“I’m convinced that about half of what separates successful entrepreneurs from the non-successful ones is pure perseverance.” — Steve Jobs
People always dream about starting their own business. Creative ideas and the ingrained thought of working for yourself compared to solely trading time for money as an employee occupies many minds. But what stops most individuals from going all in?
Is it risk? Is it large upfront capital? Is it the time they’ll have to devote working long hours every single week? What about time away from family and friends?
Regardless of those variables, which could continue, you don’t end up a successful entrepreneur unless you find a way to appreciate risk, uncertainty, repeated failures, humble lessons, and insane hours devoted to something that may earn you absolutely nothing. That’s a possibility. But it’s also possible to design and live an extraordinary life from the fruits of your hard work and labor. There’s already enough proof of that in our capitalistic country!
Think about athletes or people working out 5 times a week to achieve an amazing physique, lower body fat %, or simply to lose/gain/maintain weight. You don’t end up with one unless you legitimately appreciate the pain and physical stress that comes with living inside a gym for hours upon hours, week after week, unless you love calculating and tracking your food, the sleep and rest you need, and planning your life out in tiny portions while tracking your micro, and importantly, macronutrients.
Business partnerships, entrepreneurship, sports, and relationships more or less have the same formulas for success. It’s part of the game of life. You cannot ultimately win if you don’t play by the rules.
Most people are asked, “What do you want to enjoy or pursue as a passion?” The relevant question also is, “What pain do you want to sustain throughout the process?” You have to choose and sacrifice somethings. You can’t have a pain-free life, business plan or ideas.
That’s the hard question that matters the most, the question that will actually get you somewhere. It’s the question that can change a perspective, or a life. It’s what makes me, me, and you, you. It’s what defines us, separates us, and ultimately brings us together.
At 22 years old, wet behind the ears, naive enough to dive into financial services, $30,000+ in student loan debt, and lacking credibility from most people, I decided to pursue a lifelong profession of teaching financial literacy, sales, marketing and entrepreneurship. Why not, right? The alternative didn’t necessarily quench my thirst.
I quickly found out this path wasn’t going to be easy or simple, but it would be worth it in the long run. The early mornings, late nights, training on weekends, flying all over the United States, working on 100% commission right out of college, deferring my loan payments for almost a year, the rejections, the no’s and stress are somethings people don’t want to fully embrace in life. I took the majority of them, and the challenges, head on.
We all have problems we inevitably have to solve in life. Warren Buffett’s got money problems; and so does the guy or girl on the street. Buffett’s just got better money problems than them or us. True or true?
Who you are, whether it’s in business or life, is defined by what you’re willing to struggle for. Athletes and gym rats like myself who enjoy the struggles of the gym are the ones who lift, run marathons (almost there), have chiseled abs and can bench press small cars. You pick your poison.
People who enjoy long work weeks, work smart, have endless meetings and phone calls are the ones who climb (not jump) to the top the fastest. People who enjoy the stresses and uncertainties of the starving artist or entrepreneurial life are ultimately the ones who live it, make it and enjoy it.
If you’re seeing the picture being painted here, it’s the most simple and basic component of business and life: our struggles determine our successes. Our problems birth our happiness, along with slightly better, slightly upgraded problems and lifestyles.
Look: it’s a never-ending upward spiral if that’s what you want. If not, great enjoy working forty to forty-five plus years of your life and ending up broke and miserable. I’m not down on jobs. I’m simply up on the opportunities of today and the future.
If you believe at any point you’re allowed to stop climbing the proverbial ladder, I’m afraid you’re missing the point. Because the joy of entrepreneurship is in the climb and journey itself.
Don’t hesitate, overthink, make things complex, or second guess your true callings in life. We’ve all been there. Make the choice to dive in headfirst. What’s the worst thing that could happen? Just make sure your ladder is leaning up against the correct wall, that is all.
My Very Best,