I have earned no business degrees in school, however, quite a few have been earned in real life - in the trenches and on the field as a self-employed mother of 3.
Like many entrepreneurs, what drives me in life is a passion to help and the need to be free. I never like to give up control of how my life is to be lived; in other words, I am ‘genetically unemployable’. Guided by my Faith in God and a desire to do right by others, even when there's a roadblock, personally, I find ways to continue.
I cannot begin to tell you how many people have wanted to know what it takes to be successful. “What’s the secret?” they ask. This is one of the reasons why I started blogging back in 2009, so that we can have a continuing discussion on this fascinating topic of ‘success’. The truth is, success is not about one thing we do or a good decision that we make. It is really about wanting it and working hard towards achieving it. Success is a journey, not a destination … it is an adventurous voyage of self-discovery.
Today, permit me to share three things that I believe are at the core of achieving at a high level:
In order to survive in today's world, you must be MENTALLY STRONG, in other words, your mind has to be fit and alert just like the body when it is pushed physically.
Mentally strong means completely ridding our minds of the ‘victim mentality’ as only the strong survive in business. I read somewhere a long time ago that the only ones who succeed are those who MUST. You cannot afford to fold every time a challenge comes at you, or someone says something you don't like or talks to you in a certain way; you must not give in to doubt. It is important to build an inner shield around your dreams, to grow a strong mental backbone.
Somewhere on this journey we realize that very few people really do care about us, people are concerned about themselves. It is a tough world … so, be prepared and curb your expectations of "Kumbaya" moments. However, stick to those relationships that are supportive and nurturing. Whether your business is traditional or home-based, do not expect much pity from anyone. You must be a survivor.
Every successful entrepreneur is a tenacious and refuses to quit – they make things happen whether A approves or not.
- The Choice comes with a Price
There are usually 2 routes in life when it comes to making a living: to be an employee or be self-employed. Each has it disadvantages and advantages. The life of an employee is:
– Waking up every day to go work for someone else, even when you don’t feel like it;
– Having a boss who tells you when to come to work and when to get off, including how many vacation days;
– The company determines whether you get a raise and when you get it;
– Living with the threat of losing your pay check if "something" goes wrong.
Meanwhile, the advantages include:
– Simply applying your ‘skill’ to a system that someone else has established.
– Avoiding the challenges and pressure that come with being your own boss – all you have do is fit into someone else’s plan.
– You are sure to get a salary or wage at the end of each work period.
A business owner is:
– The pace-setter; the one in charge who makes the rules that him and in most cases others follow.
– The one who must step-up and create an income flow; others rely on him.
– The one who has their freedom, and must be bold enough to take control of their lives.
– Disciplined, and figures out ways to increase productivity and stay afloat.
– Tends to be more fulfilled because he stretches himself and realizes what he is made of.
– Self-develops and tends to become a better person in the process of growing his business.
The biggest disadvantage of business ownership is the pressure that comes with getting the results that drive your business.
It takes a certain kind of toughness upstairs to survive in the world of business … this may explain why more than 90%of Americans are employees.
Unfortunately, mental toughness is not something that can be taught. It is a personal decision an individual makes; it's a muscle that only you can develop and strenghten. The entrepreneur thinks: I am self-confident, I have what it takes and I will be victorious; I will run my own life and take responsibility for my actions; I refuse to be defeated; I must live a happy and fulfilled life; I have goals that must be achieved; If anyone has done it before me, I can too; My freedom is more important to me than anything else. I will take the pressure, but I must be free.
When you place a value on you and determine the type of life you want to live (purpose), with self-confidence and the right mindset, you will prevail.
Talent alone does not cut it these days; you must have a clear understanding of where you are going and how you will get there. You must ask yourself these key questions: a) What do I want my life story to be? What kind of life do I aspire to live? b) How will I get there? c) What does it take?
Your goals don't have to be extraordinary. Start with a decision to turn in a certain direction and then hatch a plan and execute it consistently. Our individual desires are just as different as we are, ranging from ‘I just want to get-by’ to ‘I want to be the best parent, nurse, the most creative artist, most productive entrepreneur, a millionaire, etc.’ Seek the things that bring happiness and fulfillment.
Sometimes, we make decisions on what direction we want to take our lives, but lack the know-how to move forward. It is hence important to do your research. Seeking pertinent relevant knowledge that is key to success, especially when you are ready to act.
– Gain knowledge of your Trade
The bible in Proverbs 4:7 says,“Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom: and with all thy getting, get understanding.”
Seek to understand the concept behind it, the process that guides it, and the how-tos.
I watch the Animal Channel on TV sometimes. I had always wondered how guys are able to interact with wild vicious animals that human beings really have no business dealing with. Tigers, lions, and other animals that could rip off their heads in a minute. Why would anyone want to live with them, play with them, be comfortable around them? Now I understand that these animal-lovers achieve this by getting into the minds of these animals and having a deep understanding of their thought and action processes and how they generally function.
When you gain in-depth knowledge of how things function, you can anticipate challenges even before they occur. And to take in new knowledge, we have to start with open minds that are capable of absorbing new things. When we gain knowledge, there is no fear of the unknown.
Believe me, most businesses have a pattern which they do not deviate from. Simply put, you can control anything you understand.
– Seek to understand the challenges and why you're facing them.
Expect challenges. Remember that there are challenges everywhere. Knowledge helps you overcome them. There is no such thing as ‘start today, get rich tomorrow’. Life is set up where you get things in exchange for what you put in and in making a living, what you put in is hard work. So, why then do folks expect much for less?
In the words of Napoleon Hill, “Big pay and little responsibility are circumstances seldom found together.” I have seen people truly disappointed because they found out things were not as easy as they thought. Nothing worth having comes easily. Knowing that challenges will come is a sure step in the right direction.
No matter how much knowledge you gain, you will experience difficulties and challenges at different levels. The high achiever's mindset is "If it ain’t working yet, I must be missing something … what do I need to fine-tune?” NOT "If it ain't working, there must be something wrong with it".
I believe that you will always win if you take time to analyze and understand the difficulties you face. Avoid playing the blame game.
A doctor who is faced with a patient in pain, first diagnoses the problem, before he comes up with a treatment plan. Applying this same philosophy in life, almost always guarantees great accomplishments.
Every problem has a solution. If you can honestly and truthfully identify the problem, you will find a remedy. The results you are looking for are right there underneath the challenges.
Act and Wait! Sow and Reap
Patience is a virtue; one that we either naturally possess or must develop. Most things go through a cycle, whether it's childbirth, acquring an education, or building a business. You plant a seed; you must wait for it to germinate. The cycles of life happen naturally and when we try to speed things up by our powers, we get in trouble. At some point we must learn to give up control and let things run their course, while holding our end of the bargain which is putting in our best effort.
Life is like that garden that after planting, you water the garden, add manure and tend to it with loving care to ensure healthy plants and large, juicy fruits. You prune dead leaves, and watch the healthy ones sprout and grow colorfully. Same with your business: your seeds have no choice but to germinate after the work has been done on healthy grounds.
Most often, we quit too soon … without giving our seeds enough time to germinate.
One plus one is always two. Although there might be some shades of gray in between and different people arrive at two in different ways, it never changes: 0+1+1= 2; 0+0+1+1+0=2;1+0+0+0+1=2. In the same way, you will find success with the right ingredients.
In your uniqueness, you are capable of making a mark and being happy. Everyone has different desires, different goals, different dreams, yet too many never act on them and few ever hang-in there long enough to see their goals materialize. Don’t let that be you; move steadily towards the life you desire and drink from the well of fulfillment.
Simply put, my formula for success is:
Tenacity + Understanding + Patience = Success
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