Buckminster Fuller was a U.S. inventor, designer and architect whose most famous achievement was inventing the geodesic dome. More than 500,000 of them have since been built around the world, including a famous one at Disney World's Epcot Center.
His story is inspirational. At the age of 32, Mr. Fuller was broke, unemployed and – as he admitted later – suicidal. Then something happened. It's said he woke up one day and decided that to change his life he had to accept there was nothing left to lose, and to live each day like it was his last. In other words, he freed himself from all his worries and just went for it.
Armed with a renewed sense of optimism, Mr. Fuller pursued his design and engineering dreams. His approach paid off, and it eventually led to him winning the 1982 U.S. Presidential Medal of Freedom in recognition of his achievements.
Mr. Fuller's story came to mind as I read some interesting research from American Express. It found that one-third of Canadians are “potentialists” – people who have made a conscious decision to live a more enriched life. In fact, 38 per cent of those polled said they have created a Potential List, made up of the goals they expect to accomplish as they explore their dreams.
I'm meeting more of these people every day. Among the many legacies of the latest economic crisis is the rise of a new breed of entrepreneur, born of a generation of Canadians who suddenly found that traditional career options were in short supply. Unlike those who spend years building a business plan or waiting for the right moment, they decided the time was right and put their dreams in motion.
Not all of them will make it, but I'm intrigued by how this influx of new business owners will affect Canada's business environment. Many people go their entire lives without making the jump. Now there's a sudden influx of people who decided to give it their best shot before moving on to Plan B. It will bring to the surface business talent that may have never come to light if circumstances had been different.
Think of all the Fullers out there right now, building companies that may one day become household names. They're optimistic and determined. As small business owners, it's easy to get bogged down in day-to-day issues and lose the bigger picture.
Let's not forget that it all starts with passion.
Special to the Globe and Mail
Mia Wedgbury, president and co-founder of High Road Communications, operates Canada's largest public relations agency focused on technology and digital lifestyle. The company, which has been recognized as one of the best workplaces in Canada for two years running, has offices in Toronto, Vancouver, Ottawa, Montreal and San Francisco. A seasoned PR expert with more than 18 years of experience, Ms. Wedgbury has directed global brand positioning programs, handled crisis communications, managed international product launches and developed PR strategy for companies across the entire tech and lifestyle spectrum. In 2006, she also helped the agency launch the High Road Connect practice – a social media, Web 2.0 and marketing services group – to help companies transcend conventional communications. Ms. Wedgbury's clients include Microsoft Canada, MSN, Canon Canada, Disney and LG Electronics.