You can change history. It’s not just about the past, but what will happen going forward. Many people think of history as only being past-tense, but everything we do, every minute of the day, can rewrite what becomes the past. Things that haven’t happened yet are things that you can be the author of.
Dream big, work hard, and stay humble are the best words of advice anyone can give you, and self-belief goes a long way. It's okay for young entrepreneurs to have big dreams; don’t underestimate what you are capable of. Steve Jobs was only 21 when he co-founded Apple. Don’t let the opinions of others impact your future. Don’t just think you can do it….KNOW you can do it. Believe in yourself and your dreams. Include others and get help from people you trust, people who have achieved what you want to achieve, to fulfill your dreams.
I'm proud to say that many have helped me along my path, and I've helped many. Without the help of people more experienced than myself, my latest achievement wouldn't have been possible. Many others were a part of my new e-book, Photography: Basics, Business, and Best Practices, available on Amazon and other fine e-book retailers. And it's one of my greatest joys to help other dreamers succeed as well. From the business owners and clients I serve, to the talented team I've hired and trained, to other entrepreneurs like my friend at 25 Hours Consulting.
Working hard is a relative concept; the hours we work, how hard we work, and the magnitude of what we're trying to achieve are as different as each of us. But "hard work" has a common denominator no matter which way you slice it: how you handle yourself when things go wrong. Because they will. The next best piece of advice anyone can give you is this: be resilient when things get hard. You’ll get rejected, over and over again, but don’t lose faith in your goals. You may fail in the beginning more than you’ll walk the path of success, but if you dream big, work hard, and fight failure, you’ll change history by making it better.
For more information on staying the course during your journey to success, check out this 5-part series from 25 Hours Consulting, a local marketing firm of which I'm Founding Contributor:
- These 5 Things Will Happen During the Course of Your Career (starting with failure)
- You Will Be Offended During the Course of Your Career
- You Will Be Underestimated During the Course of Your Career
- You Will Be Overlooked During the Course of Your Career
- You Will Bounce Back During the Course of Your Career
Another one of my favorite nuggets of wisdom: don’t be a jerk. This world needs fewer loud mouths. Just stay humble. Most successful people don't take credit for the work they do. Instead, they build up their team or others around them. Ordinary people do change the world; it doesn't matter where you come from, what school you went to, or how you grew up. Don’t let anyone ever tell you no as you keep moving your dreams forward, but at the same time, keep a humble attitude on your way to the top and remember that you can always learn, grow, improve, and benefit from the knowledge of others.
While all of this lofty advice sounds great, your passion for what you love to do is a must. Without it, none of this other stuff matters. Writers, athletes and even scientists, famous or not, love what they do because it’s their passion. You have to find yours. Define what you love to do and why you love to do it. Be specific: what do you love about the field you're pursuing? Is it helping people? Is it being creative? Is it the feeling you get when someone responds a certain way to your work? Is it being part of something larger than yourself?
Being a business owner is not about calculating figures, networking, balancing your finances and profit margins. Many successful business owners associate their business with passion and love, even when they face challenges, work long hours, and experience financial difficulty. Things can get scary and tough: your passion is the only thing that will carry you through the turbulence. It's important to not just like what you do; you have to LOVE what you do.
Reevaluate Where You Are
If you are stressed at your job 8 hours a day, you may want to rethink what you are doing professionally. When you are stressed doing what you love, it feels more like 15 minutes of your day versus 8 hours. Being fully invested in something that is your passion and not just filling a role makes time feel different, changes your energy, and makes everything about what you do and how you produce better. Find your niche, whether it’s people, a product, or a field. And once you find it, while you’ll most likely love the majority of what you do, there may be aspects of the business you don’t like. When we turn a passion into a business, especially when we own that business, we have to wear many hats...some of which are less enjoyable than others. For example, finances and accounting aren't my forte or my passion, but I make sure the stuff I don’t like takes up only 20% of my time so that the stuff I love takes up 80%. If these figures are ever flipped, you're doing it wrong.
Ambition or Passion?
Don’t mistake ambition for passion. Wanting to advance and striving to get ahead are ambitious qualities. Taking on projects and filling your plate are ambitious. Stepping into unknown territory and taking risks are ambitious. But if ambition isn't fueled by passion, it will be easy to burn out. Your motivation has to be right if you plan to stay the course. Many business owners seem overly ambitious, but honestly they just love what they do. That passion will make you believe in yourself even more, helping you to pursue things you might otherwise be afraid of or not care to. Of course, you have to be smart about it (sometimes an excess of passion can make people reckless), but If you love what you do, you tend to do a lot. That’s why you’ll be perceived as ambitious.
Finding the One
Finding your passion is a journey in itself. The discovery process is an amazing, transformative experience that you'll look back on with awe. You may not know right now what your passion is, but keep pushing forward and you’ll find it. Sometimes passion may find you as well, so let yourself be inspired. Tune in to the things that make you tick, make you think, make you feel. Most people find their passion by just getting out there and trying different things. Eventually something is going to stick and you'll come up with an idea that you know will work, and you’ll love turning it into a new reality for yourself. Finding your passion is like finding your true love. You’ll go on many dates and, ten dates later, you’ll find "the one."
Redefining Your Goals
What is your life goal? If it's “to get rich,” you have the wrong mindset. What do millionaires and billionaires say? When they started out, they loved doing what they did, and the money just happened. You may have to walk away from a secure job and start anew with a lower-paying position or bringing in very little money when you first strike out on your own. But your passion will translate to the faith that carries you through. As long as you maintain a mindset of an inverse ratio of passion to money, you'll be in good shape.
Personally, my passion for and love of photography has made my business more successful than I ever dreamed. I started at the bottom just like everyone else, but I was lucky to have had the same mindset as other successful business owners. Passion is what drives me to always work hard, focus on my business, push forward, improve, serve, and persevere, because I love what I do. If you have a full-time job and it wouldn't be wise to quit and start all over right now, then follow your passion on the side until you can get out. You’ll eventually be able to make the jump, and when you do, you'll appreciate the experience that much more.