If you were to ask me 5 years ago if I would have a business today with 100% growth from year 1 to year 2 and 275% growth from year 2 to year 3; 15 employees, 2 offices, national and global interest from prospective clients, and the scars to show for it, I would have believed you.
Yes, I would have believed you. I would believed you, but then I would have been shocked… a little sad…then happy…then scared. I just looked back at my emails from March 2013. I was still in pursuit of a life-long dream of mine to be a professional soccer player. I looked back at my emails and saw on this day in 2013, I was helping the semi-professional team I played on to organize some administrative pieces, pre season practices, and other items I could possibly get my hands on prior to the season to help with our chances of having a successful run so I could get noticed by professional recruits.
While my pursuit lasted 2 more years from this point, I admit fully my dream was not realized in the end. I never actually got a full-time offer to get paid to play. With that being said, I knew my chances were somewhat slim from the beginning. After all, while I had played soccer my whole life, I was not able to walk-on to my undergrad college team, was denied by the coach after multiple attempts, and actually did not finally play in the NCAA until I was a ripe 28 years old.
While I knew I had something to offer, the lack of professional trajectory throughout crucial years did not pave the appropriate path necessary for development of extraordinary skills worth being noticed by professional coaches. While I knew this during my pursuit, I had overcome an obstacle bigger than I knew at the time — discovering and acting on the passion to live out my life’s first and biggest dream, whether or not there was a high chance of failure.
That’s why if you were to tell me I would have a business today that is growing, I would have believed you. During my 6 year pursuit to play pro soccer, I faced the fear and possibility of failure every single day. I must say, the fear didn’t bring me down, it motivated me. However, it did ground me with stark reality. Any time you pursue something worth going after to achieve a greater level of happiness, you encounter the chance for utter and sheer failure in that pursuit. It comes with territory, and I believe this is a law in the universe.
When faced with this possibility of failure when pursuing success though, you gain strength and muscle in areas you didn’t know existed prior. When you understand failure, you don’t attach your self-worth to the outcome, and you are free from the result. While I could write for hours on the benefits of pursuing your passion, the point of this blog in particular is to focus on one of the greatest pieces in the quest — freedom.
You didn’t think that’s where I was going, did you? Neither did I.
Freedom is one of the foundations to ultimate happiness. Isn’t it? Freedom to choose, freedom to do. While I was pursuing my first passion fully, God knows I was thinking of all the possible other things I could be doing at those moments in my life, or better yet, what I would do if this were to fail. When I would begin to think that “I can only think of success!” Or, “This must work, don’t think of failure,” fear actually had more control and power over me than when I gave myself permission to fail.
So, if you were to tell me I would have a growing business in 5 years with 15 employees, then yes, I would believe you. I would be learning to detach myself from fear and pursue something regardless of the result. The freedom in this mental framework makes all the difference in finding happiness. I recommend you do the same.