Building my business was hard. At times, it was overwhelming, discouraging, and frustrating. But it was worth every bit of work, energy, and sleepless night. Because if it weren’t for my business, I may not have ever learned who I really am.
Last week I wrote about Kenneth Blanchard’s stages of success. I mentioned that Lana and I really struggled to get through the Dissatisfaction stage. It took us quite awhile to develop the attitude that we needed to get through that phase, but we did it. And, oddly enough, I think one of my biggest motivators was a statistic that I heard on television one day. The show said that the person who stays home with his or her kids will spend more time with them by the time the child is three, than someone who has a nine-to-five job will over eighteen years. When I heard that data, I just sat there, stunned, thinking about the implications.
Later that day, I told Lana that I really felt like we had to make a change. I told her about the findings, and that I couldn’t stand the idea of missing out on so much of my children’s lives. In the end, we decided that the answer was to continue building my business. If we succeeded, it offered the best of both worlds—time with my family and the financial freedom to do many of the things we wanted to be able to do together.
So Lana and I decided to reapply ourselves and really go for it. We refocused and pushed through the Dissatisfaction stage. And it wasn’t easy. We didn’t see much success in the first couple of years, and throughout the third and fourth years, we were still constantly learning lessons.
But I’m grateful for those lessons, because they made me who I am. As I struggled to make important business decisions, I would often find myself asking, “who am I?”. And at times, that was a difficult question to answer. But eventually I figured it out. I knew that, in a perfect world, I would spend all day at home, with my wife and children. But I also knew that ultimately, I wanted to be a better man. I wanted to show my son how to take care of himself, to build character, and to be kind. I needed to set an example.
When I realized this, I knew I had hit on something important; I had discovered my life’s purpose. Once I figured that out, things began to happen for me. Because I had a goal that I could envision, I was able to keep my attitude focused and positive. I began to make decisions with that goal in mind, so every choice I made brought me closer to achieving it.
I mentioned earlier that building my business was often overwhelming, frustrating, and discouraging. But despite the challenges, the journey was also exciting and rewarding. Best of all, it helped me discover my life’s purpose. And I’m not sure that I would have figured that out if building my business had been easy.