I'm an expert of this (sort of). As an entrepreneur, I'm always focused on progress. I'm this way about my personal life, too. My focus on progress and success achievement can easily get into an obsession. When you've been raised in a world that brainwashes you into mediocrity and going along with the herd, I consider my drive a blessing more than a curse. I also see it as the key to unlock the door of financial freedom-as it has for so many that have gone before me.
There are 3 philosophies I learned from a favorite childhood story of mine, The Little Engine that Could, which has been really helping me to keep me from getting stuck in inertia and from taking my failures lying down.
Philosophy #1: Don't compare down; always compare up. Growing up. my Dad always chastised us whenever we left food on our plates because there were "starving kids in Africa". I've also had to listen non-stop to "being grateful we made it another day with a roof over our heads and food on the table". Although it's true that we must count our blessings, this mentality ultimately lulled those around me into a deep sleep of complacency. It's a pacifier of sorts--to mentally accept your current circumstances to the point where you feel guilty about wanting more-- and preventing you from seeking greater dreams and possibilities as a result.
My philosophy has become to never compare down---"down" meaning to people or circumstances that are worse off than yours currently are. For me, comparing up is the only way I stay motivated to reaching the next level of success. Comparing down makes me complacent to where I am because after all, "I'm doing pretty good compared to that guy, right?"
Philosophy #2: Dust your knees off and get back up. When I fail or am dissapointed by something I thought would come through, I find that when I: 1) Just acknowledge it. Instead of allowing myself to get too emotionally involved in my failure (leaving me depressed, doubtful and uninspired), I: 2) Force myself to get logical. And even though I feel like crap and a tad hopeless, I: 3) Talk to myself aloud and announce how I'm feeling. Then I reflect on what this failure has taught me.
...And after some shuteye, I get up the next day and keep it pushin'.
Reminder: Dusting your shoulders off is common knowledge but not common practice. I've found that the more I just keep on going after a big loss like the little engine that could, the quicker I'm able to get to a win.
Philosophy#3: Never quit. I'm learning that most people quit just before the miracle. They do all the work but walk away from their goal because it simply didn't happen soon enough. This is why I'm learning to let go of time-sensitive expectations, where it has to happen in a week, a month or six months---otherwise I have failed.
The saying "fail your way to success" is turning out to be my mantra these days. The entreprenurial path isn't for the faint of heart-- that's for sure. When I fail or I lose a bid on a lucrative contract that "woulda been purrrfect "(you know-those once- in- a- lifetime kind of situations) it really hurts me to the core when-- for whatever reason-- opportunity slips right through my fingers and down the drain....
That's when it's hard to go on. That's also what separates the ones who succeed and the ones who don't. "Winners" are those who take the biggest risks and handle their failures better than anyone else. "Losers" sit on the sidelines and wait to see how the "Winners'" courageous choices have turned out. Then they either criticize or ride your coattails.
To win at entrepreneurship, I am finding out that I have to accept (as do you) that failing is an inevitable part of life. It's how you handle failure and persevere that counts. And just like the little engine that could, who kept on huffing and puffing up that steep hill-- I, too, as a freelance entrepreneur, shall continue up that steep proverbial hill to financial freedom and my definition of success.
When I want to quit, these words (courtesy of the little engine that could), have come in handy.
I think I can.
I think I can.
I believe I can.
I know I can....
I just did.