The Rio Olympics just ended and they were a big success! As with every sporting event, there were surprising upsets, annoying injuries and tough competition. I love the stories of the athletes’ journey to the Olympics. Many of them have worked their whole lives for a chance to represent their country at the most prestigious athletic competition in the world.
One of my favorite athletes is Venus Williams who won a bronze medal in the mixed doubles tennis event. At 36 years old she was the oldest female player. Every reporter commented on this fact every time she played. They wondered how much longer she intended to play and what she might do after her tennis career is over. Ms. Willliams and her sister, Serena have defied the laws of tennis with their longevity. They both are still in the top 10 players in the world list. In fact, Serena is the number 1 women’s tennis player in the world and has been for some time. The sisters have other interests such as fashion design, learning other languages, investing in football teams, as well as acting and writing. They haven’t let other people place limitations on their success.
As a new graduate, you will have well meaning friends and family question your choice to be your own boss. You’ll be told to get something more stable, with regular hours and company supplied benefits. It’s tempting to get discouraged and question your judgement especially if you haven’t yet achieved monetary success or lots of customers. But resist you must, because you are limited only by what YOU believe to be true and the amount of effort you’re willing to expend to achieve your dream.
One way to do this is to surround yourself with people who are high achievers and want to be successful. The motivational speaker, Jim Rohn says that “you are the average of the five people you spend the most time with”. What this means is the thoughts and opinions of others influence your own thoughts and opinions. If you hang around people who are positive and always looking for solutions to problems, you will tend to be the same type of person. By the same token, if you hang around people who are always negative and complaining, you will find yourself having those same thoughts. You may have to change your circle of friends in order to achieve your dreams.
Try this short exercise:
- Write down the names of the five people you currently spend the most time with
- For each of those people, write down three words that describe their attitudes towards work or school.
- Identify those people whose attitudes aren’t consistent with the person you want to be
- Think of three or four other people that you’re not spending as much time with who have the attitudes you want to portray
- make a conscious effort to spend more time with the people you identified in question number four
I’m not suggesting that you stop seeing those friends who don’t have the same mindset. Just ensure that you balance the time spent with them and don’t fall into the trap of taking their limitations as your own.