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Success or Icarus: Hardships, Ego and Humility Within Modern Business
We all know the story of Icarus, who flew too close to the sun with wings made of feathers and wax. His story is a cautionary tale of hubris, or overconfidence, leading to downfall.
With COVID-19 still looming over us, growing and sustaining a business has become more difficult than ever. Many have been forced to close their doors for good, and those that are still hanging on are doing so by the skin of their teeth.
In times like these, it’s easy to get caught up in your ego and forget about the importance of grounding yourself and learning what to do to accomplish your goals.
When I think about this, I reflect on a recent chat I had with Grant Cardone, CEO of Cardone Capital for the Success Story Podcast about the hardships he’s faced in business and how he’s overcome them. We also discussed the importance of ego and humility within business and entrepreneurship.
To address the largest elephant in the room, the COVID-19 pandemic has been a true test of character for entrepreneurs. Many have had to face the harsh reality of having to shut down their businesses due to a lack of demand or resources.
Some have adapted and pivoted their business models, while others have persevered through difficult times by making tough decisions like layoffs or pay cuts.
Recent studies highlight the significant changes to businesses, from how it’s affected various U.S sectors to the business closures as a result.
The pandemic has also been a time of reflection for many entrepreneurs. It has forced them to take a step back and reassess their priorities in life. For some, this has meant making the tough decision to sell their business or close it down permanently.
Ultimately, what the pandemic has shown us is that entrepreneurship is not for the faint of heart. It takes a tremendous amount of grit, determination, and resilience to weather the storms that life throws our way.
How then, is it possible to start a business, much less maintain one?
Grant was kind enough to highlight his previous jobs and experience before reaching his current success. From his humble roots in Lake Charles, Louisiana, Grant worked various sales jobs at McDonald’s and furniture stores until launching his consulting business at 29.
We all start somewhere, and for many of us, getting a business off the ground is the hardest thing we will ever do. It’s a challenge that can push us to our limits and force us to grow in ways we never thought possible.
There are a lot of factors that contribute to this difficulty The first, and perhaps most important, is that businesses require vulnerability. We have to lay bare our ambition and open ourselves up to criticism and failure. This can be a terrifying prospect, especially if we’re not used to it.
Another factor that makes starting a business so difficult is the amount of work that goes into it. I don’t mean just the physical work of putting together a website or product, but also the mental and emotional labor of constantly promoting and selling ourselves.
This can be exhausting, and it’s easy to burn out quickly if we’re not careful.
Lastly, businesses require us to be humble. We have to be willing to put in the hours, learn from our mistakes, and accept that things will often go wrong. It’s not always glamorous, but it’s necessary if we want to succeed.
Starting a business is tough, but it’s also incredibly rewarding. It’s an opportunity to test ourselves, push our boundaries, and learn new things. If we can embrace the hardships that come with entrepreneurship, we’ll be one step closer to success.
Whether it’s a paper route when you are a kid, or your first entrepreneurial escapade out of college, earning that first dollar is a huge step. But don’t get too excited.
Profit is good, but it’s not always a measure of success. Some of the most popular and valuable companies in the world weren’t able to turn a profit for years.
The key is to focus on the long-term goal and not get too caught up in the short-term gains. It’s easy to be distracted by monthly revenue projections and forget about the people you’re trying to help.
Remember, your business is about more than just money. Money is important, but it’s not the only thing when you’re factoring in your overall success.
If you’re focused on squeezing every dollar out of every day, your customers will be able to tell — and they’ll be less likely to do business with you.
Think about it from their perspective. They’re coming to you because they need help with something — whether it’s a product or service. And if they can tell that you’re only interested in taking their money, they’ll be turned off.
It’s about solving the problem that sent them searching for answers. By taking the time to understand their hardships, you’ll be able to build trust and establish yourself as an authority figure in your industry.
That’s what it takes to be successful in business — understanding your customer and providing them with value. So, don’t get too caught up in making money. Instead, focus on helping others and adding value to their lives.
Me or everything: Addressing ego
It may be your business, your goals, and your vision, but that doesn’t mean you can do it alone.
Most successful entrepreneurs will tell you that ego can be one of the biggest hurdles to success. It can get in the way of making smart decisions, listening to others, and being open to new ideas. It can also lead to impulsive decisions, rash actions, and a general sense of entitlement.
All of this can be incredibly destructive to a business. The ego can blind you to your weaknesses and make you resistant to change. It can also alienate employees, customers, and partners.
How, then, do you keep your ego in check?
Be aware of the dangers ego poses to your business. If you’re constantly putting your interests ahead of your company’s, it’s time to check yourself.
Surround yourself with people who will challenge you and help you grow. A strong team will keep you honest and help you stay focused on your goals.
Don’t be afraid to admit when you’re wrong. Humility is a sign of strength, not weakness, and it will help build trust with those around you.
Ego can be a tough enemy to overcome, but it’s essential to the success of your business. By keeping it in check, you can create a more collaborative, innovative, and successful company.
The 10X rule
As the author of The 10X Rule, Grant explained that to be successful, you must take massive, determined action and develop an unshakable belief that your success is inevitable. You have to go all in — 10 times what someone else would do to achieve the same result.
Work smart, not hard
This isn’t about working harder, it’s about working smarter. It’s not about putting in more hours, it’s about using your time more efficiently to achieve greater results.
To 10x your business, you have to get out of your comfort zone and take risks. You have to be willing to put in the extra work required to see results. And you can’t let your ego get in the way of your success.
Develop a clear vision
Most businesses fail because they don’t know what they’re trying to achieve. They might have a vague idea, but they don’t have a specific goal that they’re working towards.
Have thick skin
One of the most important things for entrepreneurs is to be able to take criticism. It’s easy to get defensive when someone points out flaws in your business, but it’s important to listen to what they have to say and learn from your mistakes.
Most successful businesses are built on years of hard work and dedication. It’s easy to give up when things get tough, but those who persevere are usually the ones who end up succeeding.
So if you want to 10x your business, start by getting out of your comfort zone, taking risks, and putting your ego aside. Be humble, and be willing to learn from your mistakes. If you do these things, success is inevitable.
Though it may be difficult at first, starting and maintaining your own business is possible with the right mindset. Be prepared for hardships and have faith in your abilities to overcome them.
At the same time, be humble and always remember that you are not alone in this journey. There will always be people willing to help you along the way.
As Icarus learned (too late), ego and a lack of humility can lead to disaster. Business is hard, there’s no doubt about it. But those who can maintain a healthy balance are usually the ones who find the most success.
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Thank you for reading,