When you’re just starting out, you need to find what you’re good at and push hard to “invent” yourself, so to speak. You need to really want it badly. Professional athletes make it to the highest levels by pushing themselves -- they stay longer than other players at the gym and work harder on their skills. It’s also about having the drive to stick with it no matter what. Plenty of business owners got started and hit their stride later in life, such as Colonel Harland Sanders, who was 56 when he founded Kentucky Fried Chicken after many failed businesses. Then there’s Richard Branson, who founded Virgin Cola, Virgin Vodka, Virgin Cosmetics, Virginware (lingerie) and Virgin Cars, among many other failed businesses, before he saw great success with Virgin America. These type of athletes, business owners and ordinary individuals like myself have one thing in common ... drive.
Stay determined and find your passion
Finding your path is important -- finding your passion is also important. Then staying driven until you get to where you want to be is essential. Rather than having a single, solitary focus, however, it helps to open yourself up to various opportunities so you’ll have a better chance of finding something that works for you. But you need to be searching with an open mind and looking at everything as an opportunity.
Too many people aren’t open to new opportunities -- they’re determined to do what they want on their own terms. But if there’s no market for it, or they focus on themselves rather than on their customers, they end up with a failed business. In other cases, people find an opportunity they really like but walk away too soon without giving it enough time. Often, they fail to put in the hours and research to find the best path to making it work. If I lost my drive and walked away from real estate after my first failed deal, I would not be where I am today, and you would not be reading this book. I knew that I had found my passion and that no matter what, I had to stay driven.
When you stay driven for as long as I have, you eventually find the right path. It’s all about persistence and a need to keep on building on that mindset.
Do you really want it?
It’s important to gauge your desire when it comes to thinking about your goals. You have to really want it ... and if you want it badly enough, you’ll find a way and, somehow, you’ll get there. The forces of the universe work in a crazy way, and at some point, you end up crossing paths with the right people. That, along with the powers of your subconscious and, yes, a little bit of luck, can sometimes make the stars align for you.
To really want something badly, you need to have a source of motivation. What is motivating you to succeed and to stay on the path to your destination? Where is your drive coming from? For many people, it’s a desire to provide your family with a good life or have the financial freedom to buy the finer things in life. Desperation and escaping poverty are also strong motivating factors; they certainly were for me. I was desperate to get far away from the hardship I experienced when my family came here. I never wanted to go back to living in a car and was going to keep on trying to do better no matter what life threw at me.
I also felt a lot of pressure to help my family get through the financial hardship we were experiencing. I was laser-focused on becoming successful and making the pain of loss and struggle go away. Had I been born into a lot of money, I probably wouldn’t have tried so hard. To be honest with you, sometimes it’s better to be poor or come from “humble beginnings.” It gives you tremendous motivation to be successful. Having a lot of money can make you too comfortable. This isn’t to say that many people who come from money don’t work hard to succeed on their own and go on to do great things. But for some, the comfort holds them back.
Stay on track
Once you find your source of motivation, cultivate your passion and “invent” yourself, staying on track is important. To do that, set up weekly and yearly goals. I find that yearly goals are supercritical for me. They’re goals I want to reach at some point during the year. They’ll take a while, so I don’t anticipate reaching yearly goals quickly. I review my yearly goals every month to see how much progress I’ve made. If I’m not making progress, I pick up the pace.
As for the weekly goals, I make a list of what I need to accomplish and check the items off line by line as I go through the week. These lists are critical for me to stay on track. If you don’t write goals down, you can get lazy, go on vacations and do other things that are unproductive. Pretty soon, you’ll see that six months have gone by, and you’re nowhere closer to your goal than when you started the year.
Whether you keep a daily “to-do” list or work from a weekly list, look at it often and prioritize what you need to do next, then check each item off or delete it from your phone as you go. This is super important when it comes to being productive: When you write things down, your mind is also taking mental notes and your subconscious is working in the background for you. If you’re looking for an app to help manage your schedule and keep track of goals, check out Todoist, OmniFocus or Planner Pro.
Image Credit: David Crotty | Getty Images
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