The balancing act of how to be successful while also aiming to be happy with your life is hard
One of the largest life lessons I’ve ever learned is that there’s no rhyme or reason for success. Sure, success takes hard work and dedication but there are plenty of times in life where I’ve put in the effort and reaped nothing. There have also been times I could have cared less and I was rewarded by life. Why is that? Why should we even bother when there are people who will never reap meaningful rewards; when there are people who are handed opportunity without trying; when happy accidents fall on people who try less? How can you learn to be successful and also be happy with your life too?
Because it’s all a numbers game and we don’t know when our number will be called and opportunity and success is at our door. It doesn’t just show up and say, “Here I am! Come and get it!” Success is stealthy and hidden. It needs to be carved out of stone with no clue as to what the finished product will be. It’s kind of like the lottery, but the only people who are sure to be losers are the ones that don’t play and opt out.
These are my rules of how to be successful and what it takes. From starting my own businesses and to making it to the top of my industry, this is what it’s going to take if you want to increase your chances for success.
This is one of my favorite memes:
It reminds me not to quit because you never know how close you are to victory. Imagine walking away from your business idea, talent or what have you and watching someone else succeed at the very same thing a year later… imagine the regret and sadness. The thing is that you never know. Just thinking about that outcome is enough to keep me going.
There Is Only One You:
One of the things that has held me back in life is the idea of competition. That there will always be someone more talented, beautiful, intelligent, or privileged than me. This kept me from trying anything because it was like a self fulfilling prophesy. “Why would anyone want to do business with me? There is already so many people already doing what I’m doing…” The truth is that there is only one you, you have a unique perspective on the world, and you have unique talents, qualities and gifts. This is true for every single person on this earth. And there will always be people out there that can connect with you and would be interested in building a business with you, but it’s your responsibility to go out there and find them.
Just Do It:
“I just don’t know how…”. This one phrase, whenever I hear it, makes me roll my eyes. None of us are born with an innate knowledge on how to do anything. Let alone how to be successful Hearing that phrase is equivalent to hearing, “I don’t want to learn.” And to me, not wanting to learn is basically just giving up and shifting blame away from yourself on why you can’t accomplish what you want. I personally like to roll up my sleeves and at least try. The first try, I’ll usually get something wrong but learn. The second try, I’ll still miss some details but it will be much better. By the third or fourth try, I’ll have it down pat. Not knowing how to start a business or grow successfully is pretty much expected. Using the lack of knowledge as a reason to be complacent is a cop-out. The reason you’re not where you want to be is because you remained willfully ignorant, not because you weren’t given the right knowledge.
I was 22 when I started my first business. It was a online Amazon business selling wholesale cosmetics. I started a blog about it too and connected my products to my blog. (This when I first realized the value in blogging). I worked with my best friend on this business and we did well for the first 6 months but we weren’t growing because we kept enjoying the profits too soon. We also had one major supplier and we weren’t able to keep him happy so he dropped us. Without this supplier, our business had little value. I tried shifting to blogging, but the blogging wasn’t making enough money at the time, though I was getting a following. So I ended up dropping it because it was too expensive for me to maintain. This was my brainchild so it was very painful for me to watch, something that was such a great idea, fall and die because of my bad business decisions. Still, I learned so much from it. I learned how to bookkeep, how maintain client/supplier relations, the complexities of having a business partner, and the structure of starting a business and closing one. I’ve taken these lessons with me for every new business and employment opportunity that I’ve had moving forward. I truly believe with each failure, you can get closer to success so long as you learn from your mistakes and take that with you.
Know When To Cut Your Losses
Not all business or endeavors are meant to succeed. It might be no fault of your own. Maybe the market shifted, maybe you underestimated costs, maybe it’s just not financially feasible to continue the business, maybe you decided that whatever you were trying to accomplish is not for you. It’s OK to quit sometimes, that’s part of how to be successful. I think being honest and realistic about your needs and whether you’re able to continue takes a lot of strength. I’m a law school drop out. This is a story for another day but I went to law school for 1 year and decided it wasn’t for me. A lot of my family felt I was making a mistake but I knew in my heart that it wasn’t what I wanted nor was it a great fit for me. So I quit. I had gotten in a substantial debt for that 1 year, I’m still paying those loans but I saved myself further debt by quitting early not putting myself in further debt for years 2 & 3 of law school. It was really hard, there was so much pressure to keep going. The Assistant Dean actually called me and tried to get me to stay. But I trusted my gut and didn’t go back. And at the end of the day, it was the right decision because now I’m making close to an attorney’s income but without the law school debt. Sometimes the right choice is to quit while you’re ahead. Quitting something that’s proving to not be profitable or in your best interest allows you to stay open to opportunities that you’re better suited for.
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