Any path is only a path, and there is no affront, to oneself or to others, in dropping it if that is what your heart tells you…Look at every path closely and deliberately. Try it as many times as you think necessary. Then ask yourself, and yourself alone, one question…Does this path have a heart? If it does, the path is good; if it doesn’t it is of no use.
— Carlos Castaneda, The Teachings of Don Juan
I was sitting in a reception area, waiting for my financial planners—two men—to call me into their office to discuss my finances. But it was a woman (I think she was their assistant), who finally came out of the office. She sat down beside me.
“Well?” I asked.
The woman shook her head. “I think you’d be wise to call it quits.”
She was referring to my company.
“It’s simply costing you too much to run,” she said.
I sighed. “I know.”
“I came across a yellow sticky in your notes with your handwriting on it,” she continued. “And it said, ‘I think it’s time to throw in the towel.’”
I nodded, trying not to cry. “I guess I was hoping you guys would tell me otherwise,” I said.
She took my hand. “It’s for the best, dear.”
“You’re right,” I said.
Then my alarm clock went off and I sat up in bed. And in that first moment of recall, an unmistakable sense of relief washed over me. How easy it would be to just give up. Not everyone is cut out to be an entrepreneur. The nice lady in my dream was probably right.
I got out of bed and went into the kitchen to start coffee. Then I sat on the couch and wrote the dream down in my journal. And I got to thinking…maybe the nice lady wasn’t right. Maybe she was playing Devil’s Advocate and knew that telling me what I thought I wanted to hear would make me realize how much I really didn’t.
Because although throwing in the towel on my business would be the easiest path to take, it wouldn’t be the right one because my company has a heart…my heart. And that alone makes it worth fighting for.
I got up from the couch, showered and got on with my day—which, interestingly, entailed attending a seminar by international speaker and trainer, Brian Willis. Brian’s presentation was entitled Harnessing the Winning Mind and Warrior Spirit.
And wouldn’t you know it but what Brian had to say was precisely what I needed to hear.
The seminar was geared towards police officers and military personnel, but the wisdom shared was applicable to anyone. I am realizing we are all warriors in one form or another…I mean, if we’re at least trying to achieve some sort of good in a world that desperately needs us to.
The warrior fights because he believes that he is fighting for something good, something positive, something that will improve the quality of the world around him. The warrior never forgets that he is an example and so will always act accordingly. He is a leader, and when there is no one else to lead, the warrior must lead himself forward to a different, higher standard.
— Richard J. Machowicz, Unleashing the Warrior Within
The more I listened to Brian’s presentation—some of which I’d heard before in his seminars over the years but obviously needed a reminder—the more I realized that for my business, failure wasn’t an option.
Victory at all costs, victory in spite of terror, victory however long and hard the road may be; for without victory there is no survival.
— Sir Winston Churchill
In fact, despite what the nice lady in my dream said, failure wasn’t even on the table because the success of my business is not just about me. I can do the work I love most—writing—with or without my own company.
But my business is also about collaborating with others to create works that inspire, encourage and challenge people to effect positive change in themselves and the world around them. I want my company to be a catalyst for achieving far greater things than we could achieve on our own as individuals. And my company gives people opportunities, just as I have been given so many.
If I gave up on my business, I would not physically die, no. But I made the decision a long time ago to do far more than merely survive this life. I choose to thrive.
I left Brian’s presentation with eighteen pages of notes to refer to, as I continue to revise my business strategy and hone my daily habits.
Here are the three take-away tips that may also resonate with you:
#1) Ask yourself this question: What’s Important Now?
Otherwise known as W.I.N. this question is powerful. Every day, we make dozens of choices. By asking myself this question multiple times throughout the day, I find it easier to keep on track with achieving what is really the most important. The trick is to answer honestly!
#2) Face the Facts; Keep the Faith
Retain unwavering faith that you can and will prevail in the end, regardless of the difficulties, and that at the same time have the discipline to confront the most brutal facts of your current reality.
— The Stockdale Paradox
#3) What is one thing you can start doing differently today?
Do not throw in the towel. Use it for wiping the sweat off your face.
— Otto Graham
Previously Published on Pink Gazelle