The wise David Frost once said, “Don’t aim for success if you want it; just do what you love and believe in, and it will come naturally”
That’s an inspiring quote, right? But is it really that simple?
A while back, I wrote about a friend’s son-in-law who was struggling in his business.
He is an incredibly smart and talented man, who dreamed of owning his own business doing something he loved. And he just knew that, given the chance, he could turn his talent and passion into a successful business.
He started with a great idea the market needed, lots of deposits for orders, tons of ambition, and a strong work ethic.
Eight years in, his business was a house of cards that came crashing down, taking his family’s financial support and security with it.
He was doing what he loved. He has a strong work ethic and put all of his effort and energy into his business. Every day. Consistently. Yet, his business failed.
Because, in addition to doing what you love and believe in, creating a successful business is like a puzzle. It involves a lot of pieces coming together in the right way to create the bigger picture.
Each piece – the skills, the financial management, strengths and weaknesses, the ability to focus on the right things, stubbornness vs willingness to learn, the support network, the marketing, and everything else – matters.
When things first became shaky, he whistled in the dark and kept going, hoping the problems would fix themselves.
He had VERY supportive people in his life who tried to help – some of them experienced, successful business owners themselves! But he wanted to prove he could do it himself.
He bristled at the notion he had any weaknesses. And dismissed suggestions for better ways of doing things.
He just kept doing what he did – his way.
He took on a HUGE loan to keep the business going until he could turn it all around, because he was confident he could.
On his own. Without help. And without changing anything about the way he was doing things.
So, there he was. Scrambling to fulfill orders. Now deep in debt. And sinking fast.
Then he had a health crisis. He required emergency surgery, which left him unable to do his job for a long recovery period.
He was a one-man show.
He couldn’t work.
And any hope of turning things around was lost. There was no chance of his business recovering after that.
And when the bank came after him for the loan, and customers demanded the return of their deposits, it became a nightmare that lasted for years after the business was officially closed.
This story is so sad to me, because it didn’t have to be that way. And by the time I heard about it, it was too far gone to fix.
Why am I sharing this story?
Because getting in over our heads could happen to any of us.
We smile at the quote above… and maybe even tack it up on our wall for inspiration. We think if we just do what we love and believe in, success will come naturally.
And, when there are signs of trouble, we think if we just keep doing what we are doing and work harder (or longer), it will all work out.
In other words, we may not be that different from the business owner in this story.
Harnessing the wisdom and courage to admit there are things we don’t know, or that we might be in over our heads, is hard for some.
True honesty with ourselves can also be hard.
But wisdom, courage and the ability to be honest with ourselves and others are good traits to have.
And those traits, along with the willingness to learn and grow, can build a strong structure and successful business that will benefit us financially for years to come.
So, follow your inspiration. Do what you love and believe in. Just make sure the rest is there, too.