I’ve been thinking a lot lately about this last year of my entrepreneurial journey. I’ve been pondering the ups and downs, the failures and successes, the times I’ve been happy or sad. I’m realizing more than ever that being an entrepreneur is like being part of the Fellowship of the Ring – you typically have a crazy mission your after, you have to endure failures and setbacks, and sometimes the weight/burden of the journey is too much.
If you haven’t seen Lord of the Rings, I’d recommend watching it. Otherwise, that reference probably didn’t make much sense. Regardless, I’m sure you can relate to the idea that entrepreneurship is a journey that requires sacrifice and risk-taking. Entrepreneurship is also supposed to be fun and exciting – if it isn’t, maybe it’s time to reconsider your pursuit of being an entrepreneur.
In my pondering about these last 18 months, I’ve thought about what has kept me grounded throughout the ups and downs of entrepreneurship. I’ve thought specifically about experiences I’ve had and the people I’ve met, the books I’ve read and the podcasts I’ve listened. And in all of those thoughts, I’ve come away with 3 main things that have empowered me and helped me stay positive.
I’m confident that these 3 ideas can help you succeed. I also believe that you probably have your own list or thoughts of what has helped you overcome the challenges of entrepreneurship – and that’s great. Add these to your list, try them out, and see just how much happier you become.
Here they are:
- I’ve Surrounded Myself with Good People.
I’m sure you’ve heard the saying that you are the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with. And though that saying is far from scientific, I believe that it has truth to it. I’ve noticed that the more I spend time around lazy people, I am inclined to be lazy. The more I spend time around confident people, the more inclined I am to be confident. I’m certain that if you take a step back and analyze the people you spend time with, then look at your tendencies and thoughts and behavior, you’ll notice that there are similarities.
The key, then, is to surround yourself with individuals who behave in a way that you want to behave.
Remember that the people you spend time with could be thinking the same thing – that they are a reflection of you and the other people they choose to spend time with. Hopefully, this motivates you to be a good person, filled with optimism, patience, practicality, confidence, and whatever else that person needs you to be.
You and I must also think deeply about the content we consume. Is it helping us reach our goals? If not, consider pulling the plug and finding other media that does. After all, the videos we watch, music or podcasts we listen to, and blogs and news articles we read do influence our behavior and way of perceiving of life.
If I’m not creating content, I’m consuming it; so, I’ve become incredibly vigilant in making sure the content I’m watching, hearing, and experiencing is in line with who I am and who I want to be.
2. I’ve Kept a Journal.
Yes, that’s right – I keep a journal.
And it has been one of the greatest tools and resources for me. Journaling has become a means for me to write down ideas, thoughts, and challenges I’m facing. Expressing myself through writing has become a way for me to release stress and clear my mind – two things that I believe are overlooked by entrepreneurs.
A journal can also become an accountability tool. The best way to solidify your goals and increase the likelihood of achieving them is by writing them down.
Journalizing my goals has become a weekly ritual for me. Each Sunday night, I sit down in a quiet place and think about my vision for my life. I evaluate my “why” for my life by thinking about my motivations, desires, passions, and talents. I think about my previous goals and how I’ve done at achieving them; I consider my future and what I need to do to get there. Then, I write down 3 goals for the week that will help me a) stick to my “why” and b) achieve my long-term vision for my life.
The journaling process is crucial to my success as an entrepreneur. Writing down my thoughts, ideas, feelings, and experiences empowers me to embrace life and live in a meaningful way. Pondering and penning my goals strengthens my ability to achieve them, enabling me to stay on a course that will lead to the life I am creating for myself.
Along with writing my experiences, goals, feelings, and ideas, I also write down what I am grateful for on a regular basis. This helps me stay humble and remember what matters most. Gratitude brings peace, energy, and happiness in a special way that each of us needs to have in order to sustain long-term growth as humans.
Each of us has life experiences that are important. Each of us also has goals and dreams for our life. The best way to remember the important experiences and reach our destination in life is by writing it all down. If you don’t already have a journal, I’d encourage you to start one. If you have a journal and write in it consistently, share with others how it has helped you in your life.
3. I’ve Read One Book Each Month
When is the last time you read a book? What was that book about? How did you help you pursue your entrepreneurial goals?
If you’re having a difficult time answering those questions, now is the perfect time to set a goal to read a book this month, committing to memory phrases and ideas that you find meaningful.
Reading increases our knowledge and understanding of the world. If you want to learn how to do something, chances are a book has been written about it. The process of learning through reading is a way we can exercise our brains and improve our mental capacity to learn, remember, and understand. I once heard that Leaders are Readers – which I believe to be true. Reading can also be entertaining and can provide a break from the demands of the world.
As a young kid and teenager, I loved reading fictional stories of average kids that became heroes. I would read books such as Harry Potter or Pendragon and then feel so inspired and happy inside. My imagination would then lead me to visualize a life in which I was the main character in the story, saving the world after discovering my true identity as a hero.
In looking back at the books I read as a kid, I am beginning to realize that they prepared me to be an entrepreneur. They helped prepare me to face my fears, overcome my obstacles, and pursue my potential.
And books can help prepare you and me just the same today.
That’s why I choose to read a book each month – not only to gain knowledge and learn how to succeed as an entrepreneur but to help prepare me to overcome the challenges of life.
My advice: Pick up a book this week instead of watching Netflix or Hulu.
I’d love to hear your thoughts and ideas about these 3 principles for greater success.
As always, never forget how amazing you are.