In The Hard Things About Hard Things, Ben Horowitz likens running a business to driving a race car. When driving a race car, you must focus on the road. If you focus on the wall, you will run into it. By focusing on the road, you will stay on the road. Any given day, there are hundreds of obstacles lurking in and around your path to success. And as long as you focus your attention solely on these obstacles instead of focusing on your goals and vision, you will never achieve your dreams. Life is a journey. Keep your eye on the road. As a business owner, do not obsess with what can go wrong with your business. When obstacles occur, address them, look for the opportunity within the obstacle, and move on. And remember to always stay focused on your vision. Look ahead and keep moving forward.
Everyone experiences failure in life. But not everyone accepts a failure as the end of the road. Sam Walton was the founder of a highly successful retail chain. But he experienced failures, too. He just chose not to quit whenever he failed. Early in Sam Walton’s career, he franchised the Ben Franklin store in Newport, Arkansas. It was a terrible store. But he set a goal to become the most profitable Ben Franklin in Arkansas within five years. And through his hard work, he accomplished his goal. Unfortunately, Sam Walton had only signed a 5-year lease for the property. Now that the store was profitable, the landlord wanted the store and would not renew the lease. So, in the midst of accomplishing his goal, Sam Walton had to walk away from the Newport store. And that could have been the end of the Sam Walton story. But it wasn’t.
You have goals, and you know exactly what you need to do to accomplish them. This knowledge puts you ahead of most of the world. But you are never going to accomplish your goals if you never begin. Franklin was right. Most people do not know what is best for them. Those who do have a difficult time doing what is in their best interest. Whatever it is that is keeping you from beginning, get over it. Waiting for the perfect time, the proper motivation, or the positive attitude is just that. Waiting. Instead, press on towards your goal. Pursue your dreams. Start today.
In society today, living a life of virtue does not appear to be as highly regarded as it once was. Just look at the latest posts in your social media feeds. How many of the posts represent virtuousness? What does that say about you? Most importantly, how are the things that you are projecting and consuming on social media affecting your long-term goals? Franklin believed that virtue was a better way to a successful life way back in 1791. Yes, there are many who are rewarded for their high profile lifestyle. But for every one of them, there are many entrepreneurs and small business owners quietly succeeding.
You have goals. A vision for your future. You are trying to get there, but you have made mistakes along the way. That’s okay. Mistakes happen. Keep moving forward. The only way your mistakes hold you back is when you allow them to make you stop. No matter how much time you spend planning, no matter how much effort you spend in executing your plan, you will not execute your plan for success perfectly. When failures happen, reevaluate your plan and try again. Only by repeated trying will you ever accomplish your goals and achieve your vision for your life.
Success comes at a price. Your goals can only be accomplished by hard work. You must be willing to give up today’s gratification for tomorrow’s success. Remember that most entrepreneurs fail many times before they ever succeed. Many give up before achieving the success they want, unwilling to make another attempt after a failure. Think about the things in your life that you want to accomplish. What do you need to do today to make your dreams happen?