What Treasures Are You Storing?
I listened to a great preacher this past weekend talk about one of the points Jesus made in the Sermon on the Mount.
Jesus said, "Stop storing up for yourselves treasures upon the earth, where moth and rust consume, and where thieves break in and steal. Rather, store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust consumes, and where thieves do not break in and steal.”
As I listened to the message, I thought about a lot of things. First, of course, what "treasures" am I pursuing on storing here on earth and is it wrong to do so? The preacher made a great point in saying that during this part of Jesus's sermon he did not say it was wrong to have money set aside for a rainy day or to have nice things in your life, but most focus on only the stuff they want to accumulate and not on the bigger potential they have to do great things for those around them and their fellow man.
Jesus is right. We cannot take all the stuff with us. The money. The nice home(s). The cars. The material things. We can however make a difference in others lives and for the generations that come after us. And we do that by putting those "treasures" first instead of the material treaures.
If we focus on the treasures we can store in heaven - the things we can do to help others or make things better for those around and strive to live in the best way we can serving those around us, it will do much more for us than the "stuff."
Don't get me wrong. I like the "stuff." I like setting goals and reaching them with the rewards financially and opportunities that they bring. But, I must not make those more important than the things that really matter and make a difference.
As entrepreneurs, we are in a unique position in that we can do a lot to help others and make a difference for them. We can do this with our employees every day. We can do this with our spouses, kids, family, and friends. Each day, we should ask, "What treasure can I store in heaven by making a difference for others today?" It doesn't have to be something huge. It can be a simple as checking in on someone or helping them through a challenge. It can be offering a helping hand to someone who needs it.
The point is that we need to rethink the "treausures" we put first in our lives. Whether you are a follower of Jesus or not, the message is still valid. Prioritize the right things - you can have both, but prioritize the right ones first.
How will you implement this philosophy into your daily life?
You got it all figured out. You've got the product nailed. You know your market. You know how you are going to sell your products. You've got the talent. You maybe even have some backing. Success is just around the corner. Maybe.
You can have everything you think you need to succeed in your business or startup, but without one very specific thing, you will not make it.
What is it? Drive. If you are not driven to the ultimate level, beyond what anyone thinks is neccessary, then your chances of success are small.
After years of interviewing the top entrepreneurs in their fields, the one thing that stands out is that they are driven, almost obsessed with making their dream a reality. It always amazes me how many people have the talent, capability, resources, and even the right connections, but they don't succeed or even try. It has always puzzled me. Why are so many capable, but only a few truly make it in the game of entrepreneurship? It's because the ones that do are driven more than anyone else.
I recently interviewed Jason White, an entrepreneur who created a business that does millions per year in government contracts called the Federal Code.
By all accounts, Jason was destined to be another statistic. He grew up in the hood getting in trouble and didn't graduate high school. In his early 20's, he was working as a gas station attendent when a chance meeting happened that set him on a new path. He learned about the possibility of making money fulfilling government contracts and decided he was going to figure it out and change his life. He didn't know what he was doing or how to do it. He didn't know the first thing about goverment anything - but he was driven as hell. He spent almost 3 years working and figuring out how to win and then outsource the servicing of government contracts. He literally worked day and night for over 2 years getting rejection after rejection making no money until he had his first success. 99% of people would have quit in the first month, let alone be driven enough to go at it over 2 years without success. That is what it takes. And that is why people like Jason change their lives reaching levels no one thought possible for them and then help others to do the same. Be on the lookout for his upcoming episode.
But I think Jason's story illustrates the point well. How far are you willing to go? Do you have even an ounce of drive? I bet you do. It just may not be for the money side or business side of your life. It may be that you are driven to be the biggest fan for your favorite sports team and you won't let anyone outshine you. I think everyone is extremely driven in some area of their life. The trick is to recognize that. To recognize that feeling and harness it to use it in other areas of your life like your business or maybe your relationships.
Whatever it is you want, you must be driven to get it. Find your drive and use it in all areas of your life.
As a entrepreneur, you must get outside of your bubble and seek ideas and thought leadership from other sources. Different sources. These 3 videos will make you think and give you new perspectives and ideas.
This past weekend, I competed in the Ironman World Championships fulfilling a goal I made almost 4 years ago. It was a grueling race on the toughest course on the circuit. As with any race, there are challenges in the moment that must figured out and overcome.
I was a great race overall and the memories will last forever, but I learned some very important lessons that can be used for all areas of life.
Prepare for Adversity
One thing I have learned in racing Ironman for many years is that no matter what, you will face unexpected adversity on the course. You will have to overcome and adjust to it "on the fly." You will not know where it will come from or what it will be until it happens. For example, I was having a very solid race at the World Championships. I had my best swim time ever and put in a really solid bike time on the hardest bike course on the circuit. I nailed my pace on the first half of the marathon. At mile 14, my hamstring started to give me some trouble and I slowed down and walked a little bit. This was also the time of day where the sun was the hottest - 95 degrees in the desert. Seemingly out of nowhere, I was hit with severe de-hydration even though I felt I had hydrated myself better in this race than any other I had ever done. I had to walk most of the back half of the marathon and even had to sit down for a little while to keep my head from spinning. I had prepared myself ahead of time for something like this to happen and to be ready for it. I didn't know if it would happen or what it would be, but mentally, I was ready for it and when it hit, I was able to say, "Ok, we prepared for this. Now, we have to work through it and keep going." Which is what I did to finish.
This type of mentality relates very well to business and entrepreneurship. You must be prepared for adversity and ready to manage it because you don't know where and when it will come. I thought I was going to keep my pace and cruise to a great finish and within about 20 mins, it changed. In business, it could be anything. The loss of a key employee or client. A legal issue. A product flaw that nobody saw. All kinds of things can happen. If you are prepared and ready, you can manage them and get through to success.
Plan Your Race from Beginning to End
One of the things I have gotten better at over the years is taking a lot of time to plan every aspect of my race. I visualize every aspect of the race I can from the time standing in the starting coral, to my transitions, to the different areas of the course itself. I make mental notes and prepare. I plan my nutrition out almost to the exact times I need to take it, etc. In doing this, I can remove most surprises during a race and methodically work my plan as I go. This is how I can finish and do well. Over 3000 people started the race in the World Championship and only about 2200 finished. Some of them had trouble because they didn't plan well enough and were not prepared.
It's the same in business and entrepreneurship. You can never plan for everyting because things just happen- adversity happens. But the more you can plan and prepare, the better chance you have at finishing the race or reaching your goal. Take time each week to think through your business and plan for your success.
You Win in Your Mind
At mile 20 of the marathon, I was at my worse for de-hydration. I could not sweat anymore. Every fluid I tried to take in, came back up. My head was spinning. I had to sit on the side of the road and let myself cool down. I wanted to quit. I did not want to go further. I watched top athletes around me quitting one after another. It was at this time that I had overcome these urges in my mind. I had to will myself to keep going. I had to convince myself that I had more left. With only a few miles to go, I knew it was physically possibly to finish. I had to work through this internal conversation and get my mind to believe. I worked through it and was able to get it up and get going by telling myself, "Just one more step. I'll take one more step." And with one foot in front of the other, I finished.
I've always said that you win in your mind - in just about everything. And sometimes, you have to overcome your mind's limitations. You have to prove to it that it is wrong. This takes sheer will and guts. You will have to do this time and time again in business and entrepreneurship. You are only down and out if you let yourself be down and out. Only you can quit. And people typically quit in their mind before anywhere else. Do the work to develop your mind to overcome the hardest challenges. Be prepared to force you mind to overcome its limitations. If you do this, you will find you are capable of so much more in your life and can keep growing to new levels.
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