Where we begin…
In some way or another, we begin with creating a map for our lives that we believe can lead us to success. We often select a path that is well paved via education, employment, or entrepreneurship. To increase our chances in achieving our goals, we read books, hire teachers, study the market, and do whatever else we believe is necessary. Momentarily, the opportunity highway appears open as our daily decisions lead toward our destination.
We take the time to develop the critical thinking skills necessary to identify the giant called success. Initially, entrepreneurs find her in profit margins and minimal losses. Over time, we experience expansion and discover that success also includes our personal lives. In response to this awareness, we put more time in our schedules for family and friends. We reach the pinnacles in our professional and personal lives. As a student, employee, or business owner everything that we aim to accomplish comes to fruition, but then suddenly it changes in an instance.
These processes that I have explained via travel and personal development metaphors are inherent to the entrepreneurial lifestyle. Over the course of seven years, in my efforts to create a sustainable business, I have experienced some levels of success that were often followed by a plethora of failures.
Learning through failures
For seven years in the city of Chicago, I operated a business that specialized in teaching the African-Brazilian martial art of capoeira. I taught classes to adults and children with the intentions to create awareness and transform my passions into profit. In addition to my company, I held full-time and part-time jobs, because they offered consistent pay to cover my personal and business expenses. Despite working hard on jobs and entrepreneurial activities, I was unable to make significant income and profit from my products and services. I was successful in my efforts to build and contribute toward viable communities but struggled to meet my financial goals.
In Malcolm Gladwell’s book David and Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits, and The Art of Battling Giants, he presents multiple historical narratives that suggest many of life’s challenges are not as cumbersome as they appear. The book opens with a biblical story where the small David is assigned to kill the giant Goliath. In strength, size, and stamina David is outmatched; however, he ultimately wins the battle and ends Goliath’s life. Gladwell uses this story and others to provide evidence that, we possess the ability to conquer many challenges, giants in our life, through developing positive thinking, creating plans, and taking strategic action.
Success as an entrepreneur can be difficult. At times, it can feel like an endless pursuit in search of strategies to accomplish the desired results in our personal and professional lives. Despite reading the books, hiring business coaches, and executing plans, we can come up short in the financial returns. That was my experience as the owner of a martial art business that focused on clients in the Chicago market. I was unable to identify the missing links to receive adequate financial compensation for my products and services.
Developing the courage to succeed
In October of 2016, I moved with my wife and three small children to Mexico to focus more on my roles as a husband, father, and entrepreneur. My business now has expanded to include educational and business consultation where I am beginning to see some progress. Today, I have not accomplished everything that I desire in business, but I have learned a couple of things about the giant called success.
1. Success in business becomes more feasible when we acknowledge challenges and reevaluate approaches to determine the activities that can produce results.
2. Whether the possession of a million dollars in a checking account, being an attentive parent, employing 5000 people, or earning an educational degree, success should be defined and measurable.
As an entrepreneur, I have learned that success can feel like an impossible giant to conquer, but through developing critical thinking skills, identifying goals, defining success, working with other people, and taking strategic courageous actions anything is possible.