The screen printing industry is not an easy place. It’s competitive enough for anyone to be ready to quit. The waters are bloody and if you don’t know why you are doing what you’re doing, you can easily get eaten up.

When the going gets tough and you feel like you’re ready to quit, look to your “Why”.

Your “Why” is your vision. And if you don’t have a vision for what you want to do, how do you expect to find the path to get there? Knowing where you want to go is the first step in getting there.

A good exercise that I’ve found helpful in the past is to ask yourself the following five questions. It’s called a STUMP speech and it’s design to help you find what grounds you in these shark infested waters. Get out a piece of paper, or your computer, anything to write with and think about this. If you have a partner have them do this too, then compare. You can use this to create a vision document on which to build your business.

Think big. This isn’t goal setting, this is vision building and dream making.

1. Where are you going?

2. Why are you going there?

3. Who’s going with you?

4. What are you going to do when you get there?

Here is the second version of my personal STUMP speech written in 2013. It still holds true today, 3 years later:

Where am I going?

I’m going to have fun, to find fulfillment in what I do and who I do it with. I’m going to build security for my family and inspire a dream and hope in the customers I work for, team members I work with, and people that cross my path.

Why am I going there?

I’m going there because I am lucky enough to have the ability to do so. From the country I was born in, the family I was born into, the industry I fell into, or the dream I get to live every day, I’m a lucky guy. As long as I have air in my lungs and wake up in the morning, I will work as hard as I can to take advantage of that blessing I’ve been given and pass it forward to as many people as I am able.

Who is going with me?

Every morning I wake up, run, and thank God for my beautiful wife and three awesome dudes. My biggest challenge in life is to raise them to be better than I; huge responsibility. Outside of that, it’s whomever wants to share a dream, inspire to be better, work hard, and never give up because you should never be ready to quit.

How will I get there?

By being true to myself, continuing to do what I enjoy, and if I lose enjoyment, I change something about it so I enjoy it again. By serving others, because as Zig Ziglar said, “You can have anything in life you want, as long as you help enough other people get what they want.” By working hard and smart, i know that i am not ready to quit by pushing myself every day, striving to learn, grow, and be better. By keeping a positive attitude, in good times and bad. These are the values of our company and its how I’ll get there as well.

What will I do when I get there?

I will grow old with my love, Amanda, in a house overlooking the valley, on a winery. A place inviting for children and grandchildren to come. We’ll run, travel the world, and drink to good times and enjoy the journey we’ve been on with friends, family, and those who came with us.

Our stump speech is slightly different. Some of it is the same, the values in particular, but some of it is different. It started with growing something big online, then led to growing something big in screen printing, and now is expanding to a vision that crosses the horizontal markets we touch in this business every day. This is something we continue to think about, refine, and discuss as a company.

You are never done creating your vision and you’re never going to get where you want to go. You always should look ahead and set new horizons, because if you do the possibilities are endless.

Take this and refine it down to one page, this can become your one page vision of your future in screen printing. Post it, share it with new hires, talk about it in meetings, and refine it when you reach milestones in it. Once you know where you want to go, you can keep it in your back pocket for any time you start to feel yourself slip. Remind yourself of “why” you got into screen printing in the first place.

If you do this, your vision will help you to keep focus and stay grounded, gain the respect of your external business relationships and keep you going when you’re ready to quit.

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