“Without ambition one starts nothing. Without work one finishes nothing. The prize will not be sent to you. You have to win it.”
— Ralph Waldo Emerson
The beginning is the easiest part because it’s the most fun. The beginning of any project is when you’re most excited and most passionate about discovering the journey to where you think it will lead. Just think of the excitement people have for a new romantic relationship or their New Year’s resolutions!
One of the most difficult parts for most people is the middle of the journey (like with those resolutions). This is when an attitude to continue is paramount. Most projects are abandoned at this stage. This is when you have to crunch your time, brain, and resources to hammer out the details of your project. This is when you take the idea you had in the beginning and follow the strategy you designed to create that product or to learn that instrument or to do whatever it is you want to do.
This is the stage of work — and work is what most people try to avoid. Work is hard, and for most people it’s not fun. So they quit the team (quit the diet, the class, the manuscript, saving that 10% per paycheck — name the project or goal!) that in the beginning was so exciting. These people quit because achieving the goal wasn’t more important to them than the discomfort they feel from the work involved to get there. These people never learned that anything worth doing usually takes time and effort. In the case of significantly impacting their own life, other’s lives, an industry, or the world, these people were more concerned with their personal comfort than the impact they could have had if only they had been more resourceful.
That’s right. I didn’t say if only they didn’t quit or if only they just worked harder. Maybe they quit because it was too expensive and they didn’t have the money in the bank or sufficient credit to purchase that piano. Oftentimes, the best way to do anything significant will be with the help of others.
A resourceful person would have found people who shared their vision. They would have borrowed resources or traded equity in their project to keep going. If your mission is important to you, it will be felt in your words. Not everyone will loan you money for piano lessons, but someone with the resources will see your passion and help you financially. Or perhaps they will trade you lessons for something that you have or can do for them.
Bartering (trading something for something, where no cash is involved) is one of the most useful tools of resourceful people. I’ll touch more on how to become more resourceful later.
My point here is that the work stage is oftentimes hard and no fun, but that shouldn’t deter you. There are numerous examples of how a persistent inclination to endure the work stage pays off tremendously. From Michael Jordan’s hundreds of jump shots a day to Henry Ford’s failed businesses and countless actors’ “comebacks,” you will find a multitude of people who had every reason to quit but didn’t. Use a declaration such as, “I can do hard things!” with a powerful move of your own design that energizes your body and refocuses your attention on the project. I can’t tell you how many times that phrase has propelled my projects forward.
There’s no trick to the work involved. Someone has to do it. That person is either you or someone you convince through financial means, favors, begging, bartering, or other method that gets you closer to the end product.
The last thing you want is the regret that maybe you could have succeeded if only you had done something different or persisted just a little longer. Use what you learn in these pages to develop a solid strategy with achievable steps, and never quit until your great thing is complete. Then, for the love of God, tell me what it is in a social comment or a post in the Achieve group or other group we are both in.