What I learned that no one told me.
When you hear the phrase Zig Zag, what picture comes into your mind? Is it that of being on a journey?
- Mountain Climbing?
- Mountain bike riding?
These are just some of the pictures that comes to my mind.
Whatever picture came into your mind, the implication of the term is that this is not a straight line. It will be one made up of ups and downs and ins and outs.
This is what I believe, makes up the journey of a successful entrepreneur. Unfortunately, the message – implied or stated – is that one can achieve success without the zigs and zags.
Because the journey will be made up of Zigs and Zags, is there something that can be done to ensure success? I believe there is.
Here are three sure-fire habits to experience success.
- Adjust your expectation
- Become good at inspection
- Make the right selection
1. Adjust Your Expectation
The expectations we have of what the entrepreneurial journey should look like they can either make or break us. A lot of what we see and hear would suggest that the path to successful entrepreneurship is a straight line.
This is truly not so. At least, it hasn’t been for me.
When I began my journey in June 2008, I struggled to gain momentum and to build my clientele. Like most people, I had the mistaken notion that once I identified what I wanted and who my audience was, I now had it made. Quite the contrary.
Not only is it the issue of building your business with an identified audience, it is also the other issues you encounter along the way. Some of which are physical, financial, emotional, and mental. Just to name a few.
Six months after I launched what I envisioned to be my straight line to success business idea, I experienced the unexpected… quadruple bypass surgery.
This was a major setback for me.
What should I do now?
I’m the main “bread-winner” of the family with no health insurance and one less salary, I had to try and figure things out. No one had warned me of this possibility nor what to do in-case something like this should happened.
I was depressed. Doubts began to fill my mind. Questions from all angles came at me:
- What did I do wrong?
- Was I being punished for something?
- Did God abandon me?
All these thoughts came at me at the same time. I wondered if I had made the right decision. This was my unexpected. I wasn’t expecting this.
Would it have made a difference if I knew this? Probably not. But at least I would have worked on what I could do in case something like this happened.
This began my Zig Zag journey. I now realized this will not be a straight path from “A to B.” It will be one of ups and downs, twists and turns, zigs and zags.
2. Become Good At Inspection
Having gone through this valley – the dip – I began to look around at what I could do. I no longer wanted to feel sorry for myself and think about what I didn’t have, what I couldn’t do – my limitations. I had to do something different.
Too many people who start out on this journey only to abort before take off, or prior to landing. They give in. They begin to look, as I did, at what they cannot do and that they don’t have. They don’t take the time to look at what is still there – what they do have.
The change began for me when I made the choice to look for what I had. Even though I was in recovery mode, I still had the use of my hands, my brain, my voice, my eyes, etc.
What could I do with them?
I read. I wrote when I could. I listened to uplifting audio, and did research. However, the most important thing I did, which I found most helpful, was to be thankful. I became thankful. This forced me to look at what I had remaining. I began to realize I had a lot. A lot more than I thought.
Life began to look more promising. I became more hopeful.
This was my process of inspecting – looking for what I could do rather than constantly focusing on what I couldn’t. Once I identified some of these things – the what, I now began to look for the how; how could I do what I was thinking about. This was the shift that I needed.
Here’s the tricky part. I was able to identify a vast array of things I could do. It was a lot. I now had to make a choice.
What could I start with and how would I do it? What are one or two things I could do? This shift in thinking made a difference.
Now I had to select.
3. Make The Right Selection
Identifying what I needed to do was difficult, but I found narrowing the choices down to one or two things was even more difficult. Most of what I identified, I really liked and saw as very promising, but I realized I could not do them all. I had to make a choice.
What would it be?
I prayed and spoke to people I had confidence in and trusted. I looked at what was at my disposal. With this in mind, I was able to narrow down my choices. With some of the ideas I identified, I created a priority list. I know at some point I would do them, but not now.
This process, even though challenging, is critically important. Making the right selection could impede or propel progress. The right choice makes the difference. What I’ve found: do not focus on making the right choice just yet. Simply make a choice that you feel good about. This could change and most likely will. It did for me. Getting started and moving ahead is the most important step.
Mastering these three habits, will ensure that you will stay the course and experience the success you desire.
Photo credit: Getty Images