Live Big: The Entrepreneur's Guide to Passion, Practicality, and Purpose
January 23, 2019
"As an entrepreneur, you need to know that your business isn't an entity. It's an experience. It's unfolding at every moment. Every moment is vital. Critical. The only way to handle the chaos and the crazy beauty of it all is this: know that growing your business is actually about growing yourself. It's about staying sane, centered, and focused. [...] All you have is this moment, this experience. Make it an interesting one. Make it fun. Make it worth sharing. When you let love in to everything you do, everything you do seems to be created with a little more magic. When you let love in to your work, your work is better."
Most of us shy away from living the life we truly want to live.
Deep down, we all want to live big. You want to live big. Here’s the truth:
You were born to live your purpose.
You were born to serve at your highest potential.
You were born to become the best version of yourself.
You were born to be unapologetically you.
You were born to Live Big.
As an entrepreneur, you need to know that your business isn’t an entity. It’s an experience. It’s unfolding at every moment. Every moment is vital. Critical. The only way to handle the chaos and the crazy beauty of it all is this: know that growing your business is actually about growing yourself. It’s about staying sane, centered, and focused.
Yet there are so many temptations on the way. And your own desire to achieve greatness, reach overnight success in all the areas, might be the deadliest of them all.
It has become increasingly harder for us to create any length of uninterrupted time and space for our thoughts to flow freely and to think creatively about anything. World-changing, disruptive devices like our smart phones also have the dual role of disrupting our lives.
There’s always more to see, hear, and do. There are endless messages to read and emails to reply to. There are newsfeeds to check out and posts to scan. We constantly feel that there’s always something better, something smarter, something sexier out there. It’s at the point where we’re drowning in perpetual feeling of ‘missing out.’
Keeping our minds open, clear, and undisturbed is an unattainable dream for most of us, and it’s all because of one thing: our own desire.
Our desire to stay connected. Our desire to constantly check our phones, messages, and emails. Our desire to know; that’s the most dangerous desire of them all.
We desire to wake up feeling like we’ve made it. We dream of being an overnight success. Just like those we constantly hear about, scrolling through that feed. The legends. The trailblazers. The rockstars. The ones who suddenly burst onto the scene and we just can’t stop talking about them. They’re the ones we envy. They’re the ones we want to be. These desires have become a death trap and they’re draining our souls. They’re stealing our time and creating empty meaningless moments spent staring at a screen. They’re taking away our opportunity to do masterful work.
We’re choosing death by desire and this is an issue as serious as a heart attack.
In her article for the Harvard Business Review, Director and Chair of the Advanced Leadership Initiative and professor of business at Harvard, Rosabeth Moss Kanter explains that “new products, people, or ideas that appear to burst on the scene unheralded and soar to the top quickly have often been preceded by a long period of preparation, rehearsal, and trial-and error experimentation.”
Kanter’s shares that her favorite saying is “instant success takes time.”
I couldn’t agree more.
If you are dreaming to wake up feeling like you’ve made it, here are a few principles those that Live Big know about.
Embody What Success Feels Like, and Know Your Mojo
What does success feel like to you? When I’m onstage and I ask my audience this question, they look at me, totally confused. Some of them shoot back, “Don’t you mean what does success look like?” No. I mean what does success feel like. We measure our success based on what it looks like. It’s about what we have—cars, houses, diamonds.
And so, we get out there, we hustle and we get those things so we can say we’re successful.
We’re happy for a while.
Until we look over and see the next guy or girl with cars, houses, diamonds PLUS a private jet. Now we no longer think we’re successful because we don’t have a jet… yet. And the cycle of hustle starts all over again.
The only way to stop it? Ask yourself: What makes me feel happy and fulfilled? What lights me up from inside? How do I want to feel as a successful person?
Celebrated author, and one of the leading success gurus of the last 100 years, Napoleon Hill defined success in this way: “Success is the attainment of your definite chief aim.” In other words, you need to define your chief aim, not someone else’s.
The only way to achieve success without giving up on your happiness is to understand and define what it feels like for you… Not just what it looks like based on what others achieve.
Imagine you wake up and have everything you ever wanted. You can then take your eternal vacation. It will feel great at first, but then what? You’ll get bored.
Freedom—true freedom—is choice. It’s getting to choose whether you want to do something or not to do it. It is a decision and a mindset. It is also structure. No matter what you do, if you want to do it well, if you want to succeed, there is a structure that needs to be in place. Structure that you create. Freedom is like art. Sit with it. Reflect on it. See what comes up for you. When you hit on that gorgeous idea, that powerful juicy idea, take action. Give it structure.
“Freedom—true freedom—is choice. It’s getting to choose whether you want to do something or not to do it. It is a decision and a mindset. It is also structure.”
Your Mastery and Infinite Growth
There is no real happiness or fulfillment when there is no knowledge and understanding of self. When you know yourself, you can get to your personal truth. You’ll know your motivations, aspirations, and inspirations. You’ll be intimately connected to your beliefs, your values, and your principles. When you understand your inner world in this way, you’ll finally discover why you want what you want.
Think about your life and think about where you are now. Get really quiet and be honest with yourself. You are doing what you do because you want something, you need something, for yourself. You cannot give something to others when you are empty inside.
When you feel love, joy, and appreciation, you are rejuvenated and replenished from within. You’ll serve others from your highest level.
The Law of Infinite Growth: “There is no destination. The closer you feel you are to your destination, that destination will only move further away. That’s the challenge and beauty of life—the journey itself.”
Mastery is about improving and fine-tuning your craft or skill until you get to the point where you can create exponential results with very little input. When you get to that stage, creating results in your area of expertise is almost effortless. It’s an organic process that comes easily to you.
The Law of Mastery can be applied to coaching, teaching, writing, painting, designing, speaking… any skill on the planet. But most people never get to that stage. They stop short of mastery because they think they already know all there is to know about the work they do.
This isn’t their fault. The learning process can be tricky.
When you first learn something new, you’ll see massive improvements in a very short time, because you’re starting from zero. You’ll receive lots of validation, praise, and approval from the outside world about your newly-acquired skill. But the more you learn, the more it will start to feel like you’re making very little external progress. Your improvements don’t seem as impressive.
That’s why most people stop… and miss the mark on mastery. But successful entrepreneurs, avid learners, and growth-centered individuals know that becoming better is a continuous, consistent process. Not a game with an end. This is why they keep going. This is why they experience development and expansion long after everyone else thinks they know everything there is to know. This is why they become masters at what they do and achieve a level of success and a sense of purpose and satisfaction others can only dream of.
“Successful entrepreneurs, avid learners, and growth-centered individuals know that becoming better is a continuous, consistent process. Not a game with an end. This is why they keep going.”
The Disciplines of Progress
The only kind of success that matters is the kind that lasts. If you achieve success only to have it slip through your fingers, all you have then is disappointment, disillusionment, and a pile of broken dreams.
If you want success that matters, success that lasts, you need to train yourself to look further than a few months or years. You need to envision your future 10 years or more down the line. What do you want to do and have at that time? Who do you want to be? How do you want to serve and contribute?
When you have that vision, get real with yourself and ask… What needs to happen now to make that future vision my reality?
When we make progress—especially, if we make stratospheric, exponential progress—we need to fall back on a principle that pretty much every entrepreneur in the world hates with a passion: discipline.
Discipline is something we resist, it’s something we want to escape. Discipline is a pain in the ass when you first try it, but over time, it brings you unimaginable benefits and significant progress.
Look at every task, every activity inside your company, and ask yourself: ‘How can I never do this task again?” And then you arrive at the winning question: how can I delegate, automate, or delete this task?
When you’re just beginning, you want to know and do everything. If you want to be a successful entrepreneur, you need to get over it fast. You don’t need to know how everything works. You don’t need to be an expert at everything. You just need to be an expert at one thing—bringing all of the pieces together so they work in harmony.
Delegate to experts. Automate, then delete what you don’t need to do.
According to Pareto’s Principle, you get about 80 percent of your results with 20 percent of effort. Then go a step further and find the 20 percent of your 20 percent. Focus on that. Make your vision your most important task. This is something no one else can do but you.
So often, we chase what’s in front of us—we go for quick wins. In the crazy rush to achieve the next goal and the next, we forget about the bigger decisions we need to make to create the kind of future we truly want.
In his popular TEDx Talk called “3 Ways to Plan for the (Very) Long-Term”, world-class strategist and consultant Ari Wallach explains how making decisions based on short-term goals and gains makes the future more uncertain and less safe. He talks about the “longpath” and cultivating a mindset that focuses on long-term ways of thinking, acting, and being for collective human flourishing in the future.
Yes, making decisions based on a future vision can be hard. Sometimes you need to let go of what you want now to get what you want later. But it’s worth it because you’re playing the long game.
You’re playing to win. For good.
So what’s the secret to Living Big?
Here’s my answer… Overnight success is a fantasy but REAL success is within your reach. No matter who you are. No matter where you’re at in your life right now.
No one gets to the top without identifying what success feels like for them, without sticking to it for ten years or more, without mastery.
What the world needs is your positive energy and a great example of success for the next generation. What the world needs is more joy and fulfillment for you and for all of us.
Building something incredible must be fueled by your soul, your health, your joy, and your relationships.
Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart.
All you have is this moment, this experience. Make it an interesting one. Make it fun. Make it worth sharing. When you let love in to everything you do, everything you do seems to be created with a little more magic. When you let love in to your work, your work is better.
When you let love in to your business, your clients show up for you. Back you. Support you. Cheer you on. When you let love in, you have endless courage. Creativity. Clarity. Drive.
Love is behind it all. Love brings out the best in you. It brings out the best in your people. Love brings out the best in your work, in everything you do.
Love is why we do what we do.
You’re not doing it for the money.
Ask yourself why you want the money? So you can buy that big house? Why do you want the house, or the car, or the recognition? Because you believe at some level you will be happier when you get them. You believe you will get more LOVE when you get them.
But the truth is you can lead with LOVE now. Let love in. Fuel everything with all the love you have.
Ask how you can serve, not what you can get. Create with LOVE and SERVICE in mind, and let the money chase you.
Watch your vision and your goals come to life when you lead with LOVE. When your WORK is filled with your love. When you love what you do and you do what you love.
Know this. Understand this. Embody this. Live by this. It’s how you stay true to yourself.
It’s how you make the impossible possible.
It’s how you experience authentic success and happiness. It’s how you Live Big.