The end goal for any entrepreneur is usually success. But what is the definition of success? Is it money? Is it fame? Is it beating out the competition? No. Success is getting what you want.
So what do you want?
I recently spoke with my friend and co-creator of The Five Minute Journal, UJ Ramdas, on a recent volume of The Psychology of Entrepreneurship. UJ’s perspective on success had me thinking about my own perspective, and how it’s shaped. “Success is getting what you want. It’s that easy and that complex,” he says.
If it’s that easy, then success should be easy. Right? Wrong. Unfortunately, many of us spend years and countless amounts of energy chasing things that we think we want, only to feel empty and depressed when we finally get it. Why?
Because it’s not what we wanted. When we let society’s goal markers guide us to what we think is success, we’re left feeling unfulfilled. The house? Check. The business? Check. The overflowing bank account? Check. So why doesn’t it feel right?
What do you really, really REALLY want?
If success is about getting what we want, we first need to figure out what that is.
Like UJ said,
“Recognize the difference between what you want and what you really, really, really want”.
And I’m not talking about some amount of money we want to make or a certain magazine we want to be mentioned in. I’m talking about what do we want to do that’s going to make us happy?
The thing that brings happiness is going to be different for everyone. For you, maybe it’s the freedom to travel the world with your family. Perhaps it’s being able to take half the year off to focus on your hobbies. Maybe it’s putting down roots in the place you always wanted to live. Or it could be creating a business that inspires others to follow their dreams. Whatever that thing is, we need to identify it, and we need to make it our driving force.
Don’t Be Afraid to Change Course
If happiness comes when we achieve what we want, then it’s essential to allow for some flexibility. Evolution and growth are inevitable as you follow any entrepreneurial goal, or life goal for that matter, so you need to allow yourself to tweak your journey if need be.
How many times have you stuck with something just because you started it? We’re taught not to be quitters, to stick with what we’ve started and see it through. But if it’s not making us happy, what’s the point? If the end result is going to leave you feeling empty, give yourself permission to change your goals.
The Result of Completing an Empty Goal is Regret
“Regret is the worst possible emotion you can experience. It makes fear look like a joke,” UJ told me matter of factly. And he’s right. There is not a sadder image on earth than looking at someone who regrets the decisions they’ve made in life.
So instead of chasing that goal because you think you’re supposed to, picture the end game. Is it going to make you happy? Is it going to inspire you to do more, go further, be better? If the answer isn’t an enthusiastic yes, you’re doing it wrong.
What needs to happen for that to happen?
UJ begins each day by picturing how he wants it to end. This may seem a bit backwards, but it makes so much damn sense when you think about it. What do you need to do to end your day feeling good? Write those things down. Make it your daily mission. It will change your life, I promise you that.
You can apply that same concept to figure out what you want, what your goals are. What is the end result of your endeavour? Got it? Now go backwards. What needs to happen for that to happen?
Find Your True North
I realize none of this is easy. It’s not a simple thing to figure out what you want. But my point is, make finding your true North a priority, along with everything else. Let it be woven throughout your thought processes, your brainstorming, your planning. If your central goal is always to make yourself happy, above all else, success will not only be attainable, it will blow your mind.
The Psychology of Entrepreneurship
For more insight into knowing what you want check out Volume 18 of the Psychology of Entrepreneurship podcast hosted by Ronsley Vaz and with special guest UJ Ramdas.
Author: Ronsley Vaz
Ronsley is the founder & chief day dreamer at AMPLIFY. He is an author, speaker & serial entrepreneur.
He has a Masters’ degree in Software Engineering and an MBA in Psychology and Leadership. He is known as the creator of We Are Podcast – the first Podcasting Conference in the Southern Hemisphere, and the host of The Bond Appetit Podcast and Should I Start a Podcast. He has an audience of over 3 million in 133 countries.