While completing an online writer’s profile I was asked the question, “What Did You Sacrifice To Become Successful?” Here’s how I answered:
“I suppose I could write about the Herculean effort required to close my biggest sales and marketing deal, what it took to qualify for the Boston Marathon, why I gave up alcohol, or what it takes to be a good parent.
But I think the most significant thing I sacrificed was the bad definition of what “success” meant to me.
Success is one of those slippery words with both universal and personal qualities. We all need to work, have a body, and have loved ones to care for. But your life also has its own unique challenges that only you can overcome.
We were born to die alone.
We spend vast amounts of our waking lives grinding towards a worthwhile goal, finally breakthrough, cross that finish line, and revel in that wonderful feeling of success.
But I’ve found that success can be a fleeting feeling that vanishes overnight. Might not seem like a fair ratio, but that’s the way it is.
The sun rises in the East every morning with the same question, “what’s next?”
A lack of vision and goals easily becomes a vacuum that sucks up our time.
Which is why we must dream. Why we must push ourselves.
And why we must Work. Like. Dogs.
Every good writer knows that creativity comes from consistent, focused effort. That’s the discipline which allows you to not kill a day — but KILL a day.
It may seem like a grind, but that’s what it takes.
That’s why we’ll always be better served by the belief that success is not the destination, but the journey.
Success is a process — the work provides the flow-state, the flow-state brings the creativity, the creativity brings a job well-done. The job, well-done, brings the feeling of success.
The feeling of success is nothing but a byproduct of the process.
How do you know “What’s Next?”
“In sterquiliniis invenitur” — in filth it will be found.
Each of King Arthur’s Grail Knights began his journey by entering the woods where it appeared darkest to him.
“What you need most will always be found where you least wish to look.”
Like Ryan Holiday says, “The obstacle is the way.” And like Jocko Willink says, “Discipline equals freedom.”
The times I’ve been most successful (personally, creatively or professionally) occurred when I recognized, followed and then sacrificed my fear. Trusted the process. And worked until I broke through.
That is the growth mindset at the bedrock of how I define my success process.
That leads to the moments in life I hope to see again — flashing before my eyes when its all over.”
How would you answer that question?