You can have all the ambition in the world and still not succeed in your business dreams. Well, first let me explain what I mean in saying “succeed.”
Gaining financial success.
In other words, building a self-sustaining business is not going to happen for everyone, at least not on the first try. In fact, most entrepreneurs will fail on their first attempt.
And that’s okay. It’s what happens afterward that matters most. And that’s where we need to clearly define and delineate the difference between ambition and desire.
Some Refer to Desire as Passion
You’ve heard people say something like, “You have to have passion for what you do.” Or, “If you love what you do, you’ll never work another day in your life.”
It is absolutely true that enjoying the things you do are going to have a direct and significant impact on your ability to push through the difficult times. Most of us have had at least a few jobs we really didn’t enjoy, but knew they paid the bills.
So, you’d get up in the morning, drag yourself out of bed, shuffle into the shower and get dressed, and endure the long, slow, tedious drive through rush hour traffic both ways and struggle to make it through each day. Why do we do those types of jobs?
We need the money. Without work, we don’t get paid. If we don’t get paid, it becomes much more difficult to not only pay for your home, but buy food, clothing, and even enjoy spending time with friends and family.
But, when you have a passion for the work you do, even on days when you may not feel 100 percent, it is much easier to get up and get moving. You know that what you’re doing is worthwhile.
That passion becomes incredibly important, especially for the entrepreneur. If you don’t possess a sincere desire for the work you’re setting out to achieve as an entrepreneur, you have to honestly ask yourself why you would even start!
The Effort for an Entrepreneur Is Intense
It’s not a walk in the park. It’s not like grabbing a lottery ticket, going home, and waking up the next morning to realize all your numbers hit.
You won’t become an overnight sensation. Very rarely does anything like that happen. Typically, if it does happen overnight, it tends to involve the creative arts, whether you become a movie star, rockstar, or world-renowned artist.
But guess what? Most of the people we see come across as “overnight sensations” put in years and years of hard work, dedication, and long hours to get to that level of success.
That’s what the entrepreneur life is like. It is intense. It can be challenging. It is going to be mired with landmines and pitfalls. If you don’t have a true, deeply seated desire to pursue this through those difficult times, the odds of you getting frustrated, giving up, and throwing in the towel will increase steadily.
As I said in the beginning of this blog, you can have incredible ambition, but if it is not matched up properly with desire or passion, it will begin to fade once all of your efforts truly feel like work.
Getting in Shape
I like to think about it as though I’m planning on exercising to get in shape. Maybe my spouse or close friends have commented a few too many times about the extra belly I’m carrying around.
Perhaps my doctor told me that my heart is not as healthy as it should be for a person my age. Maybe there was a family history of health issues and I heard that exercise, getting in shape, trimming down the extra fat, and doing other physical forms of activity were beneficial.
I started out with great ambition. I got a great gym membership, signed up for a personal trainer, and set my alarm for 3:30 in the morning. That very first morning when the alarm went off, I hit the snooze for five minutes, but then got out of bed.
My eyes were slow to open, but I was ready for this.
In short, I had amazing ambition.
But I didn’t have desire. This wasn’t about me. I didn’t have a passion to lose weight, get in shape, and be physically fit. Yes, I knew and still know how important it is for good health, but that’s not why I would be going to the gym before the sun rose.
I was driven by a different purpose. It almost felt as though I had to. With so many external forces urging me on, my ambition was not rooted in desire, but rather a sense of obligation.
Maybe that describes you at this moment with your entrepreneurial dreams. You simply don’t like your job, get tired of working the same hours for the same pay, and love the idea of being your own boss.
You see these slick ads, social media posts, and stories about people who set off on their own and are living the dream. You see the fancy cars, the yachts, the beachfront property.
Maybe you even see people claiming they only put in a few hours a week while they’re at the beach. That life looks so much better than the one you have, right?
The grass always seems greener on the other side of the fence, but you know what? It’s usually a trick of light. Once you climb over the fence, you quickly realize the grass is either painted, fake, or ready to wilt and perish.
That ambition you feel could very well be a desire for the easy road. But starting your own business, becoming an entrepreneur, is anything but easy.
It’s the desire, the passion you have for whatever it is you want to pursue that’s going to help motivate you when you finally realize in order to have greener grass, you have to put in the time and effort to get it to grow and then water it, trim it, and pluck out the weeds as soon as you see them.
The Weeds of the Entrepreneurial Life
Let me tell you a little secret: Every single time you see somebody marketing an affiliate, MLM, or other “easy money” opportunity, assume it’s going to take a lot of time and effort.
Over 99 percent of all MLM (multilevel marketing) jobs or opportunities never lead to earning money. You might gain a little, but with almost every single one, most people lose.
I’m not trying to tell you that the incredible, amazing products you could begin selling and marketing and building your own business off of are not worthwhile. It’s just that most people who enter into affiliate or multilevel marketing job opportunities as entrepreneurs don’t put in the necessary hours and effort to make it work.
And, unless you’re at the very top level of the business, having gotten in at the ground floor, the odds of you really making some serious money are quite low.
The entrepreneurial life is about time, effort, and dedication. It’s not an easy life. But, here’s the thing: It’s an amazingly rewarding life.
I’ve been helping entrepreneurs for years, offering guidance and counseling along the way. I successfully started numerous businesses. I know what it takes. I know about ambition.
I have plenty of it. I have so much ambition if I could bottle it up, I’d probably be a multimillionaire already.
Ambition is easy, though. There’s not much to it. Since you’re reading this article, I can tell you without question you have ambition.
But what about desire? You see, even though the grass looks incredibly green where other people are standing, it’s not. At least not without the effort required to make it green.
There are plenty of tricks in the business that can make others believe what you’re doing is amazing, incredible, and something you absolutely want to get in on. But when it comes to growing an incredible lawn, it requires the right fertilizer, sunshine, ample shade, nutrients, water, and maintenance.
As I mentioned, you also have to root out weeds as soon as you see them. So what are the weeds in the entrepreneurial life? Plenty.
The mistakes. The failures. The lack of income from your entrepreneurial work at the beginning. The need to cover bills still, even expenses for this new business before you start generating revenue.
Regulations, local laws and ordinances, certifications, and so on. It’s the fact that if you jump into your new business dreams full-time, putting behind you the 9-to-5 job you had been building for years, you need to understand sick days don’t count.
You won’t be getting vacation time built-up. If you want to take time off, you’ll either need to go without earning money during that vacation or have built your business up to be self-sustaining.
You’ll have plenty of times when things don’t seem to be going the way you planned. When mistakes are costing you. When your family and friends are trying to convince you this isn’t worth it, you can’t do it, why are you putting yourself in this position?
If you only have ambition, the chances of failing are going to increase. You’ll start seeing the weeds at first and be more than willing and ambitious to get out there and start plucking them out, but you’ll get frustrated.
Why? Because they never stop coming. They are always going to try to take over what you’re attempting to build. You pluck out one and by the time you turn around you see three more. Even if you get them all weeded out one day, you’ll step into that beautiful lawn the next and see 10, 20, or even a hundred more popped up overnight.
You see, ambition is a great starting point, but unless you have a sincere desire to get this thing beyond those failures and mistakes and weeds, the odds are you giving up too soon are going to increase.
There is an expression that goes, “Don’t give up five minutes before the miracle happens.”
It’s a powerful statement. It means you will, as an entrepreneur, face plenty of times when you just want to give up. The weeds overrun your beautiful lawn. You feel as though you’re drowning and nothing is working out.
That’s when ambition is going to flee. And that’s where desire needs to take over. If you have a true desire and passion for what you’re aiming to achieve, you may feel like giving up and you may even throw your hands up in the air and get frustrated more than a few times, but that desire is going to drag you out of bed and back to the drawing board every single time.
Do you have the desire to really make this happen? If so, I know you’ll be a success!