Are You Willing to Be Extraordinary?By
When I started my financial advising career in 1997 I dreamed of great success. Early on I was introduced to reality, though. This is a tough business. Incredibly competitive and pressurized.
I set out to build a fee based business which I felt better served my clients. It also would be a more stable business that would give me freedom after getting it established.
The veterans in our office, who were all transaction brokers, told me, “It’ll never work. You can’t build a fee based business. You’ll starve before you succeed.”
In the first couple of years they were right. If we hadn’t had savings to get us through we would have been a lot thinner.
But I knew the kind of business I wanted. I wanted to do strategic things with my life, including writing, and yet not give up my business. Once built it would be a great platform to expand from.
So I struggled through it. By year three it was starting to come alive. Then the tech meltdown hit in 2000. It hurt me as it did everyone else. But it turned out to be a great time to build a business. Many brokers left or didn’t call their clients especially after they had loaded up their portfolios with tech stocks. So with a lot of hard work my business grew substantially.
Ten years later, when I left to set up my own financial planning company, I was one of the highest producers in our office. Not only had we not failed but I had other brokers literally say, “Boy, you’re lucky.”
And I would think, “Where were you through the struggle? We’ve been incredibly blessed and worked incredibly hard. But lucky? I don’t think so.”
Jonathon Fields, who writes a popular blog, wrote about achieving the extraordinary and said, “It’s about a commitment to mastery, passion and remarkability. And, it’s very likely about thousands of hours and a whole lotta years.”
We all start out with dreams. We want our lives and careers to be extraordinary.
We dream of success and the satisfaction that goes with it. But along the way the road gets tough. We meet the resistance of remarkability. It’s never easy. It requires sacrifice and a lot of work.
At that place we make choices. Do we press on or do we give up? Sometimes we change direction because we realize we’re not willing to pay the price for that particular dream. That’s ok. But often people give up because they’re not willing to pay the price for any dream. It’s far easier to dream about success than truly achieve it.
Yet, so many end up with broken dreams and envy of those who have been, “so lucky to be an overnight success.” And there’s a sense of emptiness. A thought of, “I wonder what if?”
The apostle Paul wrote of his life, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept my faith. Now I’ll receive the crown.”
Mediocrity is easy. Greatness never is. If we want an extraordinary life it will take extraordinary effort.
How do we keep going when it gets tough though?
Some ideas that help me.
First, I recheck my dreams and goals. Are they worth the price? Are they great goals? Do they serve others and God? Are they bigger than me? Only great goals keep us inspired when the way gets hard. The apostle Paul knew the race he was in. So he could keep going when it got hard.
Second, in the midst of the challenges I try to stay focused on the dream. I live it out in my imagination. I picture what the victory will feel like. It keeps reminding me of why I am doing what I’m doing. This helps me stay motivated and encouraged. The crown of achievement, whatever that is, awaits those who press through.
Third, I remember I don’t need to accomplish everything today. All I need to do is accomplish one more step. As I break down the large goal into manageable daily steps I can then have small victories along the way. This keeps me moving forward toward the large goals.
Then fourth, I celebrate the little victories. Honestly, this one I don’t do well. But I try to focus on my progress each day. Each little step achieved. Each little victory accomplished. This cheers me up and helps me enjoy the journey.
Fifth, one critical step, is to not compare myself to others. I’m not walking their path nor are they walking mine. When I feel arrogant I let down. When I feel inferior it weighs me down. So I try to stay focused on what I need to accomplish and celebrate my achievements. Then I can support others in theirs.
At the foundation of all this is the trust that if my goals are great goals God will guide me. He’s my managing partner. I can counsel with him and he will lead me into the next steps. And he’ll bless my efforts if they truly bless others and him. Paul said he had kept the faith. And that kept him going.
And, finally, in the midst, I realize even if I don’t achieve every dream my life can still be rich and extraordinary. God is still blessing me as he has so abundantly already. And he will lead me into the extraordinary life he has designed for me. As his child my life is meant to be remarkable. I simply relax in that hope.
The apostle Paul later wrote, “We are more than conquerors through Jesus.”
Now that is truly an extraordinary life!
Do you have dreams of your life being extraordinary? Have you hit some setbacks?
Is it time to get moving again?
What is an extraordinary dream you have?
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