When you live an entrepreneurial lifestyle, stopping to smell the roses is never on the “to do” list and time off doesn’t exist!However, I decided to do the impossible and take a few days “off” to reflect, refocus and re-prioritize. I needed some entrepreneur motivation. What better place to spend a few days away then the happiest place on earth, where magic and inspiration is all around – Disney World! Leaving Houston, I was struggling with the inspiration for this month’s article and was feeling burned out. While walking around the park enjoying some fresh air and the chance to be outside, my attention was drawn to a Finding Dory t-shirt with the popular phrase “Just Keep Swimming”. I believe in signs, and this one couldn’t have been more appropriate for this point in my journey.
It’s difficult to draw a picture of a day in the life of an entrepreneur, but it is filled with ups and downs often wilder than any roller coaster ride. Good things happen, but your path is paved with far more challenges and obstacles to overcome. On your journey, you will receive more rejections and failed attempts at success then you will actually succeed. When this begins to feel overwhelming and you are at the point of giving up, that is when you have to “Just Keep Swimming”! Your path is often upstream, against heavy current and fraught with competition that is often larger with greater resources. You will always be exhausted, but there is no option to stop and you have to be able to handle anything that comes your way: the good, the bad, and the ugly. It truly is about being a survivor and not necessarily about being the best product or service provider. Only the strong of heart will make it and decide to “Just Keep Swimming”.
This trip provided me with perspective, which was only achievable when I stopped swimming for a moment. Leaving the hustle and bustle of meetings and deadlines behind, I was able to see what I was unable to before – just how far I had swum. Specifically, all of the little things that were going right and paving the way for a future ripe with opportunity, if I were willing to “Just Keep Swimming”. I hadn’t given these accomplishments their due. I was too busy just swimming! Don’t get me wrong, you have to work hard every day and swim as if your life depends on it, but if you don’t take a break you will miss the hidden opportunities and motivations attached to those seemingly inconsequential accomplishments. Worse yet, you may miss life lessons you are doomed to repeat if you don’t apply the lessons. This will eventually cost you potential success and the experience of the journey. After all, what you will learn along the way is part of the success!
It was amazing to see that the seeds were starting to grow where I least expected! With renewed spirit and energy, I boarded my flight back to Houston ready to “Just Keep Swimming” with one minor adjustment. And that was a promise to periodically find a shallow end, stand up, take a look around, appreciate the journey, the experiences and what awaits upstream.