create more.

I believe, passionately, in everyone’s ability to do more than “just survive.” Maybe you won’t end up with the biggest corporation (or best safety and health program) on the planet – and maybe you will. But by becoming a Dreamer, Thinker, Storyteller and Leader, you can live a happier, more abundant and fulfilling life.