“I’ll get married when I have enough money...”
“We’ll have a baby, when we’ve saved up...”
“I’ll start a business when I have the funds...” Do you use a lack of resources as a justification for inactivity?
When it comes to business decisions, it’s easy to lay the blame for inactivity on market conditions, on customers, or even on the boss: “if he’d only give me the resources I need.”
But it’s not his fault, nor that of your customers, or the market. You can wait until market conditions are ideal or until the resources you need magically appear, but that’s as foolish as waiting for a perfect time to have a baby, because that day will never come.
The good news is, whatever your target, you don’t need perfect conditions in order to begin. When you accept that you’ll never have enough, you will realise that the opportune moment is now. While everyone else is waiting and hoping, you can seize the moment and act.
You can create the market, break away from the norm and do what others say can’t be done without the ever-elusive resources.
By the late 1950s, while Abu Dhabi, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Bahrain were busy capitalising on their newfound oil reserves, Dubai’s hopes of unearthing the lucrative “black gold” were fading. The late Shaikh Rashid Al Maktoum, then Ruler of Dubai, however, was unfazed. Determined to make a success of the emirate, he announced bold plans for a series of major infrastructure projects that would develop Dubai into a regional — and ultimately global — hub.
His first priority was creating the Dubai Water Department. The emirate was surrounded by plentiful wells of fresh water, but they were kilometres away from much of the population. The new department was tasked with supplying water (and electricity) to every single home within five years.
And the water wouldn’t just be fresh; by adding in aluminium, fluoride, iron and silica, Dubai’s supply would be elevated to World Health Organisation standards.
Thanks to Shaikh Rashid’s water and electricity ambitions, daily life would soon become easier for the emirate’s growing population, but his vision didn’t stop there.
Dubai needed a creek and Shaikh Rashid had a plan.
The creek was a conduit for the majority of Dubai’s trade, but it had begun to accumulate serious silt deposits, and sandbars were causing larger vessels to get stuck, capsize, and — in worst cases — sink. Only small dhows found the creek navigable.
Anything larger was forced to anchor offshore and have its cargo unloaded onto transfer barges — and even they were getting stuck. For Shaikh Rashid, these circumstances simply wouldn’t do, and so, the dredging and expansion of the creek began.
As if dredging the creek and promising fresh water and electricity for all weren’t enough, that same year Shaikh Rashid introduced a series of courageous plans. Prime amongst them were the construction of the bridge we know today as Al Maktoum Bridge, designed to better integrate the city’s two main areas at the time, Bur Dubai and Deira, and development of Dubai International Airport along with the creation of Dubai’s first hotel (with eight rooms).
There was just one little problem: Dubai didn’t have any money to pay for these projects. Its shoestring revenues came from trade and, to a smaller extent, oil exploration concessions. At the time, any financial analyst would have warned the government against borrowing funds and would have advised a lender not to loan money to Dubai.
After all, any one of these projects — let alone all of them — was an impossible investment considering Dubai’s limited and already stretched resources. But Shaikh Rashid didn’t let that stop him.
The question is, would you? Are you letting a lack of resources stop you from progressing?
Waiting to have enough is a fool’s errand. You can either let market conditions limit your potential or you can create the market yourself. If you don’t, someone else will.
Stop waiting for the day when you magically have enough. Instead, start with whatever you have. Every day that you don’t act adds distance between you and achieving your dreams.
The writer is a CEO coach and author of “Leadership Dubai Style”. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.