We’re living in a world of too many opportunities. There’s instant access to almost anything (even classified stuff, if you’re really good) and you can do anything you want.
Not that there’s anything wrong with that. In no small part, that’s why we have so many entrepreneurs today, which I wholeheartedly welcome.
But without a clear destination of where you want to end up, the journey will be all for naught.
too many opportunities mean equally many distractions.
Being an entrepreneur is the path we take in order to evolve and grow both personally and professionally. It includes all the people we work with, failures and successes experienced, money gained and lost, opportunities seized and missed – the veritable ‘greatest hits’ of trials and tribulations we face on our way.
It’s also very easy to get lost on this path.
As much as you need to have a strong “why” behind your entrepreneurial ways, you need to have a strong “where”, if not stronger.
Like it or not, it greatly affects the way you manage your venture – and if it will succeed or not.
Why a destination matters
Most of us know that the more focused we are, the easier it is to achieve our goals.
But that’s far easier said than done when looking at the big picture. When you experience either some form of success or hardship, it’s easy to get distracted.
You can be offered loads of money to have your own show or podcast a la Joe Rogan (but saner), be a co-founder or CEO of a respected company, do tons of consulting, and so on.
If you’re successful, you start thinking you can afford the detour. If you’re struggling, of course, you’ll use any help you can get, perhaps take a break, or whatever.
Any circumstance that presents itself, no matter how favorable it may be, can’t deter you from where you want to end up if you know what you want at every given moment.
That’s the simple, undeniable truth in this line of work.
That’s why destination matters – a lot.
One of the perennial dangers of entrepreneurship is the tendency to be everything to everyone, trying to capitalize on every potential opportunity.
Soon, a problem emerges in the form of diluted focus.
If you put time and effort into doing this and that, you can wind up doing them without any meaningful impact. At best, you’re going to be average with no competitive edge.
I understand all too well how difficult achieving proper focus can be for entrepreneurs. Even though we are persistent and self-determined, many of us feel the profound and influencing effects that the surroundings project on us.
Sometimes, it’s impossible to stay in the flow among all the big dreams and opportunities.
Hence, the faster you get real about your primary focus, the faster you’ll be successful. I find that zeroing in on my strategic goals helps me stay on the path.
For entrepreneurs, purpose is everything
Think about why we entrepreneurs do what we do.
I’d like to believe that most of us seek to fill holes that are deeper than the financial ones. In my experience, most of us have something to prove (or disprove), to get the chip off our shoulders.
My entrepreneurial start was like that.
I had a rough path to get to where I am today. My family emigrated from Canada to Israel when I was 14 and I had trouble fitting in because I didn’t know Hebrew or the culture. I was thrown out of four different schools, not because I was a bad student or similar but because teachers just didn’t understand me and didn’t know how to contain me. I was socially ashamed, feeling disconnected from everything.
So, I set out to prove everyone wrong.
That was the first time I realized the power of purpose.
If I don’t have a specific reason to do something – or know I can’t make a significant impact – then I won’t do it.
Equally important is the fact that I likely won’t be able to do it without a clearly defined endgame, whatever it may be.
That’s how you stay the course, as opposed to wandering strategically and tactically in all directions, wasting time and effort.
One of maybe three times I ever felt starstruck was when talking to Anastasiya Stepanova for the Real Life Superpowers podcast.
Sure, we had more famous guests but the thing with Anastasiya is her unique career. She’s an engineer, mission specialist, space journalist, bonafide human test subject, health and safety officer, and a whole lot of other things that have to do with her dream: space.
Since forever, she knew she wanted to go to space, and she pursued that dream with amazing determination and purpose – even if it meant taking an unconventional approach.
She talked about enduring pain, doing all kinds of ridiculous things to her body and mind (e.g. spending 120 days in isolation for an experiment), just so that she could follow her passion without caving in to fear.
Focus can be a tough beast to tackle. There is a temptation to do or offer whatever it takes to get business in the door.
The most important thing I have to convey after these musings is that you shouldn’t start a business without a very strong focus (which stems from a singular purpose) because starting and running a business is physically and mentally exhausting.
What will likely get you through isn’t the promise of flashy success or plenty of money, but rather, being reminded where (and who, I might add) you want to be at the end of it.
That’s why people like Anastasiya represent the best of us: having that mental toughness, accepting but not regretting their path, and putting everything they have toward their goal.
That’s the kind of people that go to space, literally and figuratively, in the end.