It was exciting. Exhilarating. Intoxicating, even.
The high of building a new business, chasing your dream with child-like abandon, taking back control of your life.
That satisfying sense led you through the spiked gates and narrow path of starting your empire, then just a vision. But where it’s left you is not where you expected — lost, confused, without purpose.
You don’t know which way to go anymore.
The path before you is muddled or lost altogether. You struggle to sleep at night, wondering what your 12-hour days are for.
Was it really worth it? Am I crazy to have tried?
Maybe the W-2 grind was better suited to my sorry soul.
But, of course, you’re made of tougher stuff.
You’re not ready to throw in the towel. You know that business has ups and downs, ebbs and flows, and so too does your internal motivation.
You don’t need to quit.
You need to remember why you started.
It’s worse than you think…
You’re not the only one.
You’re not the only entrepreneur who lies awake at night, contemplating the dark recess of your unlit bedroom, wondering why you’re working so hard, whether it was worth it — chasing your “dream”, or so you called it.
Truth is, you’re one among many.
Just last week, I had a day full of discouraging and mismanaged events, a day that left me feeling discouraged and empty.
You know what I’m talking about — the kind of day you hope to not repeat anytime soon, the one that doesn’t just hurt your motivation, but collapses something deeper inside you, soul or spirit, maybe.
The kind of day that makes you sick to your stomach with discouragement.
In the midst of those bouts, messages from Grant Cardone and other “entrepreneur-inspire-ers” springs on us like a lion waiting to finish off a wounded doe.
And the truth is, he isn’t wrong. Building a business does take hard work, perseverance, grit — continuing when stuff gets tough, pushing through the mind-numbing and motivation-killing days into a more promising future.
But that advice is mostly worthless for entrepreneurs who are already building their business.
Sure — college kids with too many parties to attend might need to hear Gary Vee’s messages.
But you don’t.
You already know it takes hard work to get where you want to go. You don’t need to keep listening to the treble that “hustle” memes pound into their recipient’s ears.
As it is, entrepreneurs (the people who are actually building businesses) suffer from depression, ADHD, addiction, and bipolar disorder more than everyone else.
And while you could make an argument that the lure of entrepreneurship attracts people with mental disorders, I think it’s equally likely that the hustle of entrepreneurship creates mental-health ailment symptoms.
In other words, it’s not you.
But you can escape it. Not the pain or the hard work, of course, but the soul-crushing nights that threaten to completely annihilate your passion — those, you can escape.
And it’s simply a matter of not suffering in vain.
Suffering in vain is about the worst thing you can do…
I did a quick Google search for “quotes about suffering.”
Then I went to the “Images” tab.
These are some of the quotes I found…
- “To live is to suffer, to survive is to find some meaning in the suffering.”
- “Suffering is part of our training program for becoming wise.”
- “God knows what is best for us. There are times when we need the sunshine. There are times when we benefit by the storm”
What do all of those quotes have in common?
Well, they all reveal a fundamental human tendency — to find meaning when things get tough, to believe that suffering doesn’t happen in vain.
And it’s not just a tendency, but a need.
Because without purpose or meaning behind the things happening to you, behind the things you’re working toward, it’s all pointless.
It’s all discouraging.
You see, you don’t feel burnt out because you’re working too much or even because you’re working on the wrong things. You feel burnt out because you’ve lost your sense of meaning. You’ve lost the “why” behind what you’re working on.
You don’t, after all, lie in bed at night thinking “I’m working too much.” You lie in bed thinking “What’s the point of working so much?”
You’ll still have hard times, times when you want to quit, but find your “why?” and climbing over those high walls will be much less challenging, and much more satisfying.
A purpose-driven life is the only life worth living…
The author of Are You Fully Charged? wrote “The odds of being completely engaged in your job increases by 250% if you work on meaningful projects each day.”
No surprise there.
But what creates the meaning behind those projects?
Not the work, itself, but the perception of that work.
In the case of a 9-5 grunt, positive or negative feedback from management at least partly serves to indicate how meaningful an employee’s work is.
But in the case that you own a business — in your case…
…you make the work meaningful.
And you do so by finding your “why?” and regularly revisiting that purpose.
My “why?” — the purpose that keeps me going when a key employee quits, when a high-paying client jumps ship, or when discouraging voices remind me why I’m less capable than I originally thought — is to provide freedom for my children and wife, to give them the life they deserve, to spend more time with them every day and to enjoy life while we have it.
Your “why?” might be similar. Or it might be totally different.
It might be about surfing everyday on the beach in Tahiti, or it might be about buying a private jet.
Whatever it is, find it, write it down, look at it every day, and use it like armor when you’re feeling discouraged.
You’re doing what you’re doing for a reason, but you’re the only one who can find that reason.
And once you find that tangible purpose, you can rekindle your passion even when the going gets tough. And the going always gets tough.