“Men do NOT stumble over mountains, but over molehills.” – Confucius
The secret to contentment is gratitude; the word contentment does not connote giving up and embracing a static position but totally embracing your present position with a goal in mind. I realize that majority of pain comes from “keeping up with the Joneses” syndrome – It just so difficult to see your peer progress while one remains in the same position. It becomes even more unbearable when “comparison” is put in the mix.
For one to truly progress, pressure must come from within not without – every motivation driven from an outward pressure results in hopelessness but an inspiration from within always makes the heart happy. If only people could understand that there are not really competing against anybody but themselves and the vision and purpose that was given to them from the foundation of the world. We live to become all we are called to be.
Let me illustrate with a personal story of mine. As an entrepreneur, it was easy to cut off from friends with corporate professional leanings – our paradigms are diametrically opposite. Despite this knowledge, I kept foolishly using Alumni Meetings populated with professionals as feedback to my entrepreneurial progress. Even, when I came on top, which is temporal, I realize that I was still NOT satisfied. The metrics was wrong, the platform was wrong and there was truly no winning when I compared myself with anybody.
There was also the dilemma that challenges my world view on a consistent basis – how do I separate my personal journey as an entrepreneur with my professional unique value of advising and coaching corporate professionals on the best management route to follow. To be professionally effective, I must empathize with my clients thus be exposed to their successes and failures. Unfortunately, the failures were easier to handle than the successes because the latter questioned the validity of my entrepreneurial journey.
How do I develop my entrepreneurial career amidst constant exposure to the success of corporate professionals? The uncertain nature of my entrepreneurial journey compounded the complexity of my career choice. However, I had to go back to the foundation of my decision; “why I chose to become an entrepreneur?” Once that was resolved. I could now begin to measure my “growth” and “development” as it relates to me. Using my pad to document any advancement I make, I celebrate all my personal victories no matter how small by turning weaknesses to strength and leveraging threats as opportunities for advancement.
“To achieve big things you have to start off small.” – Japanese proverb