The five pillars of following your dream and building something that matters


Publish Date: NA
Print Date: 9-2-2022
Published by James Wilder


In book I “FOUNDER” we talked about the key aspects of becoming a founder of your dreams and building a strong foundation. In this book “BUILDER” we will explore the five pillars of building something you believe in. The five pillars are:

  1. Do what you believe in.
  2. Serve people you care about.
  3. Know your business.
  4. Execute well.
  5. Invest in yourself.

You have a dream. You have a strong belief. You have defined your purpose. You have put your stake in the ground and recorded the date of the founding of your dream. Now it’s time to build.

I hope this book inspires you to pursue a greater vision for your life. I hope you see a vision that compels you to live each day on purpose. I hope that you experience an ever increasing joy and fulfillment knowing that your life has greater meaning and impact than you have ever imagined.

Are these big hopes? Yes, of course! Why waste hope on small things?

To your success!


How do you do what you believe in? This is where all success books are silent, and rightly so.

There is no book written that details how to achieve your dream. Only you can write the book after you figure it out.

Dreams are completely different from careers. Most careers are well defined. A dream, however, is uniquely yours. You are the only one who can define your dream. You are the only one who can build your dream. Without you, your dream is not possible. No one else can build your dream.

What is needed is a vision, some form of plan, and some courage. You will find the resources you need along the way. The resources that will help are specific to your dream, such as how to master photography, how to open a restaurant, how to become a writer, and so on. These are the right resources to invest in.

The most important thing is to start.

To Start We Must Begin

This is how people move mountains and turn dreams into reality. They begin. The moment you begin, you can say "I am living my dream. I am doing what I believe in."

Your first step can be as simple as writing your dream on paper. Big things start small. Then do the next thing. Then the next.

Have a vision, begin, and build day by day. This is success.

There Are No Success Secrets

There are no success secrets. There is just your dream. Your dream is your success. That's the secret.

What about all the keys to success? The secret to success? The pillars of success? The books, websites, and seminars? What about positive thinking?

Positive thinking won't make you successful. It will make you more positive. And, people will be less likely to avoid you. Success books can be helpful, but they won’t make you successful. Or, maybe I haven’t found the right book (but I highly doubt it).

Then what good are success books? Many people, including me, buy books about success because they are not sure what to do. They want to be successful, but they don't know how. They don't know where to start. They know they aren’t living up to their potential. They feel like they are making little progress after a long time. They have discovered that there is more to life. They are looking for something that is missing. They are looking for a breakthrough. They need some hope.

In these cases, success books are like coaches who help you through the hard times. They tell you to hang in there. They tell you success stories. They give you mental tips to overcome doubt.

But success books are nothing without your dream. If you have a vision, then go for it. Success books, websites, and seminars are not required. Your dream is your success. That's the secret.


Success books are really skills books. They can help with the common problems anyone will experience along the journey. But success teaching can't turn a dream that doesn't quite work into a success. That would be a miracle. Another success book won’t fix it.

Success is about following your dreams, having a clear vision, and taking specific action towards making it happen. Your dream is your success.

It is a powerful experience for any human being to be able to say "I am living my dreams. I am doing what I believe in." Aren't we living our dream the moment we choose to pursue it?


Serve the people who truly appreciate what you have to offer

Who Loves Ya, Baby?

Our dreams were not meant for us alone. They are also meant to benefit others. As Naval Ravikant observed: "most of life is a search for who and what needs you the most."

When we combine our talents with a mindset of serving, we create a powerful force and a sustainable energy.

What Does it Mean to Serve

To serve does not mean to be ordered around by other people. It doesn't mean to live on pennies and give your wealth to the poor. It doesn’t mean to ignore your own needs and constantly help others in need.

It also doesn't mean to volunteer or work selflessly to help others. There are many who quietly serve others out of a deep love. This is a sacred act.

The version of service I'm talking about is to use our talents to help others get what they want, and more. To serve means to truly look out for the best interests of others.

Who Do You Serve?

You serve someone you genuinely care about. They are people you can communicate with, and people you would enjoy being around, even if you're an introvert.

Steve Jobs didn’t want to create products for techie people. He wanted the computer to be so easy to use it would almost disappear. At the very least, it wouldn’t get in your way. He wanted to build tools that empower people to create. Needless to say, most techie people didn’t want a Mac. The people Jobs served were creators that could care less about the technology. And these people loved Apple because they delivered what they needed.

Serving people that stress you out is not sustainable or fun. The key is to serve in a way that brings delight to you and the people you serve.

How Do You Serve?

This is the fun part. We get to use our unique talents and imagine all the ways we could help others.

For example, if you dream of owning a hamburger restaurant, you start with providing hamburgers to your customers. That's where most businesses begin and end. Sell hamburgers, make a profit.

But what would it look like to truly serve your customers? Maybe you are passionate about gourmet hamburgers. Maybe you empathize with young families, so you create an environment that is good for kids and adults. Maybe you add several hand cleaning stations for the kids, and provide stickers that say “I have clean hands” (Mighty Fine Burgers in Austin, Texas does this). Maybe you create a booklet that tells your story. You put these booklets on all the tables. The booklet could educate your customers on how you source your ingredients, how you prepare the food, how you keep everything clean to prevent contamination. People like to look at things (like your booklet) while they are waiting! It also gives them something to talk about (You!). Maybe gourmet burger lovers also love exotic cars? Promote a car night! There are so many possibilities!

All these ideas come from the mindset of a servant. A servant is always thinking "How can I use my talents to better serve the people I care about, and maybe even delight them at the same time."

Just this week I went to a locally owned Italian restaurant. During the hour and a half I was there, the owner went from table to table visiting with the patrons. I noticed him engage with an employee for a minute, they laughed, and he gave them a big hug. I could list several more things I observed, but you get the point. This is a service oriented restaurant, they love their patrons, and it's always packed.

Today it's a miracle if you get a smile and a thank you. Imagine the impact we could make by deeply caring about the people we serve (because it's our passion too). It's about serving in a way that is true, delightful, and satisfying.

Why Serve?

If we do what we believe in, and invest in ourselves, we live a richer life. We can then look for ways to use our talents to serve others. When we use our talents to serve others, it gives us a sense of satisfaction and significance.

This is our opportunity in life to live our values, and use our talents.

If this sounds too big or impossible, just remember, all big things start small. We don't even have to go big. Our aim is "just right."


Your dream is your business

Our Dream Is Our Business

Our dream is our business. Like an actor is in show business, we are in the business of making our dreams come true.

Our business is something that is personal to us. It's no one else's business. It's not that it's a secret, it’s just that it doesn't apply to anyone else. Our dream and our DNA are an exact match. It's ours to explore and enjoy every facet, like a sparkling diamond.

Since we are the founder of our business, we need to know it well. There are at least three aspects of knowing our business: the dream, the business, and the people.

The Dream

We can't lose sight of the fact that our business is our dream. We need to experience the feelings that give us satisfaction. Otherwise, it just becomes a job. For example, we might want the satisfaction of directing our own creative efforts, or we might want the satisfaction of people enjoying our books. Our dream should be a way to meet those needs.

Additionally, we want to know every detail about our dream! Our dream is like a house we build from scratch. We decide everything, the location, number of bedrooms, colors, textures and materials. Warning, this can be overwhelming! The good news is we can decide things as we go along.

Our dream is something we could write a book about, and we should! It's an inspirational story. We write one chapter at a time. Eventually we will know our dream so well we will have a book. Our dream is ours. It's up to us to bring it into the world. We do that by practicing day-by-day.

The Business

Our business is where we get to unleash our creativity. This is where we get to use our unique talents to serve others. This is where dreams get real. We craft our products and services, deliver them, and listen for feedback.

What service do you want to provide? What is unique about your service? What is your style?

We should know our products and services like the back of our hand. We know which isle every product is on. We can recommend the right product, and explain why.

We do all of this in our unique style. It might be your red plaid shirt and your smile. It might be your gift of gab. It might be your genius-like expertise. Even if you sell nails, your people will only want to buy nails from you.

The People

You know who you want to serve. What do they need? What would they want? What would delight them?

What do you want the people you serve to feel? This is key! For every interaction a person has with your business, how do you want them to feel? Because feelings are as important as the service.

For example, how do you want people to feel when they see your business? If they have to wait in line, how do you want them to feel? How do you want people to feel when they reach the front of the line? How do you want people to feel when they interact with you? How do you want people to feel when they leave? How do you want people to feel a day later?

People will choose a business that makes them feel good. People will recommend a business that makes them feel good. People will come back to a business that makes them feel good. Because they feel cared for, and that is what serving is all about.

We don't have to be perfect. If we try to be perfect, we will always fail. But we can make people feel good (or better) by owning up to our mistakes.


Our dream is our business. Our dream is an exact match to our DNA. Our business is where we get to unleash our creativity and use our unique talents to serve others.

This is our one opportunity to create a life where we use our talents and live our dreams. Our dreams don't have to generate a single dime. Not all profit is measured in dollars and cents. The greatest profit is living a purposeful and fulfilling life.


Execution is where the magic happens.

The Magic

Using our gifts to serve brings us fulfillment and significance. No matter if you are an artist, philosopher, photographer, designer, landscaper, furniture maker, or bicycle mechanic, how you execute is just as important as what we do. Skillful execution is where the magic happens.

On the other hand, poor execution can tarnish a quality product. Who hasn’t experienced these things: Your order was lost, the order was wrong, you had to wait even longer to get your order fixed, they overcharged, the wait was longer than necessary, or you were served without care or appreciation. Sometimes it's all of the above! And unlike the Terminator, you won't be back.

These are all execution problems. And execution is where simple things fall apart.

If we desire to serve, and do it in a way that is deeply fulfilling, the key is to execute well. The result is a magical experience.

The Experience

How do we execute well? The key is to identify every customer touchpoint and ensure we deliver what is expected.

For example:

How do potential customers find you?
How do they understand your services?
How do they request your service?
How do you deliver your service?
How do you maintain the relationship?
How do you know the customer's experience through the whole process?

The key is:

Think about the expectations of the person you are serving.
Define what it means to execute well.
Make execution part of your product or service.

Execution is not about being perfect. Things will go wrong! But if we truly care about the people we serve, we can find ways to turn any negative experience into a positive. We do this by making execution part of how we serve.

The Mindset

If we have the mindset that we are delivering an experience as well as a service, we will be more aware of the areas we can improve.

We never think of the people we serve as a one time transaction. Once we get to serve someone we are in that person's memory forever. If it’s a good memory, they are highly likely to return, recommend, or talk about their experience. One customer can bring your business much profit through repeat visits. Sadly, I often see businesses willing to lose good customers by making careless mistakes or offering excuses. In their mind there is always another customer. Treating the people we serve as a one-time transaction is not a servant mindset.

Each customer is valuable. But each customer also represents a tree of relationships - they have relatives, friends, co-workers, and connections with businesses and organizations. If we execute well, and prove to be trustworthy, the people we serve become our advocates. I don't say this to promote greed! We just need to be aware of the reality of connectedness. For example, we have only required the services of our realtor to buy one house. However, we have referred her to our friends. So far, our realtor has earned four commissions through us (so far)! All we did was tell our friends about our real estate agent.

We want to value each customer, client, or patron. But we can’t please everyone, and we don’t try to. That’s why we serve a group of people we care about. If we try diligently, but can’t please someone, then they are simply not our people. And that’s perfectly fine.


You are the expert at what you do. You use your talents to serve others. But to execute well we need to develop our execution skills. Our talents might be natural, but execution will take effort. Execution is where the magic happens.

No matter if you are an artist, philosopher, photographer, designer, landscaper, or bicycle mechanic, how we execute is just as important as what we do. Make execution part of your product or service.


An investment in knowledge pays the best interest.


Not all investments are equal.

So many things we learn today are of little value in a few years. Knowledge becomes obsolete, car technology changes, programming frameworks change, computer operating systems change, tax laws change, certifications expire, and so on.

Time is one of the most valuable resources we have. Time flies. We invest many hours of our life in our job, and we can never get those hours back. Yet, we must earn a living.

Life makes many demands on us, but we should never neglect investing in ourselves and our dreams.

Invest In Yourself

The wealthy pay close attention to their investments. In the same way, we, as dream builders, pay close attention to the investments we make in ourselves. By investing in ourselves we gain many benefits such as a sense of purpose, satisfaction, growth, contribution, and significance. These are some of the key ingredients for a fulfilling life.

A fulfilling life is a lifetime of learning and growing. We must allocate time for learning. We need fresh ideas, perspective, insight and inspiration. We can read books that we're attracted to. We can read the biographies of people we admire or are curious about. We can take classes. We can seek experiences through travel that recharge and inspire us. Whatever our dream is, we keep it alive and growing. We keep learning and investing.

As dream builders, we practice our craft. This gives the ability to say we are living our dream. Practicing helps us validate and perfect what we learn. It is in "the doing" that new ideas are generated. And of course, our practice is how we use our gifts to serve others.

As we learn and practice, we have something to share. The more we learn and practice, the more we have. The more we have, the more we can share. Sharing helps us to learn more deeply. It gives us confidence in our understanding. Find a way to share your knowledge. This is how society should work. Sharing helps us to become known. Sharing over a long period of time helps us to become a trusted resource.

Learning, practicing, and sharing work together to maximize our investment.

Self Investment Is Not Selfish

If we have the right values and principles in place, then seeking to improve ourselves is not selfish. In fact, I argue that it is a privilege afforded by few on this planet. Maybe it is even a responsibility.

The more we invest in ourselves, the better we can serve others, the better the world becomes.

Self Investment Creates Abundance

We might think of abundance as a flow of good things coming to us. But abundance is about good things flowing from us.

When we invest in ourselves, we start the process of small gains day-by-day. Over time, we begin to accumulate more than we can use. This accumulation gives the ability to share generously, without fear of loss. That is abundance.

Invest Wisely

Not all investments are profitable. We should pay careful attention to what we invest in. I have learned this the hard way. I have invested in things that had no real value over the long term. A good question to ask is: will this benefit me for the rest of my life even if my dream fails? For example, I spend some of my time writing a photography tutorial. If I never finish it, or it never sells, I still profit from the knowledge I gain. Photography is a lifelong hobby for me, so I will always benefit from the time I invest.


We must see the value of something before we pursue it. The value of investing in ourselves can make life mean something far greater than we imagined, more than we thought possible. It will improve our lives every day, forever.


In this book “BUILDER” we explored the five pillars of building something you believe in.

The five pillars are:

Do what you believe in.
Serve people you care about.
Know your business.
Execute well.
Invest in yourself.

You are a FOUNDER and a BUILDER of your dreams. There is much work to do, many lessons to learn. But this is true: once you begin, you are now living your dream. There is another title we can gain, if we continue the work, and that is the title of MASTER.

To your success!

James Wilder