By Kristopher B. Jones, serial entrepreneur and investor
In my early days, I pulled myself through some rough situations to “make it” in my industry. I worked hard to learn about SEO and business on my own time while studying psychology in college. While those formative years shaped who I would later become, there’s another aspect of my past that played a huge role: my view of sacrifice.
People have asked me over the years what I had to sacrifice to get where I am now, or what it was like to make those sacrifices. Honestly, the question somewhat confuses me. Becoming a CEO, angel investor and international thought leader was what I had set my sights on from a young age. I wanted to accomplish those things no matter what.
With that in mind, let me address the question again: What sacrifices did I make to succeed in business? None at all. Let me explain.
Understand that sacrifices are part of what you want.
To my way of thinking, accomplishing great things starts with knowing exactly what you want. If you do not, you will never know what to go after. I knew what I wanted when I was in my twenties, and the things I wanted were not abstract concepts. I wanted to be a businessman. I wanted to buy my mom a house. I wanted to make an economic impact in my area by creating digital marketing jobs.
In the end, I did all of this well ahead of schedule. Now, was it difficult for a young man of that age to make the necessary “sacrifices” to get there? I never considered it a sacrifice to do what was required to make my business dream a reality. In fact, I assumed that all levels of success required a significant level of sacrifice, so I rarely used the word as a negative.
There is no doubt that you will have to make tradeoffs. Early in my business career, I leveraged all my credit cards and even used my house as collateral to make sure my company had the capital it needed to make payroll and grow.
While others thought I was sacrificing to make things happen for myself, I was actually doing what was necessary to get what I wanted. I am a big believer in maximizing my potential to accomplish things, and that requires a lot of work that any entrepreneur should be happy to take on.
This is why I don’t understand the sacrifice question. If getting what you want mandates that you leverage your credit cards and stay up late studying, don’t consider those things sacrifices. They are just part of the process.
Why do people fail?
If what I have said here sounds easy, know that it is not. I may have known what I wanted and been prepared to do that hard preliminary work to get there, but if my determination had been anything less than it was, I likely would not have made it.
Thinking about that brings up an interesting question: Why do people fail to accomplish their dreams? How are all of us who have done what we set out to do different from those who have given up on achieving what they wanted?
I believe it is because many people are afraid of taking on those kinds of sacrifices. Some people fear the setbacks that will inevitably come with any lofty pursuit of success. As a result of that fear, they do not take action.
Reframe your view of obstacles.
If this sounds like you, I encourage you to learn from me. Those challenges that make you nervous? The difficult tasks that you don’t know if you can complete? Do not view them as obstacles in your way. They are simply one aspect of your journey ever upward. They are part and parcel of those objectives you have set for yourself.
And the things you “give up” to meet those objectives? They are not sacrifices. They are one and the same as your objectives. Think about it.
When contemplating your future success, remember that you cannot do anything without first knowing the concrete details of what you want and, second, knowing why you want that. The “why” of your success should be just as compelling as the “what.” Without the proper motivation, you may not be driven to see your goals through to the end.
Your “why” can be anything that moves you to action and makes you want to shape your life in new ways. You can keep your reasoning to yourself if you want, but if you always hold it in your heart, you will never lose focus.
Kristopher B. Jones is a serial entrepreneur and investor. Kris recently launched Special Guest App with comedian / actor Damon Wayans, Jr.