This article originally published at Forbes.com
Entrepreneurs are routinely reminded that they need to “stay hungry” to sustain competitive advantage and success. Though that may be true, what you don’t always hear is that there is a real and present danger in becoming too hungry for success.
The difference between being hungry and too hungry can be summed up in one word: discernment. When you’re hungry for success, you are driven to go to great lengths to achieve your objectives — short of sacrificing your boundaries, values or integrity. But in being too hungry for success, desire overtakes discernment. You dive headfirst into dangerous territory where managed risk is no longer present.
In my many decades coaching, from Main Street to Wall Street, I’ve borne direct witness to the consequences of being too hungry for success. The financial and personal losses ranging from mild to life-threatening are consequences that can be avoided if one learns to recognize the warning signs
How do you know when being hungry is manifesting into being too hungry? Here are the top five signs.
1. You desperately make decisions: High achievers often feel pressure to outperform and prove themselves to others — at an accelerated pace at that. In a too-hungry state, your ability to maintain rational analysis amid challenges or crises is compromised, resulting in a false self-narrative that justifies unethical conduct to solve problems.
2. You’re impatient: When you’re too hungry, you take imprudent action, rationalizing that you must do something right now. Successful entrepreneurs understand the prudence in waiting for the right opportunity.
3. You have false pride: In a normal hungry-for-success state, you care more about successfully solving problems and overcoming challenges than about how you are being perceived, even if that means exposing your losses or mistakes. In a too-hungry state, ego rears its head, causing leaders to care more about the opinions of others. That includes shutting out those who can help them during critical times.
4. You lack faith: When you’re too hungry for success, you don’t make time to develop or practice habits that lead to maintaining positivity, confidence, faith and hope. Devoid of faith, you fail to gain the courage, strength, endurance, inspiration and direction drawn from having the mindfulness or spiritual practice necessary to grow and sustain success.
5. You’re a workaholic: In a too-hungry state, you prioritize work above everything, including your own and others’ wellbeing. You falsely believe you can’t afford to take a break, lest you risk failure.
Here’s a very important fact to know about becoming too hungry for success: Every single person can get into that state of being. In my book, I share real-life stories of good, ethical people who slipped into the too-hungry-for-success state, resulting in avoidable hardships. One of these stories is about a very successful entrepreneur — a charismatic president of his church — who got so angry and tired of being falsely accused of a petty crime that he began to fight back unethically. His justification was that because these people did him wrong, they deserved to be treated the way they treated him.
The takeaway here is that the pathway to prevention is to never allow yourself to become too much of anything, whether it’s hungry, angry, lonely or tired. What does that mean? Recognize and honor your most valuable asset (you) by maintaining healthy habits of self-care, no matter what is or isn’t happening in your life. Optimal self-care is doing all the things that you would advise your child or client to do to maintain a healthy body, mind and spirit.
Become vigilant in recognizing the too-hungry-for-success warning signs — and when they do begin to manifest, halt. Stop for a time-out to refuel yourself via rest, relaxation, sound nutrition, exercise and meditation. Your body needs to regain an objective state of mind. There is no risk in halting, only reward.
Success experts are routinely saying that achieving success is hard. But, that simply is not true.
It’s not what you have to figure out, what you need to do, get or even how you need to go about it that’s hard. There is only one thing alone that can make it difficult, IF, you let it. You see, it’s all within your own power and control, to either let it get in your way or not get in your way.
The one thing that can make it easy or hard to achieve success is fortitude. Without it, the road to success is hard, if not impossible.
www.dictionary.com defines fortitude as: Mental and emotional strength in facing difficulty, adversity, danger, or temptation courageously.
Here are a few examples of how a lack of fortitude manifests itself:
- When encountering a “no”, you accept it and don’t try to overcome the objection.
- When told “It’s never been done that way before for a reason”, you accept the statement as fact and don’t investigate further and give up on your idea.
- When an expert tells you, “It’s just not standard practice and I don’t advise you to pursue that path”, you readily accept their opinion without doing further research and analysis.
- When encountering early failure you give up, making failure final rather than a sign to approach your goal from a new angle.
- When in fear, you freeze up and turn your decision making over to someone else.
- When tempted with a “sure thing” that would take you away from your major goal, you give in to temptation and give up on your own dream.
A person with fortitude, however, does not easily roll over, give up, quit or turn their power over to others. In fact, they redouble their effort when they are hardest hit. Rejection, naysayers, and challenges cause them to become more determined than ever to find the means and ways to make their dream become a reality.
“Fortitude implies a firmness and strength of mind, that enables us to do and suffer as we ought. It rises upon an opposition, and, like a river, swells the higher for having its course stopped”.
– Jeremy Collier
How then, does one develop fortitude? To get the mental and emotional strength you need to achieve maximum success in minimum time, you’ll need to take a holistic approach to your life. That means taking care of the whole person that you are, mentally, physically, emotionally and financially.
Here are the top Four Ways to Fortify Yourself to Achieve 10X Success:
1. Reduce Decision Making: We’re bombarded daily with countless opportunities to drain our mental energy. Prioritize your decision making and focus only on what you need to do to advance your goal. Eliminate frivolous and unnecessary decision making.
2. Take Sound Care of Your Physical Body: Aside from the obvious of eating a brain/body smart diet, getting enough rest and exercise; be discerning what invitations you accept and events you decide to attend. Every physical demand placed on your body, is a demand placed on your mind and time. Be sure the expense is supportive of your overall wealth and well-being.
3. Regularly Engage in Spiritual Practices: Faith replaces fear and becomes fortitude. Keep your faith strong, emotions in a rational state and mindset positive through prayer and/or mediation.
4. Manage Your Money Mind Set: Don’t allow your mind to manage you. Take command and control of your mind. When financial fear strikes and takes hold of you, immediately replace it with a positive though, visualize a positive outcome, and then take rational action.
You are stronger than you think. You can do more than you can possibly ever imagine. You can succeed amidst seemingly impossible odds.
In Closing My Shocking Confession: The renowned doctors told me “It can’t be done and you will die if you do that”. The attorneys told me “If you do that you will lose everything”. People in my industry told me “You’ll never succeed because you’re too honest”. In the face of every mental, physical and financial challenge, I listened, read, researched and then took a time out to turn to my higher power for faith, courage and direction ….and, in every instance, to the shock of many, succeeded against all odds.
Those who have earned their 1st Million didn’t have becoming a millionaire as their goal. Instead, their goal was made up of more than making money, it was made up of a burning desire to actualize into reality the thing that would add value into the everyday lives of everyday people.
“If we work together, we’ll lower the cost of living for everyone…. we’ll give the world an opportunity to see what it’s like to save and have a better life.”
Sam Walton, Founder of Walmart
We’ve all heard it a million times, that to succeed, one must 1st have a mission statement. While this remains a truism, what I see happening more and more, is that entrepreneurs are crafting mission statements more for marketing and press purposes than for a personal representation of their vision and roadmap to achieving its goal. There appears to be more of a priority placed on making money than making a difference. And, as much as making money is an imperative to taking care of one’s basic needs for security, growth and to make a broader impact in the world, the #1 imperative is to focus on manifesting your vision over that of manifesting millions. When one keeps good priority order, the money will follow.
“To make a contribution to the world by making tools for the mind that advance mankind.”
Steve Jobs as quoted by The New Economist, 1980
I encourage you, right here and now today, to take a hard look at your existing mission statement. Is it an authentic personal reflection of your own divinely inspired vision and burning desire to add value to the lives of those you desire to serve?
Once you’ve taken a hard look at your mission statement, and made any necessary amendments, you can then move forward with incorporating the following into your daily mindset and actions to speed your way to making your 1st million:
8 Steps to Making Your 1st Million
1. Have a Well-Defined Major Purpose: A well- defined purpose is one that clearly identifies your unique role in the world, the purpose for your life, and the purpose for the money you will acquire.
2. Prioritize Increasing the Wealth and Well-Being of Others: Use this as your #1 driving force and define and deliver a system to accomplish it.
3. Give Yourself Permission to Experiment: Understand that some of the worlds most successful innovations came after vast experimentation. Allow yourself to try different modes and models until you find the one that you know in your gut is the right road for you to take.
4. Seek to See What’s Not There: Having the vision to see what’s not in existence is what creates magical innovations that change the lives of all humanity. Get in the practice of asking yourself “What’s missing? What’s not being done?”.
5. Do Your Homework: Research, Compile Data, Analyze, Plan and Then Act: Make a regular practice to research, develop and deploy.
6. Start Saving to Invest ASAP: Always seek to save to invest, invest as soon as you can, and on an ongoing basis. However, do keep a strong cash on hand supply. Do not over-extend.
7. Trust Your Instincts and Let Them Lead You: You can seek and listen to expert advice, but never go against your gut instincts or go against your better judgement or values.
8. Diversify and Take Calculated Risks: You simply will not become a millionaire if you don’t invest, take calculated risks and diversify. However, diversify only into industries that you have gained a level of knowledge and expertise in.
In Closing My Shocking Confession: Everyone predicted I would fail at being a real estate broker because I regularly advised prospective clients to hold rather than sell. Yep, that was me. Turning away business and walking away from guaranteed money in the bank. I had one extremely large deal that was a 7-figure commission due me. The deal went all the way through to last two days of due diligence when my client told me they were going to move forward, go hard with their deposit and close. I had just found out the books of the property had been cooked. I was 15 days away from a 7-figure bank deposit. What did I do? I told him to cancel the deal. I may have lost that money, but I had held dearly to the practice of putting my client’s wealth and well-being as a #1 priority over my own pocket book for many years and it’s what allowed me to build a global network of investors who trust me and to become a self-made millionaire.