If you look close enough, you will see the faces of miserable human beings stuck behind a counter, in a cubicle or working some other job sucking the life out of them. I get it. I know there are jobs and people have to do them. However, my early adult life was squandered by frequently changing jobs. Maybe this was the result of diving head-first into life at the age of 18, or maybe it was the fact I was trying to find fulfillment and success in a place I was never meant to be. You see, entrepreneurs don’t understand the drive behind a 9-to-5 and those who drive the 9-to-5 don’t understand the entrepreneur.
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There was a time when my goal was to stay with a particular job for at least five years — since longevity in a single job was the measuring stick of success in my community. What success is there if we stay in a job for half our life, and we are miserable? Maybe you made a lot of money, had a lot of perks and great fringe benefits, but does it matter if you’re not fulfilled?
We live in a world of opportunity. Literally, anything is possible. There is a caveat, however. You are required to put in the work. While this sounds cliche, it goes a little deeper. We’ve heard the phrases “Live your dreams” and “Never quit.” The deeper meaning of this lies in the action. All the dreams, plans and goals are useless if we never take action. Taking action, in and of itself, is not enough. Strategic action is the key to success.
In my day-to-day interactions, I hear people claim they will reach their goals “one day” or be debt free “one day.” We sit in our cubicles and talk about starting a business one day, having a life of freedom one day or even being in better physical health one day.
Average people see the goal they want to attain but fail to take action to achieve it. While there are many different factors involved, planning and action are the two keys that separate the elite from the average in any area of life. Some ambitious entrepreneurs have a tendency to see the end result, get excited about it, and then fizzle out with talking — no action taken. The single greatest key to achieving success involves thorough planning and strategic action. Without either being executed, the chance of success is significantly lower.
In his book, Do Over, Jon Acuff writes, “Dreaming is fun. Future results are enjoyable to talk about. Present efforts are not.”
For me, being unemployed nearly 10 years ago seemed like rock bottom, and there was nothing fun about it. It was one of the darkest and heaviest times of my life. It was my understanding we were supposed to punch a clock most of our life, spending thousands of hours working at a job we don’t love to create a life that is average.
There’s nothing wrong with dreaming, and, I would say, there’s nothing wrong with envisioning grand future results. However, I believe it to be necessary that we also temper those expectations to the amount of work we are willing to invest.