About 7 years ago I decided that good isn’t good enough. Not in any part of life: work, play, health, relationships; education and exploration; service and faith. We can do better when we make the decision to be great. Sounds simple enough, but most of us, most of the time, settle for a few steps below. We don’t test our highest powers.
Great isn’t about keeping score, it’s about measuring growth. And the true beauty of that proclamation unfolds when it’s void of contrasts and comparisons of what other people are doing. It’s most meaningful when it’s all YOURS. The pursuit of your own personal greatness – in whatever size or shape that speaks to you – that’s when you begin to elevate to another level. That’s when you raise the bar.
The irony of it all is that we may rarely reach our own lofty standards. But that’s ok. The symptoms and side effects of simply pushing and fighting and striving to be great – to build great things and make great differences – give us all the habits and tools we need to keep our fire burning. No matter what dark twists or ugly turns cross our Paths. That passionate pursuit helps us keep going. That journey keeps us grateful.
So let’s decide.
And then let’s go do great work.
I run this same route 5 times a week. Document it every time. Every time.
Quick video when I start or still photo when I finish. I have made a habit of capturing the monotony of dream building the last few years. It’s become a ritual; an ode to the less glamorous part of the journey. Because we often focus on the highs and lows, the obscurities and abnormalities.
But it’s the day-to-day grind that makes up the vast majority of the Path. That repetitive process of getting up and working your butt off to create and design and develop and pitch and listen and sell and learn and evolve and reset and reload.
To fail and fall, then dust yourself off and be ready again by morning. Over and over. Day after day. Cross the same bridge 1000 times until finally something ignites.
That is the forgotten element of entrepreneurship. It’s the forgotten piece of building anything, really. Hidden under the mystique and majesty of creation is the slog. You have to be just as dedicated to it as you are enamored by the ornaments and milestones.
It is not sexy. It is not shiny. It looks boring and uneventful to most people. Unspectacularly redundant.
But it is where IT all happens… the PROCESS. The process is not pretty, but it’s the only way you can make something beautiful…
Looking forward to seeing this bridge again tomorrow night.
It’s easy to believe after the victory.
When you win, you suddenly have more suitors. When you finish first you quickly have more friends. Everyone’s a fan when you’re riding high. Everyone wants a taste of the top…
But who believed from the bottom? Who stayed loyal through the lows? Who lifted you through your losses and defended you through your defeats? How many people embraced your vision, and encouraged your dreams?
Those people… that family… the crazy few… those are the people you always take with you. Those are the people you never forget.
I think this is how most of us picture the Path.
This is how it first appears in our mind. This dream, this destination, sitting straight in front us. Much too far to touch, but just close enough to see.
And when we make that decision to go towards it, at whatever pace feels right to us, we imagine each step down that straight street bringing us closer and closer to the prize. We envision running the last few yards – hands outstretched, smile wide, sweat thick, crowd roaring – like a champion. A mythical hero. An urban legend.
That picture alone is often enough to propel us down the Path.
But the truth is, the Path ain’t straight. It’s crooked. And cracked. And crazy. It bends and curves. It’s got potholes and pitfalls. It’s mostly uphill, and there are no crowds on that climb. Spectators stand at the start, and believers magically appear at the finish line.
The Path itself is lonely. It is hard and humbling. And it does not care about your feelings.
But, amidst all the turns and turmoil, the Path is an amazing teacher. It shows you things. Reveals you to yourself. It strips away all the bullshit, and makes sure you’re on it for the right reasons. It keeps it real. It makes you grateful, and aware. It teaches you the meaning of belief, and the definition of sacrifice. It makes you work for it…
And then somehow, in between your racing and chasing, as you walk and stumble and fall and crawl, as you learn to live peacefully between great uncertainty and even greater expectations… the Path begins to feel like home. And that feeling is the greatest gift of all.
There are only two points that matter: The Moment, and The Vision.
What are you doing right now, and what do you want to create?
Stay focused in the moment and stay relentless toward YOUR vision.
The middle doesn’t matter – so be open and nimble and ready. Don’t get discouraged when all doesn’t go according to plan. Don’t let the downs shake you off course.
Take the hits, but remember where you’re headed. Notice the signals and follow the signs.
Go with your gut… As long as that bigger picture – that broader purpose – remains clear and honest and true, keep doing and keep moving.
You WILL get there.