“I know that if I start making “focaccia barese” in a take-out restaurant in Japan, I will succeed, but… I have nobody there, I can’t do it…” someone told me few years ago. Knowing that no matter what I could have said to this individual, nothing would have changed his mind, I just stayed quiet. I remember, however, thinking that his idea was really intriguing, knowing how much Japanese people appreciate the Italian culinary culture and knowing how fast this product that comes from a specific Italian city is spreading to the rest of the world.
This little story from the past came to mind and inspired me to write this article today when this morning, scrolling down on my Facebook page, I saw a post about a Japanese baker who, after spending some time in Puglia, the region where focaccia barese was invented, had learned the secret of how to make it and is now making a fortune in Japan! Are you with me? This friend of mine (I forgot to mention that he is a baker) had the exact same idea and did not pursue it because he didn’t know anybody. (I am pretty sure that this was not his only reason, but that’s beside the point.)
This is a topic that I love to talk about, because it crashes one of the most popular excuses presented by an actual immigrant or a potential immigrant who is thinking about starting a business: “I don’t know anybody”, or a different version, “nobody knows me…”, they might say.
Let’s examine both scenarios:
– The potential immigrant
Let’s picture the potential immigrant as an individual who already has a big, exciting idea, who is thinking about moving to a new country. He feels that this country has more opportunities for his specific product or service than in his native country; he has the knowledge, he has the money and he knows the language; however, in his mind, the fact that he does not know anybody is an obstacle to his success and so he doesn’t go for it.
I don´t believe there is any data that might allow us to estimate how many people with a valid idea (a business, an invention…) don’t emigrate because they are convinced that not having a network of contacts will make them fail, but I am sure that we are talking about thousands, at least. Thousands of unexpressed creations that will die with their creator without seeing the light of day; when I think about it, I feel sad.
I assure you, the true situation is exactly the opposite of what those thousands are thinking! To share my point effectively, I am going to pretend that the potential immigrant is you, the reader. Let me tell you this: “the fact that you don’t know anybody is an even bigger reason to go for it instead of stopping!”
Most likely, the reason you have not made the decision to start that business or work on that idea is actually because of the people you know. Have you ever thought about the fact that they might have involuntarily influenced your thinking and so held you back? Don’t you think they have contributed to building your self-image, and your beliefs about what you can and cannot do?
Jim Rohn says: “You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with…”, and I agree with him.
Of course you need to know people, so they can help you, directly and indirectly, to make your dream a reality; great businesses and great ideas need the compounded power of many individuals in order to materialize. The great thing is that, in the new country where nobody knows you, only people in tune with your frequency will be attracted to you. As long as you are excited about your project and desire to share it, the right people will slowly show up, and surprise, surprise, they will help you build a new self-image much greater than your previous one; they will see you as someone to follow and the manifestation of your dream will be just a matter of time. While reading these last few lines, did you forget for a minute about the advice that your friends and family have given you? You know: “it is too risky…”, “are you sure?”, “what if you fail?”, “this is not the right time…” or “you don’t have that type of personality…”. Of course you forgot about it, and that’s what I am talking about! Your Network of people is the second biggest ingredient to your success, after yourself; that’s why taking your great idea to a place where nobody knows you, is the best gift you can give to yourself.
I will tell you when it is NOT a good idea: when you have no dreams to share, and you just want to use people’s help because you secretly believe the world owes you something that you couldn’t find in your native country. Well, my friend, I have news for you; if that´s how you feel, then please stay home, because nobody likes needy people except other needy people that have…. nothing to give you anyway.
– The actual immigrant
This is the immigrant who has established himself in a new country, already has a job with decent pay, owns or rents a house, and finally has a little bit of comfort showing up in his life; he is able to afford a new car and hopefully to go “back home” every couple of years to visit the family.
He has a lot of bills to pay, but hopefully with the next promotions coming up it will be easier to do so. While the daily routine marks the passage of weeks, months and years, a feeling of incompleteness, emptiness, and a slight frustration exert pressure from within, and the fear that an explosion is about to occur is constantly present. Yes, the actual immigrant does not know many people and the few that he/she knows are probably only friends from the Italian club, the Jewish synagogue, the Chinese temple, etc… – their own community. Please don’t get me wrong, we need to stay in contact with our culture, but not by an umbilical cord! Otherwise, we will be conditioned to think the same, our minds will not expand to include new possibilities and the same limiting beliefs we imported will continue to run our lives.
I will talk to you directly, as I did in the previous example, to get my point across, pretending you are the actual immigrant: “You are stuck in this situation where you secretly want to start a business, but the fact that you don’t know anybody is blocking you, and so you have not made the decision to start the business!” Please put your idea out there, be excited about it and the people that you need to make it happen will just be attracted to you; they are out there waiting for you. What you need to do is exactly the opposite of what you have been doing so far. You are probably waiting until you have enough connections so you can start that business; if you stay on this path, you will get the same results that you´ve gotten up until now, because you will stay with the same friends who have the same beliefs that built your self-image. Can you see the vicious circle here?
Empower yourself by using your immigration!
You have already done the tough part of the job, tears have been poured out already!
Now it´s time to make that final change that will let you break free into the world of entrepreneurship as an immigrant.
• Start working as an employee in the same industry as the business of your dreams; you will most likely meet the right people to share your idea with.
• Show everyone your true You, freeing yourself from the old limiting beliefs, and everyone will fall in love with your authenticity.
• Leave everyone you meet feeling better about themselves.
• Visualize your new business, picturing yourself serving smiling customers and running it with the intention of improving their lives, and yours will improve, too.