This article is for anyone who currently feels like, or has one time felt like the world is over. You have poured everything you've got into a massive dream and it feels like it's crumbling brick by brick right before your eyes.
I'm writing this for you today, because I've been there, but I'm not anymore. I'm writing this for you today, because even though business is great now and my dreams are coming true, it wasn't very long ago when I was crying myself to sleep at night in so much pain because I felt defeated. I literally felt like I was dying. I felt like I had rolled the dice and put all my chips on ME and that odds were I was going to lose it all. Again. But, I'll save that story for another day.
Today's story is for anyone who is going after a massive dream, and on the brink of giving up. Pause for a moment. Read this. Realize that all the things you think are killing you, can't. Then, get back up and keep going. You are on the verge of doing something great. Please, take one more step. You can do it.
Contrary to how you might feel, here are 5 things that cannot kill you.
1. Words: They can feel lethal, but they are never deadly. I own several businesses, the largest of which is my real estate firm, a top ten company in Massachusetts based on volume and transactions. I've come to realize that words can be very painful. Even when people don't mean to hurt you, sometimes they do, with their words. One example that hit home for me personally was when someone made a remark about me as a mother that was painful to hear. It was a comment that went something like this, "Do you ever spend time with your little girl?" Perhaps this wasn't meant to be taken the way I heard it. But, it hurt. That is until I realized, words cannot kill me. Words are just words. Nothing more. A word does not have the ability to hurt me. My interpretation of words can hurt me, but why would I ever choose to interpret them in that manner? I'd just be hurting myself, much more so than the person who said the words. The bottom line is that when you are going after big dreams, you will start to amass a peanut gallery of people who offer their opinions. When you feel that an opinion is contrary to your well being, why not just take that opinion for what it is, a string of words sewn together, that really don't mean much to you, unless you allow them to.
2. Lack of Capital: I went through a massive re-branding of my real estate firm last year. My previous franchise chose to sue us, which lead to my bank, with whom I've always had a business credit line, to revoke it. That's not good when you are in a business as cyclical as real estate. There's not much revenue being generated with 8 feet of snow on the ground. I remember thinking that losing that equity line was the absolute worst thing that could ever happen to my business. We had just spent millions on the re-brand so we were light on reserves. Well, as it turns out, lack of capital is the best thing that ever happened to our company. It forced us to remain lean and mean. It forced us to find alternative funding sources. It forced us to get up every day hungry to recruit and retain our agents. It forced us to cut expenses and to say no to business practices that were not absolutely essential. Today, getting an equity line is no longer an issue, but what I've learned from not having one is that I'm a better business person without it. Lack of capital is sometimes a blessing. What I've also learned is that capital concerns can change overnight, literally. Today, the least of my worries is capital. We've got plenty of it to grow and thrive. However, having been through rainy days, I realize the importance of always saving for many of them. Lack of capital can be painful, but it certainly will not kill you. Trust me.
3. Heartache: I've had my share of heartache in business. Mergers have fallen apart at the eleventh hour. Leaving my previous franchise, was major heartache. It was a divorce from a company I loved for 14 years. I didn't want to do it, but realized that an unfaithful relationship will never flourish. I experience heartache quite often because I love with all my heart, the employees, agents, and attorneys who work for my firm. They are my friends. They are my family. And sometimes they don't feel the same. Sometimes they leave. I've had many a tearful parting with people who don't believe in me, my company, or the dream. As much as it hurts, I've come to realize that people that don't love you back cannot kill you. I've even learned that they aren't obligated to love you back and that rather than feeling pain for the few that don't, it is more beneficial to spread the remainder of your love over the people who believe in you. Heartache is painful but it will never kill you. Go out and find more employees, sales people, customers....more people to love.
4. Failure: Of course you feel like you are going to die when you have tried something and you've failed. The truth is, failure hurts, but it's not deadly. In fact, I'll even go so far as to say that your failures are your biggest assets in life. Go ahead and study Walt Disney, Steve Jobs, Richard Branson, Arianna Huffington....they each have business score cards riddled with failures. Do you think they felt good when they failed? Probably not! Do you think they felt like curling into a ball and dying? Of course! Here's the news...none of them died from failure. It's painful, to be sure. However, it absolutely won't kill you. And, if you want to build a billion dollar empire, get thicker skin, and keep failing forward.
5. Fear: Fear cannot kill you. It is a state of mind. The way I like to think about fear is this. Fear is like Mt. Everest. It's an obstacle that most will never even try to scale. Our minds are programmed to take the easy road in life. From the day we come out of our mother's womb, we seek ways to recreate safety and security in life. Whenever we go after a big dream, our mind uses fear to slow us down, and to remind us that what we really want is safety. Fear is simply an illusion, but one so powerful that it will often stop us in our tracks or detour us from our dreams. Fear is painful and sometimes crippling, but it is not deadly. Instead of letting it defeat me, I've come to realize that if I'm going to believe in an illusion, it will be a good one. I've replaced fear with a better internal story about my future. As Kody Bateman says, "The stories of your mind become the stories of your life." I don't want my life story to be about fear. My life story is about accomplishing the impossible. Think it, do it, live it...but never fear it.