Once upon a time, there was a big shot Wall Street broker who took a fishing trip off the coast of Mexico. A couple of days (and more than one Dos Equis) into the trip, the broker starts giving the fisherman some advice. “You’ve got a good little business here, but what you need to do is use this boat as collateral to buy a second boat.” “Why should I do that?” “Because you could double your income. And with that, you could buy another boat, then another. Eventually, you could have a whole fleet of fishing boats out here.” “What would I do with all that?” “You could take your company public. You’d make millions.” “What would I do with all that money?” “Well,” says the broker, “you could do whatever you want. You could even sit out in a boat all day fishing.”
I love this story because sometimes I’m the broker so busy working towards goal after goal in my business that I don’t stop and consider why I’m pursuing that goal. Reaching goals is good and failing is bad, right? But what if the real danger is not failing but succeeding. What if you gain everything you were killing yourself and sacrificing your family and friendships for and you find it’s all hollow. The house, the cars, the awards don’t mean anything. Yeah, that’s way worse than just failing.
How do you avoid reaching a destination only to realize the goal you worked so hard to reach isn’t what matters to you after all? Don’t keep driving 70 mph in the wrong direction while you wait for Google Maps to load. Pull over and figure out where you should be going, then head there at high speed. Define what success for you is right now. Don’t wait.
Everyone’s idea of success is different. If your idea of success for your business is based on what your parents, your friends, or society, in general, say success is, then now is the perfect time to figure out what you actually want. I don’t care a bit about sports cars, but for some people, having a certain car is a great goal because they would enjoy that car a ton. What’s really important to me personally is to be able to take extended trips with my family. I’m not saying one thing is inherently better than the other—in fact, I’m saying the opposite. The goal you have might just be better or worse for you.
I started my business to help my clients, make the world a better place, create a great place to work and have fun while providing for my family. If I can get to where I do not have to stress about finances, go to cool places with my family, and have a flexible schedule so I can be there for my kids, that’s success in my book.