How to become successful was one of the biggest questions I have wrestled with since high school. I defined success in many ways over that time but success itself–however I defined it–seemed impossible to achieve. One word that describes all those years very well is ‘hesitation.’ I had a lack of commitment to the degree I pursued in college, a lack of commitment to a career and simply a lack of commitment to an overall purpose in life.
Three reasons I fell into a rut.
I was afraid of the opportunity costs since pursuing one option meant I could not pursue others.
I was ashamed of the things that really interested me because I feared the opinions of others. Most of those years I quietly longed to work in Christian ministry but didn’t want to be labeled a fanatic.
I was not willing to work hard. As soon as the journey got tough I gave up. All of this is on me.
This ultimately meant I spent several years feeling very mediocre. They weren’t really bad years, per se; but those years fell far short of the dreams I had for myself. The cruel irony of hesitation is that it didn’t make the decision go away and now that time is gone.
One question that is changing everything for me
“What do you WANT to do?”
My wife has asked me this many times during our years of marriage. I honestly felt offended by the question because she side-stepped all the other stuff I was wrestling with and focused in on it. It felt like she didn’t care about what I was going through, or that I simply did not know what I wanted. But that couldn’t have been further from the truth. As it goes with so many of the great things our loved ones tell us, I just needed to hear that question from another voice to start taking it seriously (finally).
Enter Gary Vaynerchuk.
I love Gary’s style because it’s basically the opposite of me and I need that opposing view to give me a kick in the pants. This one line stands out to me because it gets straight to the point:
“Stop being confused.”
Just stop it. Stop being confused. Make a decision on what you want to do and pursue it. All the objections in my head need to be set aside because, for me, these feelings weren’t very reliable. Yes, I need to focus in on a specific goal. Yes, that means I will, by default, not choose the others. But that focus is important.
And, yes, I need to put on the blinders if I hear the haters chime in with their opinions.
And, of course, I need to accept that hard work is going to pave the way to success when that energy has a specific direction.
This is all a work in progress but I have a feeling it’s in progress for the duration of our lives. It’s all about the journey.