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Bob and Melinda Blanchard on Pursuing Your Dreams
Married for more than 30 years, Bob and Melinda Blanchard have always lived what they love. They’ve created eight businesses together, some large, some small and many on less than $10,000. After decades of entrepreneurial ventures in New England, they moved to the tiny Caribbean island of Anguilla and opened a restaurant on the beach. They were constantly asked for advice about helping others to follow their passions, so they wrote several books on the subject. The first, A Trip to the Beach, detailed their experiences in moving from Vermont to Anguilla and opening their restaurant. The most recent, Live What You Love, is their response to the thousands of people who have asked them for help. Here, the Blanchards share their tips for pursuing a dream.
What’s your basic philosophy about pursuing dreams?
Bob: Living what you love is a mind-set, attitude and approach to life. Instead of waking up and thinking, “Someday I’ll be less caught up in work and will spend time with my family,” or “Someday I’ll have enough money to write that book,” start thinking, “This is possible, I can do this. I can figure out what steps I need to take in the first 30 days of making this happen.”
What’s been the biggest surprise for you while helping others pursue a dream?
Melinda: When we wrote Live What You Love, we thought the audience would be baby boomers—people in their late 50s looking for a change or adjustment—but the book speaks to young people, too. People in their 20s and 30s see that it’s possible not to take the traditional route. Young people love having a different way to look at things.
How can people find the money they need to pursue a dream?
Often it doesn’t take as much money as you think to make something happen, especially if you take one step at a time. Get to the first level, then see where you can get more money. Do you need a partner? Can you sell that big house or something that’s not as important anymore? There’s always a way of finding money.
What do people tend to underestimate and overestimate in the first 30 days of pursuing a dream?
Bob: They underestimate how long it will take, how much it will cost and their own capabilities. They don’t give themselves enough credit. They overestimate the need for formal training and education. You can figure things out on your own. We just built a house in Vermont—finished everything except plumbing and electrical. The crew was my wife and son. It was the best summer we ever had! We didn’t know how to build a house. We just started from the ground and built up.
What kind of dreams have you come across other people doing?
Melinda: A St. Louis woman makes gourmet backpacks for people hiking in the Azores. An older couple from Tennessee wants to move to South Carolina; he’s taking early retirement and doing it. We’ve heard from someone who wants to learn to speak French; she figured out how to take a summer in France, even though she has a full-time job, so she won’t have regret someday.
What is the most important thing to do during the first 30 days of pursuing a dream?
Melinda: Following your dreams takes prioritizing. If your dream is important, put it at the top of your list. Don’t put your job at the top if it’s really not there.
For more information on Bob and Melinda Blanchard, visit www.lwyl.com.