Embed from Getty Images
I don’t gamble…and there was a time when I wouldn’t allow myself to even step foot in a casino. Once, when I was in my 20’s I went to the casino and I lost $600. In retrospect, $600 is and is not a lot of money. Veteran gamblers have certainly won and lost more, but it is not the money that scared me. I changed when I gambled, morphing into this person who justified the money I pulled out of the ATM because I knew I would win it all back and then some. The prospect of any other scenario was sickening. I couldn’t have possibly lost that much. If I’d had the deed to my house with me, I would have kept going. I could feel the hunger creeping to conquer me, this bargaining pleading I normalized in my head and on my lips. Luckily, the person I was with, hauled me out and broke the spell.
Alcohol is not a huge draw to me, mostly because my grandfather and all his brothers were alcoholics. I worry the gene is buried inside and that I would awaken it after so many sips. And man, did I love cigarettes when I smoked. Never before was there a stinkier chainsmoker. Back in the days when you could light up at your desk, I sat with a butt jumping up and down in my mouth as a jabbered on the phone and added up vending checks. What a lovely image that conjures.
Many times, I have fixated on people, food, habits and releases that were not good for me. I have craved the high of more of whatever it was I needed. It was a long-winded quest to gain something…and now, I’m pretty tame. I drink coffee (that I will never give up!), stubbed out the butts and I stay the hell away from the casino.
My personality has latched onto a different target. Business.
Deep inside me, a passion lives and lurks every day. It is a good and taxing force, although most days it astounds me, the levels we will go together. My insistent roommate wakes me, fills me up, drives me on and compels me to reach, network, resolve and BELIEVE in myself. The further into the belly of the beast I descend, the more I realize what I am capable of accomplishing.
Isn’t that the way it goes?
You think, what the hell? Then give the new venture a shot. What’s the worst that can happen? I’ll fail and then it’s back to my regular life? Not such a bad prospect.
But you don’t fail and when that happens a part of you flies free. You tap into the fact you’ve succeeded. This success causes you to think about taking a stab at the next new aim, until it becomes a dizzying game of King of the Mountain, between you and a mountain of goals.
The knowledge of what you are capable of creating is still staggering, but somehow more believable this go-round, and this is the invisible shove that keeps you going.
Your goals, now loftier seem as possible to reach as that very first one you ever identified and went after. The fascination at your own power is dazzling and you talk about it with people (who are a little sick of how surprised you are at your own gratitude and joy.) You begin to realize you are no different than the people you admire, than any person at all. The rules of what you can accomplish are the same for you, whether you’re pitted against Tony Robbins or Gladys down the street.
This equalization levels the mental game field. When there is nothing holding you back or negatively defining you, simply, you will keep going. It is one less obstacle in your own head.
I don’t write about flipping addiction on its head to make light of the very real epidemic we face. But to say, if you have these tendencies, if you glom onto objects, or chemicals, or even just like that evening beer a little too much, then you can pop that switch to your advantage. You can lower yourself into the sea of possibility and compulsion and learn about living limitless, too.
Too many times, we identify compulsory characteristics as traits that must be controlled or they will cause ruin, as a negative ache that leads to no good and is destructive, but what if the opposite is also true?
Instead of honing an unhealthy fascination, what if you could turn your appetite toward your own success?
Toward learning, not what do I need to make to survive the month, but how much can I make? What are MY personal limits? How far can I go? This is an addiction you can give yourself over to completely.
Can you start your own company? Of course, you can.
Can you close a high percentage of deals? Absolutely.
Can you help other people with the work you plainly don’t have time for? One-hundred percent.
Leverage media exposure? Yep.
Write a book about your experiences containing an angle unique to you? No reason why not.
Work in your purpose, whether it’s creating a nonprofit, identifying a niche in the market, establishing a mentorship? All the yeses.
The key is that you can do anything. And you get that from your first, what the hell moment.
The next time a whim strikes. Whatever it is…go for it!
I don’t care what it is, just do it.
You will learn that you can do anything. And then…this is the first building block of your fire that you certainly can feed into an inferno.
That first slam dunk is followed by wondering what else you can do. Slam another one in, then another. The fire is starting to roar a little, isn’t it? Use it as momentum, as proof of what you can do.
THIS is how we get there…whenever our journey takes us. We achieve and then BELIEVE.
The discernible difference between a person who is perceived as an expert in their field and a proven expert comes down to one simple fact. The expert performs. Time and time again. The expert takes action no matter the size or noise of the crowd. They do it for the ceaseless pull to outwit themselves at every turn. It is a game of chicken they use to challenge their boundaries.
This hyperfocus will propel you if you let it. It will replace the sexiest, swankiest siren song out there with the intoxicating instances of your success. You will devour it as if you have been denied sustenance for a thousand years.
Here’s a little disclaimer. You may get carried away. Sometimes, that is alright. It is the missing component of what is needed, what has been needed. But as with any sword, respect the edge. In the moment, when you are floating on accomplishments, it will be harder to identify when you must set limits. So, write some rules for yourself to ensure your family and friends don’t wind up a casualty of your fire.
A few of my rules are:
1) No cell phones during dinner
2) No calls or work during dinner
3) A severe reduction of work on the weekends when my family is home.
I also had to stop working in bed at night. It was selfish and encroached upon the goals of my marriage. In short, family and relationships come first. You will want to safeguard your priorities, but when it is play time in the winner’s circle, get ready to go all in. Get ready to astound yourself with how much you can win just through the indelible truth that you can hit every goal, then develop more and hit those, too… You can even become obsessed to a degree and put your mindset to work for you so your to-dos are less of a chore and more of a game.
Every game you have ever played contains rules that alert you to the inevitably of winning. Entrepreneurship is no different. Apply your tendencies to fixate on the unsavory to get ahead. Unleash your compulsions in an entirely different and healthy manner and witness the effect on your life.
Photo credit: Getty Images