There comes a time in most entrepreneurs' lives when the challenges seem overwhelming. You’ve suffered consecutive setbacks and sometimes, you seriously consider throwing in the towel.
You question yourself. Maybe you don’t have what it takes after all? Maybe your breakthrough idea just isn’t realistic? Maybe you should quit now, rather than continue to make a fool of yourself. Self-doubt leeches onto your heart and soul, and despair begins to take over.
It happens all the time, but I’m here to tell you why you should never ever give up on your dreams. Consider these six reasons:
1. What’s the alternative?
If you give up now, what are your options? Where will you be in life? Adrift? Aimless? Imagine how that will make you feel. Perhaps there’s a particular product or service you’ve launched that is plainly not going to be “the one” that leads you to extreme success. Regard it as nothing more than a detour on your journey to success.
We all get sidetracked from time to time and, although you probably can’t identify a reason why right now, there’s probably a good reason Opportunity #1 didn’t work out. But, once Opportunity #10 or Opportunity #20 proves successful, you’ll realize why. Consider the billionaire author, J.K. Rowling, who created the "Harry Potter" series. Her idea was rejected 12 times before someone finally gave her a chance. Ultimately, perseverance paid.
2. Mistakes happen.
There’s not a straight line to success. You’re going to hit bumps in the road that will feel like mountains. But, you can get over them. In fact, making mistakes is necessary to creating a successful company. If you’re not making mistakes, you’re not experimenting. You’re not trying new approaches. You’re not going anywhere. They key thing is to make sure that you learn from the mistakes.
We’ve all heard stories about famous figures who have failed numerous times. Abraham Lincoln, for one, failed to win several positions before becoming president of the United States. Another example, Walt Disney, had to close businesses en route to worldwide success.
And, just last year, while most Americans were relaxing on Labor Day, 64-year-old Diana Nyad became the first person to swim the shark-invested waters between Cuba and Key West — some 110 miles —without a cage for protection. She succeeded after her fifth attempt in 35 years but says she learned something new from each of her failed efforts. Can you imagine what it takes to make that physical and mental journey? Failure is a necessary part of the journey, but it’s never the end until you decide to quit.
3. You need passion in your life.
If you give up on your dreams, you’re living a life unfulfilled. I can’t imagine not being passionate about something. Do you really believe you can build a large company and help tens of thousands of people if you have a wishy-washy approach and don’t feel strongly about your personal endeavors? If you don’t have a mission — if you don’t have a purpose — are you wasting potential? Live life with purpose and you will never be bored. Absolute conviction is everything.
4. Anything can happen.
Don’t give up today because the breakthrough you need might happen tomorrow. All of the hard work you invest in yourself will pay off in the long run. It may well be that you’re running in a marathon despite the fact that you were only expecting a short sprint. If you’re at the point of giving up, give it another shot. “Hail Mary’s” exist for this. And then, repeat this every day.
5. The joy of success.
Most of all, don’t surrender your precious dreams, because one day, you will achieve them. And, when you do, the ecstasy will make all of the agony so worthwhile. Imagine being able to celebrate with your family and friends who have been rooting for you — think about the pleasure you will all feel.
Crossing the finishing line and realizing that you completed your goal will provide for an indescribable sense of accomplishment. So, go for it and don’t quit because you certainly don’t want to miss out on the experience of savoring the success.
6. Proving them wrong.
Last, but not least, don’t give the naysayers the satisfaction of seeing you give up on your dreams! There’s nothing wrong with wanting to prove them wrong. It’s quite common to have dream-stealers infiltrate your life. It might be colleagues or business acquaintances or even (sadly) family and friends. They are negative influences who sow seeds of doubt.
I’ll never forget when I was trying to raise capital for my previous business, BlueLithium. There was a general partner of a big firm who lectured me for 10 minutes and said, “Your chances of success are pretty much zero.” Of course, that only invigorated my drive; I can’t help but wonder how he felt when I sold the company for $300 million a year later — I was delighted to prove him wrong. Cheers to those who doubted you because eventually, they will want to be part of your team.
Dreams are essential for an entrepreneur, and with determination, you will achieve them. The road is never an easy one, but it’s absolutely worth it. Your dreams are only awake if you are.
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