From a very early age, most of us were told to “dream big,” but what happens after the dream? What happens when you wake up?

This question was posed to a group of Citrix employees in Raleigh by Jess Ekstrom.  Jess Ekstrom is only 23 years old and is founder/CEO of Headbands of Hope.  Headbands of Hope offers headbands/headbuffs that can be purchased for children or adults.  For every headband/buff sold, one is given to a child with a cancer and $1 is donated to fund life-saving childhood cancer research.

Ekstrom founded her company when she was 19 years old, and her headbands have been worn by many celebrities and have been featured on The Today Show.  As a driven entrepreneur, she was invited to speak by the WIN Raleigh organization (Women’s Information Networking), sponsored by the BHAG (Big Hairy Audacious Goal) set by ShareFile founder, Jesse Lipson.  We were anxious to hear what advice Ekstrom could share regarding her entrepreneurial experience.

Ekstrom delivered an inspirational keynote highlighting entrepreneurship and innovation.  Below are my top 10 takeaways (although it is hard to limit to just 10)!

  1. Be open for a spark.  A spark is the flame that is ignited inside of you when an idea is born.
  2. Entrepreneur is not a title, it is a mentality.
  3. Don’t underestimate the power of being a follower.  It takes a courageous follower to support an idea and get it off the ground.
  4. Show up!  Opportunities can’t happen if you aren’t there.
  5. Success can’t be measured.  Success is felt.
  6. Find your perspective anchor, and hold tight.  A perspective anchor is your reason for existence.  You will visit your perspective anchor especially when things aren’t going your way.
  7. Failure shows effort.  If everything is comfortable and consistent, you aren’t challenging yourself.
  8. Be aware of your energy box.  You only have so much energy in each day, and you are in control of how much energy is being directed towards positive or negative thinking.
  9. Involve yourself in conversation.  Everyone is unique and we all have something that we can learn and share with the world.
  10. Dream big, but consider what you will do after the dream.  You will have a 30 second window after your idea is born where you can continue living your life, or take action.

After Jess’ keynote, I felt inspired to continue trying to find solutions through action and positive thinking.

My question to you is, after dreaming big, what will you do when you wake up?