I hear a lot of people in entrepreneur circles talk about their enemies to success. Things on the list often include the economy, government legislation and regulation, and competitive rivalries. While these things do make a difference in how easily or quickly a person can start a business or grow their start up, none of these things are the greatest opponent to rising to the top. In reality, the greatest factor in your success–whether adversary or helper–is you.
“I demand more of myself than anyone else could ever expect.” –Julius Irving
Most people like to think of themselves as unimportant, or at the very least, a low priority factor in how life turns out. In reality, though, this kind of thinking will hold a person back more than anything else that life can throw their direction. Why? It is because the greatest asset that you will ever have in life is yourself. But, if you don’t realize the value of your own self, you will not utilize the greatness that is within.
One group of people who have truly embraced this concept–and used it to do seemingly impossible things–are athletes. They view their body as a tool and constantly work on enhancing it to meet new goals and accomplish new things. When they want to hit a new level or achieve a win, they do not demand that others give them success, they simply create it by demanding more of themselves.
“Most people never get there. They’re afraid or unwilling to demand enough of themselves and take the easy road, the path of least resistance…If you’re not pushing yourself beyond the comfort zone, if you’re not constantly demanding more from yourself–expanding and learning as you go–you’re choosing a numb existence. You’re denying yourself an extraordinary trip.” –Dean Karnazes, American ultra marathon runner and author
As an entrepreneur, our focus should not be any different. We should not go easy on ourselves, all the while expecting–or blaming–outside influences for where we are. We have to step up to the home plate of responsibility, let go of the excuses that have been keeping us stagnant, and take back our lives.
“We can’t become what we need to be by remaining what we are.” –Oprah Winfrey
But how does this process begin? How do we go from being complacent and fixated on circumstances to a self made machine that overcomes all? You guessed it…it starts with you. You must first make a decision to demand more of yourself. Then, from this decision, you begin to work harder, demand a higher level of excellence from your own actions, and completely focus your energies on what you can do, not what you can’t.
So how do you know if you are demanding enough of yourself? For starters, look at the level of effort that you are putting into regular activities each day. Do you mostly just drift along, doing only the minimum to get by? Or, do you push yourself to dream bigger, work smarter, and do more? Secondly, take a look at your level of ambition. Has anyone told you that you are crazy lately? If not, you probably don’t have a big enough vision!
“If you find yourself saying ‘I can’t do something’, but you know it in your heart of hearts that if you do it, you’re going to grow, you’re going to be a better person, it’s going to contribute to your family or to your kids or to something that matters, and you keep saying ‘I can’t do it,’ there is no question—you must do it. You don’t discuss it anymore. You just take immediate action… You do what’s necessary.” – Tony Robbins
Demanding more of yourself isn’t about achieving perfection or setting unrealistic goals, but about being honest and open with the part you play in your own life. It is about learning, stretching, and growing your capabilities instead of buying into the lie that your potential has been maxed out. It is about looking ahead and striving for greater future success instead of always looking over your shoulder reminiscing about days gone by. It is a conscience decision to take the limits off your potential and step out of your comfort zone.
So make the choice today to get off the sidelines of your life and actively participate as the MVP. Stop waiting around for success or accomplishment to find you, and instead, go out and hunt it down. Demand more of yourself and start commanding your own destiny one day at a time.