I have a sign on my office door. It pretty much summarizes my philosophy of life.
The sign simply says…. . ”Whatever it takes. ”
Short. Simple. To the Point.
“Whatever it takes, ” means exactly that. That I will do “whatever it takes” to get what I really want. It is the best description that I have ever been able to come up with to summarize the entrepreneurial experience.
Decision. Commitment. Result.
Something I pretty much had ingrained into my subconscious, playing sports as a kid.
Make the Decision.
Commit to that outcome. Visualize.
Experience that Result.
With my friends and colleagues I abbreviate and say…W. I. T. I’ll often refer to individuals as either having W. I. T or not. Y’know it’s like in the Rocky movies…”the eye of the tiger. ” You can tell when someone has W. I. T and when someone is faking W. I. T. . Or, worse yet when someone doesn’t even know about it!
Walt Disney suffered through a bankruptcy and breakdown. Milton Hershey experienced bankruptcy in his pursuit as the “chocolate king. ”
H. J. Heinz saw his newborn company forced into liquidation. All these individuals understood W. I. T.
It often confounds me though how many people will never understand what “whatever it takes” really means?
It seems that I developed my understanding of this philosophy through hardship. A tough teacher but an effective one nonetheless.
Maybe you can relate.
When I first started my life as an entrepreneur I thought I was pretty focused on what I wanted. Instead I got the exact opposite. Working long hours for little or no pay, dealing with creditors, angry customers, unresponsive vendors, indifferent intermediaries, idiotic bankers, erratic sales, loaning money to the company, etc. Quite frustrating until I discovered that all of that had been a training ground of sorts that taught me the alchemy of turning problems into opportunities. The one characteristic that every great businessperson must possess.
Whatever it takes. Problems into Opportunities.
W. I. T made me understand that it is not what happens to you. W. I. T makes you look at what are you going to do about it?
Before I had discovered W. I. T I had never realized that I had a “BLAME” list that was responsible for my circumstances. There were so many problems standing in the way of my success. I was convinced that I needed less problems. “If Only’s” so to speak….
I rationalized that successful people had less problems than I did which allowed them to be successful. LOL! I hate to admit it, but it is true.
“Well you know the economy…”
“But the Government…. ”
“If I only had more money…”
“Its all in who you know…. ”
All of these are huge lies which will prevent you from understanding “W. I. T. ”
Everybody has problems. But problems begin to dissolve when you acquire skills. I was guilty of wishing and hoping for less problems. What I needed though was better skills. Without skills your focus gravitates to the problem. A very poor focus indeed.
How often do you complain? Most of us are not conscious of how regularly we demonstrate that our “FOCUS” is on the problem and not the solution. I was thinking about this the other day when I overheard a group of employees whining about their circumstances. It reminded me of my “BLAME LIST. ” No W. I. T.
One of the benefits of being an employee is not having to take TOTAL responsibility for your life. Its made me realize that rarely have I observed successful individuals complain about their circumstances. It is a major distinction between people who exhibit entrepreneurial flair and those who will always remain employees. W. I. T.
The biggest issue that I have found with success is actually defining “the word” SUCCESS on my own terms. Over the years I have developed a love affair with dictionaries. You might remember those books our ancestors used in the pre-search engine days. Anyway, I use dictionaries regularly to see how they define a word. What has become fascinating about this is that dictionaries often disagree with one another…. kind of like the search engines do today.
If you look up the word success in most dictionaries it will normally come up with some variations of the following ideas:
accomplishment, achievement, attainment; triumph, victory
And my experience has been that these synonyms promote the following viewpoints:
When you get what you want then you can be happy.
Life begins when you get X.
What you don’t have is better that what you do have.
More is better.
I find these perspectives woefully inadequate for truly defining the elements of a successful life. Until you decide what success means to you, inadvertently you will fall for one of these perspectives. The key is defining SUCCESS based upon what is ultimately significant to your life, on your own terms, by your own design.
For me, W. I. T. is a wonderful definition of SUCCESS. Football coach and legend Vince Lombardi said, “The pride of success is hard work, dedication to the job at hand, and determination that whether we win or lose, we have applied the best of ourselves to the task at hand. ” If anybody understood W. I. T, it was Vince Lombardi.
I, also however am reminded of the French prisoner Papillon who was unjustly condemned to life imprisonment on Devils Island. He was disturbed by a recurring nightmare. His dream was that he stood before a harsh tribunal.
“You are charged, ” they would shout, “with a wasted life. How do you plead?”
“Guilty. ” He would mutter. “I plead guilty. ” Papillon, the prisoner knew that to waste his life under the control of others was WASTE.
He also consistently pursued his freedom. W. I. T.
Life is essentially composed of energy, time and space. To ultimately live a successful life would mean that we intensely understand these basic elements and invest them wisely without waste in pursuit of our goal. . The rich have money. The successful individual has a rich entrepreneurial life and lives it intensely.
Success is a passionate love affair with life. W. I. T. On your own terms, by your own design.
So be it!
Harald Anderson is the co-founder of Artinspires.com a leading online gallery of Motivational Posters and Inspirational Prints . “When Art Inspires, Dreams Become Realities. His goal in life is to become the kind of person that his dog already thinks he is. http://www.artinspires.com/