It’s truly amazing what getting knocked down 4,873 times can teach you.
I mean honestly, if you knew how hard it would be to run a successful design business, would you still do it?
In the early days, I remember feeling so sick with fear drumming up my first 20 clients, that I almost threw up every time I knocked on another door. Over the course of three days I physically visited 100 businesses, each one not knowing whether I’d be greeted with a friendly smile or an arrogant, cold stare. It was crippling.
I’ll never forget how sweaty my palms would be when I shook their hand, embarrassed, my heart racing like I’d just run a marathon and a lump in my throat the size of a basketball, I pushed on.
It was the first time I became intimately acquainted with panic, fear, uncertainty and self-doubt — all at the same time — and to be completely honest with you?
I hated it.
But I pushed on.
The first 10 years for me was hard.
I’d put on a brave face and say everything was going gangbusters, but on the inside I felt like a failure.
No matter what new goal I set, it wasn’t good enough.
I kept raising the bar.
Every time I’d get close, I’d raise higher again.
“When I just get a $20,000 website client I’ll feel….”
“When I just turnover $500k I’ll feel…”
“When I just buy myself a new car I’ll feel….”
This invisible bar kept moving.
Up. And up. And up.
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But I pushed on.
And at the end of a decade of sacrifices, long nights, weekends filled with work and missed opportunities with friends and family, if you asked me to answer honestly if I felt like a success?
Even though I owned a brand new BMW X5?
An amazing house?
Even though I was turning over more than $1.5m in revenue?
Had over 1,000 clients?
A great brand?
A bangin’ business?
Even though I had a huge team of amazing people to support me?
Even though on the outside I looked like I had it going on?
I would have to say “No”.
Every day was a battle.
An internal battle.
About not being good enough.
Doubting whether I was doing things “right”.
Questioning a better way.
Battling with imposter syndrome.
Recovering from perfectionism.
Feeling like I had never done enough.
Comparing myself to everyone else.
Punching my way through business.
Like it was some kind of sick 485-round boxing match and I had to fight to the death.
And by the end of a decade of pushing, clawing, sprinting and bashing my way through the business battlefields searching for “success” — bruised and bloodied from the fight — something started to shift.
I was sick of the suffering.
I started to realise that every really freakin’ terrible situation actually had a silver lining.
And that it’s all part of the journey.
That messy is okay.
80% is good enough.
And although it’s cliche, the failures really do take you one step closer to success.
That I am already successful NOW.
The failures are gifts.
The struggles are normal.
The fight is felt by everyone who takes the plunge.
No matter how others on Facebook were sugarcoating it?
Business is hard.
And it’s meant to be.
I realised that it’s okay to fail.
Or feel defeated, bloodied and bruised most days.
To the point where I didn’t get bothered by things any more that would usually, in the past, turn my world upside down and make me into a blubbering mess.
I almost looked forward to them.
If something bad happened, where I’d normally want to curl up under a million rocks and die — I embraced it and looked for the lesson.
I started to realise that business is like riding a tiger.
You just gotta jump on knowing it is one feisty helluva beast, know what you’re getting yourself in for, and go for gold!
It will try and eat you for breakfast. It will chew you up and spit you out. It will try and buck you off like a bull. You name it.
But you gotta feed it, love it, accept it and just roll with the punches.
But you know what I really wish I knew 13 years ago?
I wish someone had said to me:
“Enjoy the struggle.”
Just those three little words.
Enjoy the struggle.
So I’m writing this to you…
Enjoy the struggle:
Every time you’re beating your head up against a wall confused as hell as to how to get sales.
Every time you feel like curling up in a ball and crying for a week when you look at your bank balance.
Every time you question your ability and say all those horrible things to yourself about not being good enough.
Every time you compare yourself to others.
Every time you’re about to hit ‘send’ on a campaign and become paralysed with fear.
Every time you step up another level and feel like an imposter.
Every time you feel like giving up.
Let fear, uncertainty and doubt be your guideposts.
Enjoy the struggle.
Nothing that comes easy is worth having.
It’s the good times and the bad that make us who we are.
And business is about who you ARE, not what you DO.
You are the 1% of the 1%.
You’re already a winner.
And winners don’t win without a struggle.
So embrace it.
Thrive on it.
And own dat shit 100%.
Now go chase down some of those dreams of yours and slap those bad boys into reality. 🙂
But quickly, before you do, drop me a comment and let me know if this rings true for you.
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