As a Christian life coach, I ask this question to men: “What do you really want out of life?”
Now, don’t go straight to the “religiously correct” answers: “I just want to put God first, family next and everything else after that.” That’s better than some people’s priorities, but let’s be honest - it’s vague. Depending on your current spiritual state, it can also be unhelpful.
If life was as simple as “A + B = C,” it would be easy to get on the right side of everything. Author John Eldredge makes this point by noting that many men end in disappointment, resignation and isolation. Usually because of an internal belief that “If I just (a) believe in God and (b) behave well, then (c) everything will work out.”
I think we can agree, the truth is more complicated. Many a man has started a business with faith, money, sweat, tears and dreams. The failure rate, despite widespread accessibility through technology, is still very high. These entrepreneurs haven’t set out to steal, kill and destroy; they’ve applied their faith and behaved with respect and honor … and it still didn’t work out.
Winner Takes All
Most business coaches or mentors will tell you failure is a part of life, and definitely part of succeeding in business. What becomes intolerable for entrepreneurs is not failure, but perpetualfailure. With no disrespect to any teams or fans, it’s like having a permanent contract with the Cleveland Browns - you just get accustomed to losing. Psychologically, it takes its toll.
The same is true in reverse - wins of any size increase an entrepreneur’s confidence and willingness to take another step. You win a client, you get a referral, revenue increases - all of these are clear signals to a business owner that say, “Keep going!” Wins beget more wins.
Dreamers Never Sleep
I’m a product of dreams, and I love living in a time and place where so many people can pursue their calling and purpose. To slog through life without dreams and aspirations is anathema to me.
Even so, I think there are entrepreneurs out there who ignore some great wisdom: “The vision is for an appointed time.” Let’s say you look at our business model at View From the Top and think, “I’d really love to start an online mastermind group.” Who could argue with such a noble goal? But the nobility of the goal isn’t in question … your nobility is what’s up for grabs!
The point of this is for you to understand there might be some very different “rows to hoe” in the meantime. Everybody wants to be like their heroes at the peak of a profession or calling. Tech startups want to become as big as Microsoft or Apple, entertainers want to become as famous as Michael Jackson or The Beatles, athletes want to dominate like Wayne Gretzky or Michael Jordan - and so forth.
But you might think twice about going through what they endure to get there. Even more, what they put themselves through to remain there! As Bishop T.D. Jakes says, “People at the top of anything don’t get there because they’re cute; they get there because they’re crushed.”
Money in the Meantime
If you can’t go directly to the corner office or the top of the charts, the next best thing is to take the lemons you’ve been given and squeeze out every drop of lemon juice you can.
(I dislike that saying, “If life gives you lemons, make lemonade” … lemons only contribute lemon juice. It’s sugar that makes lemonade taste like it does on a hot summer day. But anyway ...)
A member of one of our mastermind groups recently followed my advice. You ought to see how his countenance changed as he began to earn an income and provide for his family. It ended a long period of one failure after another.
It’s important to understand, the business he started to bring this about is not his dream. But neither is it the equivalent of taking work he absolutely despises. He found work he actually enjoys, that moves in the general direction of his long-term dream. Not to mention, it pays a much more handsome financial reward than “goose eggs” month after month.
No One Goes “Straight to #1”
I didn’t start a mastermind business at nineteen, when I became an entrepreneur. I didn’t start it after I retired for the first time at twenty-seven. I didn’t start one in my thirties, or in my forties. To be completely honest, the idea of mastermind groups online was a dream I didn’t know I had.
I know this, however - being deeply associated with men like Dave Ramsey and Dan Miller gave me enormous credibility when I finally did start a master mind group. It made the leap extremely simple. Allies like Dan and Dave invited me to speak, and then encouraged younger men listening to consider me as a small business coach.
But if you look across the timeline of my life, we can probably agree. If I’d tried to start a mastermind at nineteen, I’d have got the same results many others get pursuing their highest dreams too soon.
One reason our company is called “View From the Top” is to describe the long, winding journey it took to reach the position I’m in now. Forty years of a healthy marriage and entrepreneurship, distilled into a bestselling book, masterminds online and a little bit of private business coaching services.
But while all that was “being built,” what was I doing? I started in the pawn shop business, haggling with people putting their personal belongings in hock because they needed cash. When that ended, I went into the construction business, negotiating contracts and design for affluent homeowners. On and on it went - until that fateful day when Dan and Dave shredded my “retirement goals” (sitting on a beach, doing nothing) and called me into coaching.
Nearing the Horizon
You might be headed toward your dream. Or, you might feel lost at sea - perhaps working a job you hate, or not working at all. I can tell you this much: making yourself useful to other human beings, and over-delivering like crazy on whatever they ask you to do, will set you on the right course.
Men, we have to get some wins. We can’t just resign ourselves to the circumstances around us. Hear my heart: increasing your revenue gets you closer to your dream, not further away. What dreams do you know that don’t cost money? How will you pursue them if you’re broke? Inside you are talents, abilities and gifts the marketplace will pay for. Just read this list from author Dan Lok, in his book Unlock It:
$120,000 + High Income Skills (No Degree Required)
- Creative Writer
- Digital Marketing
- Blogging / Content Creation
- Public Speaking
- Language Translation
- Computer Programming
- High Ticket Closing (commissioned sales)
Are you good with computer code? With a camera? With words, languages or providing expert knowledge in a certain area? Then let’s go get some wins, or at least start preparing for them!