People constantly ask me how I maintain such a positive attitude, day in and day out ... how I have the endurance to keep going. I have four secrets. They are faith, gratitude, future-focused patience, and my web of influence.
Embrace the Journey.
Faith plays a central role in all aspects of my life. While I discard the belief that "all things happen for a reason," I do believe that all circumstances provide a doorway to growth and learning if our minds are open. All of the paths put before us offer experiences we might not be able to understand or see at the time they are happening, but are significant nonetheless.
If we can have faith in a higher reason as to why things are happening, we're able to let go of the fear of uncertainty. I'm not suggesting we surrender to what's happening and blindly accept difficulty or defeat. What I suggest is to release the fear, which impedes our rational thinking.
Often when we are in the midst of change and challenge, we are unable to grasp why events are transpiring. Fear clouds the courage we need to weather a storm. It is only after we have gone through an experience that we can look back and see why the dots connected in the manner in which they did.
This philosophy is what has helped me navigate my way through great pain and difficulty. Negativity, resentment, anger, jealousy, and feelings of dissatisfaction are your greatest enemies in your life's journey. The good news is that we have control over all of them, and we alone determine how much influence and power they have over us.
I begin every day from a place of gratitude. Regardless of what's occurring in our lives, we all can find many things for which to be grateful.
Everyone has a story. Everyone has had pain, loss, and difficulty, personally and professionally, and I've had more than my share. I've exceeded the quota. But that's okay; I'm stronger and more resilient because of it. My challenges were a gift because they have molded me into who I am today, and prepared me for what's ahead.
None of us really know what our fellow entrepreneurs have endured. We just wonder how they do what they do. Especially for people like entrepreneurs, who embrace and live life a bit more passionately than others, we're a target for both more of the good and more of the bad. But if you can adopt the habit of embracing your journey from a place of gratitude and appreciation for all that you have accomplished, for the blessings in your life, and for all that is yet to come, the challenges and difficulties become much more manageable.
By nature, I'm not patient. Most goal-directed, passionate people aren't. We see what we want, and we want to take it.
Experience has taught me that rushing what's coming never turns out for the best. But I've also learned that I don't need to helplessly wait to get what I want. There are plenty of things I can do to help me strengthen my foundation, and obtain my goal. So while I wait, I plan.
I've come to appreciate the time between knowing what I want, and getting what I want. Do I want to capture a certain contract? I put a strategy in place to get it. Do I want to add a new line of business? I do research to see if it's viable. Do I want to hit a certain revenue target? I surround myself with others that have done it. Do I want to cultivate a relationship?
Substantive, lasting relationships that are based on trust and respect take a long time to build and require patience. They can't be rushed. I've reluctantly, painfully, and gracefully become more patient. But it's purposeful and future-focused patience. Not patience for the sake of patience.
Our web of influence.
The final secret is what I refer to as our web of influence. Research has proven that we are the average of the 10 people who most closely surround us. We become the people that surround us. People have a lot more control over their web of influence than they realize. They automatically put long-time friends, family members, and business colleagues into their web, even though they may not be the people that are most supportive, understanding, or happiest for their success.
This is your life, and your web and you get to decide who is in it. It should be very difficult for someone to earn a spot on your A-team or in your inner circle.
Marissa Levin| September 16, 2010; 12:00 AM ET | Category: Personal essays Save & Share:
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