I’m on a plane (again), so I’m going to make this one short and sweet (I have a few episodes of House of Cards to catch up on). I was on a CEO Super Business Panel on Monday and one of the questions we were asked was, “What was one ‘win’ that you were most surprised by.” And the first thing that came to mind was that it is surprising how few wins there actually are in business.
Building a business is really hard and there are a hell of a lot more challenges every day then there are successes. Success comes in spurts and it’s important to celebrate each small victory, before you get knocked back down. The key is to keep getting back up, keep moving, and making sure you have better quality problems.
“Victory is won not in miles, but in inches. Win a little now, hold your ground, and later, win a little more.” – Louis L’Amour
Look, extraordinary success and mediocrity look a lot alike for a long period of time. In businesses, this is about a 5-7 year stretch. You have to stay focused and work through the grind in order to earn the right to have that geometric growth. Those overnight successes? It took them 5, 7, 10 years to get where they are. You’re just hearing about them now, when they’ve hit their geometric run. What you didn’t see was the long nights, time away from family, stress, and challenges. But as hard as all of that is, I guarantee you ask any of those business leaders and they will tell you that despite the challenges, they were fortified by their goal, their passion for the project, and ultimately their growth. No one would endure the challenges of building a business, if there wasn’t a bigger why, a bigger reason, behind it. Though, I do think entrepreneurs and business leaders might all be a little bit masochistic, since most of them would also say, they are just having fun!
So what can leaders do? Have an incredible support system, constantly work on their emotional fitness, and have a great attorney.
Emotional fitness is so critical to the success of leaders. Without it, many great leaders may have given up and companies like GE, Facebook, Tesla and many many more would not exist. I practice increasing my emotional fitness every day through meditation, my gratitude journal, affirmations, and never letting fear stop me. Here’s a quick article on how to master emotional fitness.
And I am beyond blessed to have such an incredible support system at home, particularly my wife, Sarah. I could not do what I do, nor would I be who I am today without her unconditional love and support. She effortlessly takes care of our children, our home, our family’s health, vacations, various schedules and activities, and still finds time to serve on several committees at our companies. She is the calm to my storm. Whether it’s friends or family members, make sure to surround yourself with people who understand and support the crazy, challenging, and often complicated path that you’re on.
Yes, being a business leader and building a business is hard, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. Business is nothing more than a conduit for personal growth. Bring on the challenges – it just means I’ll grow that much faster!
P.S. Another question at the panel was, “Where is there an opportunity for entrepreneurs to expand or approve upon.” My answer? Travel. Could someone please invent teleportation?