If you want to keep growing as an entrepreneur, you need to be teachable. You need to understand that when you hit an obstacle, blaming the obstacle won’t fix anything. Instead, you need to adjust yourself.
Here’s a classic example: countless people blame the economy for their money problems. Oddly enough, the people who didn’t complain about the economy made it through the 2008-2009 real estate market crash relatively unscathed. The economy has its ups and downs; there will always be another crash on the horizon.
If 100 people are all experiencing the same crash, those people are on a level playing field. But the handful of people who say, “I’m not going to complain; I’m going to find a solution and get better and stronger,” are the people who come out on top, with more wealth and financial freedom.
For years and years, I’ve loved coffee. I started drinking coffee in my 20s to counteract the exhaustion of staying up all night studying. At first, I hated the taste, and I only drank coffee to stay awake. But the ritual of drinking a cup of coffee and the buzz from the caffeine drew me in. I became addicted to the experience – taste and aroma included – and I drank coffee faithfully for 15 years.
But over the last few years, I started noticing something off with my body. Halfway through the day, I felt exhausted, and my bones and muscles ached. My stomach felt full of acid. I realized it was a result of all the coffee, because if I missed a few days of coffee, all the problems would go away. But then the headaches would come – withdrawal from my coffee addiction.
Six months ago, I made a choice. I decided to give up coffee cold-turkey for six months to see how my body would react. I shared the decision publicly with my Facebook friends, so they could hold me accountable, and then I woke up one day and drank no coffee. The headache started, and it took a few cups of tea and a really hard workout to get rid of it. When I first gave up coffee, I was miserable, but it was a habit I needed to kick.
Does tea taste as good as coffee? No way.
Do I feel better? Yes. So much better.
Why am I sharing this with you? Because it doesn’t have to be coffee. Anything can become an addiction, and when you rely so heavily on something just to make it through the day, that something becomes your kryptonite. It will hinder your success, just like blaming the economy.
When you’re struggling to build wealth, the real problem is never the work you’re doing, or the economy, or the opportunity, or any other excuse you can think of. The problem is your own character.
To succeed as an entrepreneur, you have to have the right mindset. You have to become a better person -- holistically stronger, more disciplined, confident, honest, and vulnerable. (And yes, I said it: vulnerable.) You have to be willing to be honest and open about your own failures and inadequacies. That’s how you grow and succeed.
If you can stand in front of the mirror and say, “I’m a coffee addict,” or, “I have an issue with being vulnerable,” you can own your problems. Once you own your problems, you can work on fixing them, so they don’t get in the way of you reaching your goals.
For me, my coffee addiction wasn’t just physical, but emotional, as well. The caffeine got me through the day, both physically and mentally. Since quitting, I have more physical energy, but I’ve had to develop stronger emotional willpower to push through the day. I’ve grown as a person, and that growth helps me succeed.
Identify the kryptonite in your life. What do you turn to because of insecurity, boredom, lack of discipline, or exhaustion? Ask yourself, “Is this getting in the way? Do I need to make a change?”
You might not need to eliminate your kryptonite altogether; you might just be able to adjust it or rearrange it a bit. Either way, addressing the things you depend on a little too much will help you grow as a person, and as an entrepreneur.
Do whatever it takes to reach your goals, even if it means giving up something you love so you can gain something even better. For me, something as seemingly simple as giving up coffee helped make me a stronger person. Stop blaming obstacles. You can’t force an obstacle to change; the only thing you can change is yourself.
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