As I sat in his office, he instructed me to write down a number equal to my ideal annual income. I wrote down a number roughly 50% higher than I had ever earned.
After I showed him the number I wrote he leaned toward me and began to paint a scenario.
“What if I showed you step-by-step how to build a business? After about a year, you would be making the amount of money you just wrote down. Now, suppose you hated every second of the time you put into making that money, but in the end it paid off. Would you do it?”
His eyes and his smile widened as he awaited my answer.
His expression turned to shock when I told him “no”.
Apparently, that pitch normally worked for him. He was running a pretty successful business.
If he had given me that pitch years earlier, I might have said yes. We’ve probably all given some thought to what we’d be willing to do if the reward were big enough.
It’s the old “carrot-on-a-stick” type of motivation. And it works. You can certainly get through unpleasant activity if there’s a prize waiting for you on the other side.
But the “dirty little secret” is: building your business doesn’t have to be that way.
A business mentor of mine revealed this secret during a live training seminar. Whether he meant to reveal this secret or not I don’t know. But he revealed it in five little words that I might have missed if I hadn’t been paying attention.
He described what he did during a 1000 day period to take his business to record-breaking levels within his industry. He confessed that the level of effort he put in was so challenging that there was no way he could have sustained it for even a day longer than 1000 days.
He was spent. But he reached his goal. After reaching his goal, he had to take a break from his business to relax and recuperate.
It was impressive. Hard work always is.
But the next five words he said caught me by surprise.
“It was fun for me.”
I realized that was his secret. That was how he was able to put in such a heroic effort over a sustained period of time. He was having fun!
The fancy term for fun is “intrinsic motivation”. You engage in an activity for the sheer enjoyment of the activity itself. The “carrot-on-the-stick” is called extrinsic motivation. You engage in an activity in order to get a prize or reward.
The “dirty little secret” that not many high achievers will tell you is: you can have both. You can set a goal for your business, and enjoy the hard work you put in to reach it.
The reason this is such a “dirty little secret” is because people like to brag about how hard they work. They brag about how early they get up, and how late they burn the midnight oil. Hard work is like a badge of honor for successful people. They rarely admit how much they enjoy their hard work because they don’t want people to mistake their work for leisure.
But the belief that work and play have to be separate is a myth. If you don’t believe me, look at professional sports. Pro athletes make millions, yet they’re still called players. They aren’t called workers. There’s no doubt the top players work hard, but do you think they hate every second of it, or do you think they love the game?
That’s why I’ve committed to building my business by doing what I love to do. I’ve rejected the notion that hard work has to be a grind.
I learned that building a business by having fun happens in three steps:
- Get to know yourself so you understand what you enjoy doing.
- Find examples of people having success doing what you enjoy.
- Follow their example.
The first thing I knew about myself was I love to read and learn. So I started reading and learning. Then, I noticed that I often shared what I learned with people—and they were listening. I enjoyed that.
Then, I started noticing how some entrepreneurs were attracting customers by creating helpful content online and then selling products to their audience. It looked like fun to me, so I dove into it.
Now, if I wanted to impress you with how hard I work, I’d tell you how I’ve read 167 books this year and how I get up at 6 AM every morning to produce content (like this blog post).
But I’m not trying to impress you with how hard I work.
If I could impress you with anything, it would be that I’m building my business by doing something that’s fun for me. Just because you have to work hard to reach your goals doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy it.
So, don’t let me be the only one having fun. Take my 3-day video challenge to find your unique superpower. It’ll help you get to know yourself better so you can find your fun. Just follow the link, enter your email address, and each day for three days I’ll send you a video to walk you step-by-step through the process of identifying your unique superpower.