5 Lessons from struggle...plus a great book list
Nearly 3 years have passed since I quit my job and started my own business. It has been quite a struggle and has brought lessons that I thought would be useful to share.
I left the safety of a corporate job at 44 years old with a mission to follow my vision, accept more responsibility, and to create more freedom in my life. It has brought on some of my highest of highs and lowest of lows! The risk I took to grow my own business has brought on feelings of isolation, powerlessness, and has literally brought me to tears. I have also had my share of celebratory moments that I can now look back on. As difficult as it has been, I would wish it on everyone I know if they could benefit from it as I have. The least I can do is share what I have learned.
1. Learn your value:
Knowing your value is different from learning your value. To know your value without learning your value is probably more like being assigned a value. If you are assigned a value you have accepted what has been offered to you by a company, corporation, or system. However, to learn your value is to first go out and earn your value, it's to put forth energy and see what is returned to you. Once you realize the power to impact the return based on the energy you are able to put forth, you will know that your value is a variable, not a constant and a variable that you can impact. Learn your value and your value will grow.
2. Be ok with losing in exchange for learning:
Today more often than not the idea of 'losing' is associated with being a 'loser', but nothing could be further from the truth. Say for example you offer work in exchange for money and realize after the fact that you could have gotten more money than you originally estimated. Do you: A) quit the job B) complain to the person who hired you, or C) complete the job to the fullest extent noting that next time you'll adjust your numbers or reject the work? If you chose 'C' you are correct, you lost, but you are not a loser. Losing only becomes a loser if you throw in the towel, hold a grudge, and learn nothing from the experience. To be ok with losing in exchange for learning by working hard no matter your earnings is one of the fastest ways to climb the ladder to personal and financial success.
3. Take responsibility for everything:
No single point in this is more contrary to the current state of society today. Every movement in the modern age is blaming someone else for their problems. On the contrary, I have found the slogan, 'take responsibility for everything' to be the most empowering tool in my toolbox. To understand it you must first be okay with the fact that life is not fair, full of suffering, and there will always be someone who has it better. Why responsibility? Because when you take responsibility you have the power to change anything that is happening to you in an instant and that power will pole vault you forward in a way fighting and demanding your rights from others cannot. Take responsibility and take back your power.
4. Make friends with where you are today:
Too often we get stuck in the past on things that happened to us, people we wish were there for us, and things we wish that'd happened differently. Some stuff never gets resolved, if it did Mount Rushmore would have been finished to completion before the artist Gutzon Borglum died. It was never resolved to its completion and yet we appreciate it the same. Get over the past, make friends with the present, and go forth into the future.
5. Have faith it will all work out:
This last one has been one of the biggest players in my survival and one that I have shared the least. My faith that God will provide a way has been my saving grace on the darkest of nights. When the weight of failure has come knocking on my door in the late hours of the night, this has been the one thing that has brought me peace. It will work out so keep your head up and keep the faith (Matthew 6:26).
Finally in all of this, I have a long list of books that have been great resources and inspiration. A few have helped literally turn the ship and rewrite the script...44 years I have been trying to find this path that's a long time to wait. I would endorse any of these for your reading:
Ego Is the Enemy, by Ryan Holiday
The Richest Man in Babylon, by George S. Clason
How to Win Friends and Influence People, by Dale Carnegie
The Obstacle is the Way, by Ryan Holiday
Shoe Dog, by Phil Knight (went 10 years living hand to mouth to keep the doors open)
The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck, by Mark Manson
The Virgin Way, by Jason Zinoman (inspired my company name, Endless Media after Endless Summer)
Entrepreneur of Wantrepreneur by Cory Gregory, John Fosco (boot camp for business)
The 5 Second Rule by Mel Robbins
Man's Search for Meaning by Viktor E. Frankl (best book for surviving hardship)